Uses for Diatomaceous Earth On The Homestead
Diatomaceous Earth (DE) is a fine powder made of the fossil remains of diatoms which are single-celled algae with a cell wall made of silica. That’s the long way of saying, DE is a must have on your homestead!
Diatomaceous Earth has long been known for its pest-repelling qualities. Even though it is a very fine powder and soft to our touch, on a microscopic level it is very abrasive and actually cuts the exoskeletons of insects. The damage to their protective exoskeleton is enough to dry out and kill the insect. While diatomaceous earth is a threat to bugs, it is completely safe to use around humans and animals. Be sure to only use food-grade DE, as the type designed specifically for pool care is toxic to humans and animals. You can purchase food grade diatomaceous earth from Meyer Hatchery.
There are many ways to use diatomaceous earth on your homestead. One of the best ways is by sprinkling some in your chickens’ dust bathing areas. The DE on their feathers will help prevent mites and other parasites from harming your chickens. You can also sprinkle DE in your nesting boxes and throughout your coop and run areas to further your pest prevention protocol.
Diatomaceous Earth is also great to use in your gardens and flower beds. In the same ways DE can prevent pests in your chicken areas, it can prevent pests that may feed on your fruits, vegetables, herbs, and flowers. A dusting of DE around the perimeter of your house can help prevent bugs like ants, spiders, and ladybugs from entering through the base of your house.
Another way I have used DE is in my horses’ and chickens’ water troughs. Being sure to only use food grade DE, adding this to water sources helps prevent mosquito larvae from growing in your animals’ water. I have personally noticed a reduction in algae build up when using DE in water troughs as well. This would be great to try in your duck ponds!
Diatomaceous earth is sometimes added to feed and powdered supplements to keep the ingredients or pellets from sticking together and make the feed flow better. When used in this manner or added directly to your animals’ feed, DE has been shown to have a deworming effect, making it a great natural deworming option. An added bonus of diatomaceous earth added to your animals’ feed is that it remains intact in their manure, making it difficult or impossible for flies to lay eggs on manure piles. Win-win!
As you can see, diatomaceous earth really is a must-have product on your homestead. Have you used DE before? Let us know in the comments below!
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