Can You Use Diatomaceous Earth on Chickens?

Chicken keepers toss with the idea of using diatomaceous earth on their chickens. You can use diatomaceous earth on your chickens as a dewormer to get rid of your birds’ internal parasites, such as worms.

Alternatively, you can feed your chickens with diatomaceous earth since poultry is safe and nutritious. Or, sprinkle some of it around your chicken coop to eliminate external parasites such as lice and mites.

What is Diatomaceous Earth?

It is a naturally-occurring substance that comprises fossilized phytoplankton remains. Over time, diatomaceous earth builds up in huge deposits, especially in water bodies. People mine this natural substance and use it in various applications, such as pesticide manufacturing.

Diatomaceous earth is abrasive and porous. It can be either white, yellow, or dark-brown. It is an effective anti-caking agent and a common ingredient in skincare products.

Is Diatomaceous Earth Safe for Chickens?

Yes, diatomaceous earth is 100% safe for chickens. This substance doesn’t have any inorganic chemicals, and hence it can’t cause harm to your birds. Chickens can eat diatomaceous earth without experiencing any harmful symptoms.

Can Chickens Eat Diatomaceous Earth?

Yes, chickens can eat diatomaceous earth if you mix the substance with your chickens’ daily feed. Diatomaceous earth comes with several minerals such as iron, calcium, zinc, copper, potassium, and sodium.

The key mineral in diatomaceous earth is silica, which parks numerous health benefits for poultry, including chickens. For instance, the silica in this substance can help prevent internal parasites in chickens.

How to Use Diatomaceous Earth on Chickens?

You can use diatomaceous earth on chickens in different ways. Chicken keepers can use this substance among the common practices, including dust bathing their chickens. Furthermore, you can use diatomaceous earth while feeding your chickens or use it directly on your birds. Check this outline below on how to use diatomaceous earth on chickens.

– Dust Bathing

Chicken owners often overlook the importance of dust bathing when caring for their birds. However, dust bathing is among the surest ways of helping chickens deal with external parasites such as mites and lice without pesticides.

Since diatomaceous earth helps control parasites, adding this substance to your chickens’ dust baths can make the dust baths more effective in parasite control. Although diatomaceous dust baths won’t help deal with an existing pest infestation, they can effectively prevent potential infestations in your chickens. Check these simple tips on making a DIY dust bath using diatomaceous.

  • Select a Container – find the appropriate container to prepare your dust bath. Ensure the container is low enough to allow your birds to get in and out of the container. However, the container should be tall enough to hold all the components of the dust bath while your chickens are dust bathing. The ideal container for preparing your dust bath can be an old tire, a shallow bin, or a sandbox.
  • Add soil – Soil is the main ingredient for chickens’ dust baths. Light, loam soil from your yard or garden will work well for your dust bath. Avoid clay soil since it is somewhat sticky, especially when wet, and therefore it can’t make a suitable dust bath for your birds.
  • Add diatomaceous earth – add diatomaceous earth to the soil to complete preparing your dust bath. Mix the soil thoroughly with diatomaceous earth to make your dust bath effective in cutting down on external parasites on your chickens.
  • Place the container in a convenient area – place the container strategically so that  your birds can dust bath whenever they wish. You can place the container at the corner of your backyard if you keep your chickens in your backyard. Alternatively, place the container at the coop corner if you keep chickens indoors.

– Feeding

Feeding your chickens with diatomaceous earth is an ideal way of providing your birds with essential minerals. Since you can’t feed this substance to your birds in its natural form, you should mix it with your chickens’ daily feed.

Mix the right portions of chicken feed with diatomaceous earth to give your birds a nutritional boost. The best ratio to mix diatomaceous earth with chicken feed is adding around 2 percent of this substance to the chicken feed.

Besides giving your birds a nutritional kick, diatomaceous earth can also help your chickens deal with internal parasites, which bring many diseases to chickens and other poultry.

The best way to feed your birds with diatomaceous earth is by tossing a few tablespoons of this product on your bird’s feed. The chickens will feed on the diatomaceous earth without noticing whether they are feeding on this substance.

– Directly on Chickens

You can use diatomaceous earth directly on your birds to help get rid of your birds’ external parasites. Apply this substance under your birds’ wings and any part that shows signs of a parasitic infestation. Rub the substance gently into the infected body parts.

Apply diatomaceous earth on your coop’s vent area. Most importantly, remember to spread the substance in crevices, nest boxes, and cracks where internal parasites such as mites could be hiding. Use diatomaceous earth directly on your chickens at least thrice a month to prevent potential parasitic infestations.

Benefits of Using Diatomaceous Earth on Chickens

Diatomaceous earth has lots of benefits for chickens, and therefore chicken keepers should consider using this all-natural substance on their chickens at some point. Check these benefits you can get from using diatomaceous earth on your birds.

– External Parasite Control

Diatomaceous earth is among the most effective panaceas for external parasites attacking chickens and poultry birds. You can use this substance to kill external parasites on your birds by dusting your chickens’ feathers with diatomaceous earth.

