Diatomaceous Earth

Many chicken keepers swear by diatomaceous earth (DE), as it provides a variety of positive benefits for both your flock and your household.

Food grade diatomaceous earth:

  • Is a natural pest deterrent that is safe for you, your chickens, and other pets.
  • It keeps your flock healthy by killing ticks, fleas, and digestive worms.
  • It naturally keeps cockroaches and other pests out of your house, and away from your chicken feed containers.
  • It can provide your birds with valuable trace minerals, when added in small amounts to chicken feed.
  • It is good in the garden, as it will kill aphids and other pests naturally.

What is diatomaceous earth and how does it work?

  • Diatomaceaous earth is the fossilized remains of Diatoms, which are microscopic one celled algae with hard shells.
  • It kills bugs and unwanted pest by desiccation, which means it cuts their exoskeleton and drys them out.  No nasty chemicals!

How do I use/apply diatomaceous earth?

  • Its a VERY fine powder, so sprinkle it where you need it: In your chicken coop area, behind or under major appliances, sprinkle a perimeter around your house and property, and around and in chicken feed bins.
  • You can use a homemade device to distribute it, or you can purchase an applicator.
  • NOTE: It is a very fine powder, so wear a mask when you apply it.


  • Please use food grade diatomaceous earth only for your flock and your household, as other grades can contain chemicals which may be harmful.
  • Food grade DE contains very low percentages of crystalline silica, while non-food grade contains higher amounts. Crystalline silica is not good for your lungs (it’s sharp and drying), so wear a mask even when applying food grade DE (just to be extra safe).

Where can I find food grade DE?

  • Call around to your local feed stores and organic gardening stores to find out if they carry food grade DE.
  • If you can’t find it locally, it can be purchased online from a variety of retailers, but with shipping costs it is much more expensive.  Just do a Google search for food grade diatomaceous earth.