Diatomaceous Earth For Chicken Coop Mites And Bugs

helps keep mites away

I cleaned the chicken coop again. This time I sprinkled some Diatomaceous Earth in there.

I don’t do it all the time (use DE). But maybe once every several weeks or once a month (I do a regular quickie coop cleanout about every 3- 5 days or so, depending).

[ Read: Dropping Board For Chicken Poop ]

Why Use Diatomaceous Earth (DE) In Chicken Coop?

First of all, it’s a bit of a tongue twister to pronounce Diatomaceous Earth!

Diatomaceous earth is made from the fossilized remains of tiny, aquatic organisms called diatoms. Their skeletons are made of a natural substance called silica. Over a long period of time, diatoms accumulated in the sediment of rivers, streams, lakes, and oceans. Today, silica deposits are mined from these areas.

DE is used for many purposes. In short, regarding bugs, it affects the exoskeleton of insects. I wrote more about it in the following article:

[ Read: Diatomaceous Earth For Long Term Storage Of Wheat & Grain ]

Chicken Mites

A typical chicken coop is a prime target for mites and bugs. Chickens do most of their poop business while roosting at night (~ 75% of it). So it’s important to clean up the business…

I’ve read that if mites are present, they’ll make their way onto the roost and then up their chicken legs while roosting at night. At least that’s one way…

So I also sprinkle some DE on the roost board and their dropping board underneath:

sprinkling DE on chicken roost

In addition, after I’ve scooped out the droppings and added some fresh pine shavings, I’ll sprinkle some diatomaceous earth around the floor of the chicken coop. I get all around the edges at the wall too.

You might be wondering how I sprinkle it?

I first tried just shaking some in their after I scooped some with gloved hands. That did not work well! This stuff sticks to everything including gloves. And it did not spread well this way – by hand.

I didn’t want to sprinkle too much, because some advise against too much – for the sake of the bird’s lungs. It could be irritating.

So I questioned Mrs. J for some ideas. Well, she had a good idea… To use one of those multipurpose fine mesh sifters. You might call it a powdered sugar duster for baking. The important part is the fine mesh screen. I found it to be perfect for dusting / sprinkling diatomaceous earth.

Norpro Multipurpose Shaker Dust Sifter
(view on amzn)

I also sprinkle some DE into their nesting boxes:

DE in chicken nesting boxes

I keep a quantity of Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth (DE) for its many uses. It’s cheap insurance / preventative measures for bugs. I bought two bags of this stuff a long time ago and I till have plenty.

The popular one these days looks like this one, which happens to include a duster:

HARRIS DE Food Grade, 2lb with Powder Duster in The Bag
(view on amzn)

As an aside, I find it pretty funny how the chickens get all anxious when I close their coop door for cleaning: