Tag / bugs

Chickens Coop Care Health Issues

Bugs

Looking for bugs

Bugs.  Tiny little jumping and flying bugs are all over the coop.  They walk about on the cedar shakes of the coop roof and as I go to pinch them, they jump.  They jump like popcorn.  These tiny little bugs are everywhere.  What are they, I have no idea, but after a few moments out there yesterday morning, I already had the heebie jeebies.  I grabbed the food grade diatomaceous earth, held my breath and began to blast the bugs with the pest pistol.  DE filled the air, my hair and my clothes.  I removed myself from the coop area and I waited until the dust settled.  I went inside, continued to get the kids ready for school and showered.

A little later in the morning, I returned to the coop.  A few bug were still exploring the outside of the coop.  I brushed them off and they popped away like impatiens’ seed pod I used to pop as a child.  I looked inside the coop and saw no evidence of bugs.  The chickens were unfazed as well.  However, these little visitors were really starting to bug me!  I grabbed the poultry protector and sprayed down the entire coop and run.  Finally by the end of they day, they were no where to be seen.

This morning, I woke up and went out to the coop.  The bugs had returned.  I blasted them with poultry protector again.  later in the day, I asked the lady at the feed store about the little flying things.  She had no idea but thought that they could have just blown in from somewhere.  I took no chances.  I bought two more bottles of poultry protector while I was there.  I have no idea about these little bugs.  I can’t be sure of what they are or where they originate.  I just know that I do not want them bugging the girls.  This is the first time I have ever had this sort of thing happen with the coop and the chickens.  Bugs certainly have their place in this great big world of ours, just not near our coop.  Perhaps, whatever blew them in for this visit will blow them onto their next destination this week.  A girl can dream…

Photo Credit:  Tilly’s Nest

Chickens Coop Care Health Issues

Fossils for Chickens?!

Diatomaceous Earth!  Diatomaceous Earth or DE is really a miracle worker. What exactly is it?   DE consists of fossilized microscopic hard-shelled algae called diatoms. It comes in a very fine powder and can be a real preventative as well as curative for many chicken ailments.The most important thing when you want to use DE with your chickens is that you purchase FOOD GRADE DE.  The great thing about DE is that it gets rid of unwanted pests naturally.  It is an organic technique that has been utilized by farmers for quite some time.  DE works by a process called desiccation.  It’s sharp microscopic edges cut into the bugs’ outer body skeletons and causes them to dehydrate.  DE kills ticks, fleas, mites, digestive worms and keeps pests away from food and out of the coop.  It also provides a wide array of trace minerals to your chicken’s diet. You can add up to 2% of their feed.

Studies have shown chickens fed DE have an increase the amount of eggs, decreases the mortality rate, keeps mites away, helps to dry up droppings, helps with flies and decrease worm loads in the GI tract. It also found that hens fed DE in their diets laid eggs with more albumin and yolk . I also love that my hens are getting the valuable trace minerals. In the feed, it keeps insects from spoiling the feed too.

In the newly cleaned coop I sprinkle it into the corners, edges, in the nesting boxes and onto the floor prior to adding a fresh new layer of bedding.  We never have had a pest problem inside the coop and we live in a very wooded area! This product as been a terrific addition to my backyard chicken experience.  I love that something easy and natural is so beneficial.

As a word of precaution, DE should only be used in well ventilated areas and should be avoided getting it into your eyes, nose and throat. As you research DE, you will surely come across literature that discusses the health risks associated with accidental inhalation. The condition is called Silicosis. Silicosis is a medical condition of the lung that occurs with regular repeated inhalation over a period of many years. Silicosis can also be caused from the use of sand (silica dust) in the coop and run. So please take precautions when using sand or DE.

Update 6/11/2013: Please click here to read an article that I wrote for Community Chickens on DE- chock full of even more information, including precautions that you should take if using DE with your flock.


References:

Poult Sci. 2011 Jul;90(7):1416-26. doi: 10.3382/ps.2010-01256.
Effect of diatomaceous earth on parasite load, egg production, and egg quality of free-range organic laying hens. Bennett DC1, Yee A, Rhee YJ, Cheng KM.

RESULTS OF THE USE OF CODEX FOOD-GRADE DIATOMACEOUS EARTH WITH POULTRY, C.S. Mangen, DVM, San Diego, California