If you have a serious parasitic infestation that threatens to eliminate your birds, you can mix diatomaceous earth with water and then spray it directly on your chickens.

Remember, diatomaceous earth isn’t harmful to birds, and therefore it won’t harm or kill your birds even after spraying it directly to your birds. However, it helps to wear a mask while spraying your birds with this natural substance, lest it gets into your body through your noses .

Some internal parasites could also be living in your coop, ready to attack your birds. To eliminate such parasites, spread some diatomaceous earth all over the coop, paying attention to the crevices, nest boxes, and the vent area where internal parasites, including mites, usually hide.

Also, spread diatomaceous earth on the chickens’ bedding since bedding also hosts internal parasites. Most importantly, sprinkle the substance around the coop to stop parasites from getting into the coop. Diatomaceous earth works effectively as an internal parasite repellent.

– Internal Parasite Control

The advantage of using diatomaceous earth for internal parasite control is that this substance is cheap. Furthermore, it is all-natural, and it doesn’t have chemicals, unlike most pesticides sold in stores. Such harmful chemicals can kill your birds or slow down their growth.

Worse still, these chemicals can suppress your hens’ laying cycle. Mix diatomaceous earth with water and give the mixture to your birds for internal parasite control. Or, you can toss a few pinches of this powder on your birds’ feed, which will work quite effectively in killing internal parasites affecting your chickens.

Diatomaceous earth has a microscopic honeycomb structure, which helps it to gently slough away bacteria, toxins, and parasites from your chickens’ gut. The substance makes tiny cuts through the parasites’ bodies while remaining gentle on your chickens’ gut. Diatomaceous earth is an effective dewormer for birds, including chickens.

The silica in this substance slices through the worms in your chickens’ gut, ultimately eliminating them within hours of ingesting this substance. Diatomaceous earth works amazingly well in eliminating pinworms, some of the deadliest parasites in chickens. Adult pinworms are difficult to kill with pesticides, and they also keep on laying eggs. However, Diatomaceous earth kills adult worms and their eggs within days.

– Growth and Egg Laying

Besides parasite control, diatomaceous earth is vital for chickens’ growth and egg production. Studies show chickens consuming this substance grow quickly and are less likely to succumb to various chicken diseases.

Furthermore, research shows that silica, the primary ingredient in diatomaceous earth, can help promote skeletal growth in chickens. Meat-producing chicken breeds can witness fast growth from consuming the silica in this substance.

Diatomaceous earth also has huge traces of calcium. Chickens need calcium for growth and egg production. The more calcium your birds get from their diet, the faster they grow and the more eggs your hens will lay.

The significant amount of calcium in diatomaceous earth will also help your egg-laying hens to produce eggs with high-quality shells. In the absence of calcium, your hens will not only lay less frequently, but they will also give you eggs with extremely poor-quality shells.

Giving your hens diatomaceous earth regularly is crucial for supplementing their diet with calcium and loads of essential minerals.

Sodium is another essential mineral in diatomaceous earth. Chickens usually experience stunted growth when they experience potassium deficiency. Furthermore, a sodium deficiency can hinder growth in your birds.

Diatomaceous earth also comes with loads of zinc, which helps chickens increase their body weight. Chickens that get a sufficient amount of zinc in their feed have a high feed intake, enabling them to grow quickly.

Furthermore, zinc also helps layer birds lay eggs with great eggshell quality. The role of this mineral in disease resistance and immunity is remarkable. Sick chickens can’t maintain proper growth, nor can they maintain high egg production.

Therefore, tossing a few pinches of diatomaceous earth on your chicken feed will provide your birds with a substantial amount of zinc to help them grow fast and lay more and better eggs.

How Often to Use Diatomaceous Earth on Chickens?

It would be best to use diatomaceous earth on your chickens as regularly as possible. This substance isn’t harmful to poultry, and therefore your birds should take it regularly. Ideally, you should use the substance each time you feed your birds, though in moderate amounts.

Furthermore, blend this substance with quality chicken feed before feeding it to your birds. Use diatomaceous earth at least thrice a month if you use the substance for external and internal parasite control.

Can You Use Diatomaceous Earth on Baby Chicks?

Yes, you can use diatomaceous earth on baby chicks since it won’t harm your little birds. However, baby chicks should consume lesser amounts of diatomaceous earth than adult chickens since their bodies aren’t hardy enough to withstand all the minerals in this substance.


Diatomaceous earth is an excellent substance for chickens. You can use this substance either directly or indirectly on your chickens. Whether you are using diatomaceous earth for parasite control or nutritional reasons, this substance could turn out to be the best thing for your birds!

avatar James
Hey, I'm James, a hardworking homesteader for more than 30 years. I enjoy the feeling of accomplishment that comes from tending my flock. I've raised chickens and ducks for eggs and meat for many years. I also have experience with other poultry too. Learn more

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