Diatomaceous Earth Powder; What It Is and How to Use It

May is approaching and Red Mite season is upon us! We look at how Diatomaceous Earth can help you to keep your hens Red Mite free. An easy way to tell if you have a Red Mite problem in your coop is to place a small square of towelling material in the corner of your nest boxes or over the end of a perch. Red Mite will hide in the folds thinking that they cannot be seen, overnight the Mites will hide among the towelling turning it a reddish colour.

So what do you do if you do have Red Mite? Diatomaceous Earth, or DE for short, can be used on animals and birds to treat against external parasites (lice, fleas, mites), and even internal parasites (worms). It’s one of the most popular items that we at the BHWT advise to use to combat red mite.

What is Diatomaceous Earth and how does it work?

Diatomaceous Earth is a 100% natural product, made from the fossilised remains of ancient shell creatures. It is inert and safe to both humans and animals.

Diatomaceous Earth works when the mites crawl through the Diatomaceous Earth dust to feed on the hens at night. The microscopically sharp shards that make up Diatomaceous Earth scratch the mite’s waxy shell, causing them to die.

We advise wearing gloves and a dust mask when applying Diatomaceous Earth as in some cases it can be a skin irritant.

The benefits of Diatomaceous Earth

There are many benefits to using Diatomaceous Earth in your hen keeping essentials. Here are just a few:

  • No chemicals – Diatomaceous Earth is completely natural and contains no chemicals. This means it can be used outside and does not harm the environment.
  • Can be eaten by your chickens without causing them harm
  • Great product to use in dust baths all year round. Come winter or summer Diatomaceous Earth is a great addition to your hen’s dust bath.


How to use Diatomaceous Earth

It’s safe to use directly onto your hens. All you need to do is apply the powder under the wings and around the vent area. Also apply to the coop by spreading the powder in cracks, crevices and nest box areas where mites hide. Rub along perches and apply to the house floor after cleaning out.

It can also be placed in a cat litter tray with some dry soil and the hens can self-treat themselves by dust bathing.

Use for prevention or as part of a mite control treatment to reduce mites and lice in your poultry. Click here to buy Diatomaceous Earth Powder from our online shop.

If you’d like advice on your hen’s health, why not visit our Hen Health page, where we discuss important things to look for in your hen’s health, whether its personality or physical symptoms. Or, head to our Hen Examination Guidelines where we can show you where to find things like the crop or the wattle.

If you need to seek medical advice, click here to find your nearest Hen Friendly Vet.
You can also call Hen Central on 01884 860084 to speak to one of our rehoming assistants.

Giving a gift today helps fund our Hen Helpline. It helps support hen keepers, giving them the best advice on how to care for their hens. If you have found our advice helpful, please consider giving a gift towards the hen helpline here.

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