Chickens Dust With Diatomaceous Earth

Control chicken lice by simply giving your birds a pan of diatomaceous earth — they’ll take it from there!

| June/July 2011

It’s amazing how diatomaceous earth (DE) solved the constant lice infestation problems I was having with my small flock of chickens.

All I did was put a pound of DE in a dishpan-size container and put it in their coop. The chickens dusted in it, and the parasite problems went away soon after. I had tried rotenone powder and bathing the chickens in tea tree oil soap — both only worked temporarily.

The bag of DE was $2.95 at our feed store and lasted at least a year. The lovely thing about this method is that the chickens take care of the dusting on their own.

Deborah Butler
Rose Prairie, British Columbia

melissa hj
1/16/2012 11:44:49 PM

As with any dust, it is not good to breathe in large amounts of diatomaceous earth. However, DE is perfectly safe for chickens (and other animals) to consume. In fact, a recent study published in Poultry Science found that Red Lake Diatomaceous Earth can help to decrease internal and external parasites in chickens, increase body weight, increase egg production, egg shell weight and thickness as well as improve general health! The DE will help to kill the ants as well :) Just be sure to thoroughly rinse any products meant for human consumption that have come in contact with the DE.

tammy snyder
7/27/2011 9:19:30 PM

I am wanting to control ants and such from eating my garden but plan to get chickens and am looking for something that would be okay for the plants and the birds. I see you said they gave themselves dust baths but I've googled and found that their breathing it in when in cloud form is not good. Is this so?

mother earth news fair


Oct. 21-22, 2017
Topeka, KS.

More than 150 workshops, great deals from more than 200 exhibitors, off-stage demos, inspirational keynotes, and great food!