This entry was posted on 19 December 2022 in Keeping Chickens.
It’s important that you keep your chickens red mite free to ensure that they are healthy and comfortable at all times. But how do you do this? Using a product such as diatomaceous earth for chickens is one solution. This versatile treatment can be used on animals and birds of all kinds to keep parasites at bay.
To use diatomaceous earth to treat red mites, we first need to fully understand both both the product and the what the red mites are to ensure effective application. Once you know this, you can begin to treat your feathered friends and rid your coop of unpleasant pests infestations.
Red mite – also often called chicken or poultry mite – is a common type of parasite that predominantly affects chickens. They make their home in the roosting areas of your coop, seaking out smaller cracks and crevices in the wood to hide in. They feed on chickens as they rest which is distressing and potentially dangerous for their health. Over time, red mite will agitate your flock and cause weakness in extreme cases. It can also reduce hen laying in some birds.
Diatomaceous earth (sometimes known as DE for short) is a completely natural remedy that can be used to treat red mite in chickens (as well as plenty of other pests). It is made from fossilised algae skeletons and comes in the form of a white powder.
It works by essentially drying out the pests by destroying their ability to retain moisture. Most parasites stay hydrated using an oily outer layer on their bodies. When the diatomaceous earth comes into contact with the mite, this oil is absorbed. In a short amount of time, the mite will dry out and die, causing no harm to your flock.
Registered forms of diatomaceous earth for chickens are completely safe form of treatment for your flock. It contains no chemical pesticides and leaves no chemical residue because it is a 100% natural remedy. It also is completely odourless – unlike other forms of red mite treatments. All of this means that most forms of diatomaceous earth can be applied directly to the affected areas with ease.
Diatomaceous earth is made up of an active ingredient known as silicon dioxide. This ingredient does not degrade over time when kept dry, meaning it remains effective for longer. The powder is transferred from red mite to red mite and spread between the nest areas and the cracks. This makes it a hugely effective form of treatment.
Over time, pests can become immune to chemicals through extensive exposure. This has already been reported in the UK with chemicals such as pyrethroids and carbamates. Diatomaceous earth cannot have this issue as it relies on a completely physical form of treatment rather than a chemical one.
As previously mentioned, diatomaceous earth has a range of uses and is effective at disposing of other insects. It can be used on bed bugs, spiders, cockroaches, ticks, fleas and many other forms of parasitic pests.
Whilst Diatomaceous earth is an impressive product, it isn’t without its considerations. One major factor to bear in mind is that all forms of diatomaceous earth can be different. The pH and silicon dioxide content differs greatly from brand to brand, and the bulk density and clay content can alter too. All of this will determine the quality of your diatomaceous earth.
Bulk density is especially crucial to the quality of your diatomaceous earth. During production, the diatomite has to be milled. How this process is carried out will determine the bulk density and can also damage the diatoms if incorrectly treated. To ensure you are getting a good quality product with optimum bulk density, always choose a registered product.
Diatomaceous earth is very easy to apply, be it in the usual powder form or rarer liquid form. Using diatomaceous earth for chicken coops is simple – apply to the housing, perches and roosting areas or your coop. Whilst DE won’t harm your chickens, it’s best to remove them from the coop before applying. Once removed, clean and fully dry the inside before applying the powder. A good method is by simply using a squeezable puffer goo over the interior contents.
To apply to birds, apply some of the powder to a dust bath area that you know your chickens regularly use. This is generally easier than applying directly to your flock.
For the liquid form of diatomaceous earth for chickens, use a simple spray bottle to spray the content of your coop. Make sure to get into all the cracks and crevices of the woodwork to be completely effective.
Eggshell Online manufactures high quality chicken coops and runs to help protect your flock at all times. We have over 10 years of experience in our field and currently supply over 50 retailers. Contact our team today and submit an enquiry.