Diatomaceous Earth: A Must for Chick Care

Have you ever heard of Diatomaceous Earth, or D.E.? If you have baby chicks, ducks, turkeys or even kittens, you may want to check out this completely natural pest control. Diatomaceous Earth l Use this non toxic pest control for your flock l A Must for Chick Care l Homestead Lady (.com)

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.

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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. The chickens had a few mite-type bugs here and there, but I didn’t manage to do anything about it with Snowy, our Silkie, started hatches out chicks.

Consequently, the baby birds have 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 children have been so good throughout this whole messy ordeal and haven’t whined or badgered for anything special. They sweetly pleaded for us to purchase a few chicks.

They reasoned, and quite soundly, 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 the new chicks right away as her own – you can read about how we use her with our incubated chicks here.

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 – we lost several chicks. We 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.

Free Sample

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:

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23 thoughts on “Diatomaceous Earth: A Must for Chick Care

  1. We really want to get some chickens but my husband isn’t to keen on the idea. We are thinking about ducks since we recently found out our oldest daughter is allergic to chicken eggs and we bought all the duck eggs last week. Since all the ducks are laying there are no duck eggs available. Love your blog!

    1. Ducks are quite fun and their eggs are larger and more rich than chicken eggs. In my experience they’re messier, especially if you allow them access to water – which I do because, being water fowl, I feel obligated. What are your husband’s objections to chickens – perhaps he’s simply mis- or under-informed? It’s possible your daughter is simply allergic to commercial chicken eggs; considering what’s in them, that wouldn’t be surprising. Ha, look at me pushing chickens! Good luck finding the right answer for your family – so many things to think about and learn!

      Love your blog, too!

      1. Pretty much all commercial operations, even organic ones, feed layer feed that contains soy. You’re allergy may be related to that more so than the chicken eggs. Duck eggs are a great alternative though!

  2. I have been thinking about backyard chickens! Of course, once they stopped laying, I would simply have pet chickens…..lol

  3. Thanks for the info on DE, I had heard about using it on chicks and honestly thought it was just for swimming pools LOL

      1. DE for chickens and animals needs to be the FOOD GRADE type only!!!! The type you use for pools is a non food grade type. Yikes!!! Please only use the food grade for anything that breathes.

  4. I have been wanting to try DE with our chickens and also in my homemade DO. I have heard it will help with my stink!

    1. I hadn’t heard of putting it in deodorant – let me know how it goes! I finally added a non-GMO cornstarch to mine and that made the difference between not working and working for my body for some reason.

      Yes to DE with chickens – just be careful not to get it in their eyes and noses. Chickens have slightly finicky respiratory systems. Although, my goats seem worse – I have a goat who’s allergic to alfalfa. No joke. Every time she gets her head right in the hay feeder she starts sneezing. Animals are funny.

  5. Moving a homestead must be really a challenge! I helped my friend last month to move some of her chickens because she is also moving a homestead! Good luck! Have a smooth move and easy settling! 🙂

  6. For anybody that decides to try DE…. please be sure to buy the food grade. The DE used in pools is completely different and not safe for livestock or people for that matter. Just thought I’d leave my two cents since I didn’t see any mention of it.

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