Have you ever heard of Diatomaceous Earth, or D.E.?
If you’ve got baby chicks, ducks, turkeys or even kittens, you may want to check out this completely natural pest control.
In this post you’ll read about our Silkie hen named Snowy and how accepting she is of chicks not her own. Snowy even features in our book The Do It Yourself Homestead where we discuss various ways of producing your own chicks on your homestead. In fact, we have a whole chapter on homestead animals! If you’d like to learn more about the book, just click here. If you’d like a FREE sample from that chapter, just email me at Tessa@homesteadlady.com. To learn more about the book, click below.
Babies Never Come When It’s Convenient
So, we’re in the middle of moving, temporarily camping in a friend’s basement and we have a broody hen. Yes, we took her with us – amidst all the boxes and baggage of moving seven people into temporary digs – a broody Silkie in a tote box converted to resemble a brooder. Why, you ask? Well, this is no ordinary Silkie – you can actually read about her here. She went broody a few days before we moved and so we accommodated her because she’s the best chicken ever and we were certainly taking her with us to Missouri.
I’ve been so disorganized on the homestead what with all the packing of human paraphernalia that I hadn’t dusted our flock with DE in quite awhile. They’d had a few mite-type bugs here and there but I didn’t manage to do anything about it with Snowy, the aforementioned Silkie, until she’d already hatched out a chick. Consequently, baby bird has been exposed to the bugs! I don’t use commercial bug killers because DE is so effective; I’ve never had to use something else.
Chick Care and Diatomaceous Earth
To learn more about what DE is, please visit this post from Diatomaceous Earth.com.
For ideas on how to use DE around the homestead, please visit this post.
I finally got a bag and gently dusted down both mamma and baby the other day.
Adding Chicks Under a Broody Hen
THEN, we were at the feed store today and they still had chicks, drat them. My wonderful children – who really have been so good throughout this
whole messy ordeal and who haven’t whine or badgered for anything special – sweetly pleaded for us to purchase a few chicks.
They reasoned, and quite soundly, though it is sad, that the few eggs left under Snowy are probably not going to hatch at this point because they’ve been several days now overdue their time. And, said they, Snowy loves being a mamma and how could we deny her just a few chicks? I think they may have clasped their hands by their faces in a pleading sort of way and batted their eyelashes at me at some point during this conversation. Suffice it to say, we traveled home with each of my four older children clutching an adorable chick to their chest.
How to Apply Diatomaceous Earth
Snowy accepted them right away as her own and I was so glad to know that I already had the DE on hand. Each baby chick got a dusting and they’ll get another when we move them to a bigger brooder in a few weeks.
D.E. is a simple product to use – its almost like dusting with baby powder. You do need to be careful not breathe it yourself, as well as be careful to keep it out of the chicks’ noses and eyes.
Otherwise, its easy to apply, safe for baby and adult homestead animals and is completely non-toxic. We had a horrible tragedy with a commercial livestock pesticide once and have been so grateful that we now know about DE.
If you’re going to have chicks this year – or any baby animal – make sure you have a bag of DE on hand. To learn more about DE or to purchase some (not an affiliate link, by the way – just a good product), please visit Diatomaceous Earth.com.
If you need a few ideas on how to keep those baby chicks entertained, you might try some of these ideas from Day’s Ferry Organics.
Don’t forget to email me for that free sample from our book, The Do It Yourself Homestead! We hope the book will be useful to you, but don’t take our word for it. Here’s what what author Chris Dalziel has to say about the book: