Diatom can be sprinkled on food to help with worming and to dust on the girls if they get infested with Lice, but the main use for me here is in our chicken houses for Red Mite control. I use it after washing the house out with Poultry Shield.
I rub it into the perches on all sides and dust the ends, making sure that if any mites are going to get a free feed from our chickens, they are going to have to crawl through the diatom on their way there and back. You can also safely sprinkle it around nesting areas if these are Red Mite hot spots or if you have a broody hen that is being bitten.
It does take a couple of days to work and of course needs to come into contact with the mites. It is important to keep the perches dusted every few days as it will disperse as the birds roost up and fly on and off their perches. Remember the life cycle of red mite is just 7 days so from hatching out of an egg, in optimum conditions, a Red Mite can reproduce, laying hundreds of eggs. This is why their numbers seem to suddenly explode in the summer months when conditions are right.
You can BUY Diatom from Amazon here.
Safe to Use.
Diatom is a very safe product to use if you follow the manufacturers instructions. It is 100% natural and totally inert. Diatom or Diatomaceous Earth is made from the fossilised remains of ancient creatures. It is microscopically sharp and kills mites by scratching their waxy outer coating, causing them to dehydrate / dry up and die. Food grade diatomaceous earth is actually used when storing wheat in silos in order to stop mites from getting into the wheat.
Dusting the Hens
You can buy small puffer bottles of diatom, so I suggest you get one of these and then refil it from a larger container. If the hens have lice or you want to slow down the red mite biting them at night, puff the diatom in between their feathers, making sure it gets down to the skin. Concentrate on the warmer areas such as under the wings and around the vent where lice seem to congregate.
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Do you have any advice on using Diatom? Please leave me a comment below.