Diatomaceous earth has a number of properties that makes it a highly effective duck feed additive. Duck feed usually comes in the form of cereal or grain, both of which are prone to infestation by insects and can often form mold or rot due to excess moisture.
Parasites that find their way into duck feed have the ability to colonize the digestive tract of your birds, making infested or rotting feed a serious health risk.
Diatomaceous earth is composed primarily of fine silica particles. These silica particles are extremely absorbent and porous, able to absorb up to twice their weight in moisture.
When insects encounter these silica particles, they bind to their exoskeletons, abrading away the waxy outer layer and absorbing lipid oils and moisture from inside, fatally dehydrating them.
Diatomaceous earth is also rich in minerals and nutrients that promote higher health in game birds, making it the ultimate additive for duck feed.
As a final bonus, diatomaceous earth has been used for decades as an anti-caking agent in agricultural and livestock feed.
Chemical free, food safe, biodegradable and non-toxic, diatomaceous earth is a highly effective tool in promoting the health of your ducks. In this article, we’ll provide a simple step-by-step guide on mixing your duck feed with diatomaceous earth.
What You’ll Need
- Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth
- An Airtight Feed Container
- A Food Scale
- A Diatomaceous Earth Applicator
- Waterfowl or Duck Feed or Pellets
Step 1: Ensure You’re Using The Right Diatomaceous Earth
There is more than one form of diatomaceous earth, and not all are safe for either animal or human consumption. Diatomaceous earth is mined from mineral deposits formed from the remains of ancient lakes, rivers and streams.
Consisting of the fossilized remains of ancient aquatic plant life called diatoms, diatomaceous earth is normally inert and completely harmless, but certain grades are treated with processes that make them toxic.
Pool grade diatomaceous earth, for example, is mined from the ground then subjected to intense temperatures in excess of 1000 degrees Fahrenheit.
This process creates a highly effective pool filter by causing the silica particles to crystallize, but is extremely dangerous if ingested or inhaled.
Pest control grade diatomaceous earth is similarly toxic, with many brands mixing raw diatomaceous earth powder with pest control poisons to render it more effective.
Food grade diatomaceous earth is the only grade of diatomaceous earth that is completely unadulterated and raw.
For any application involving the ingestion of diatomaceous earth by either humans or animals, always be sure to use only food grade diatomaceous earth that has been approved by the FDA as “generally regarded as safe”, or GRAS.
Step 2: Weight Your Duck Feed
In order to determine the correct amount of diatomaceous earth to add to your duck feed, you’ll need to firstly determine the weight of the feed you’re mixing.
Either measure out the feed and weight it with food scales, or take note of the total weight of the feed bag.
Step 2: Measure Diatomaceous Earth
The correct ratio for mixing diatomaceous earth and feed is a 2% ratio. To determine the correct amount of diatomaceous earth to use quickly, simply divide the total weight of feed you’d like to mix by 50 and weight out this amount of diatomaceous earth.
Step 3: Mix Feed and Diatomaceous Earth
To ensure you’ve creating a consistent mix, it’s best to transfer the feed into an airtight container while mixing with DE. This will simultaneously create an even mix of DE and feed while helping to preserve the dry feed.
Begin by dusting the container with DE, then create alternating layers of feed and diatomaceous earth. Create layers of feed 3-4 inches thick, interspersed with fine layers of diatomaceous earth.
To mix the feed and DE, close the lid of the container and shake vigorously. If the container is too large to pick up, simply rock it from side to side until an even mix is achieved.
When distributing diatomaceous earth, a diatomaceous earth applicator will streamline the process and reduce wastage. The best applicator for mixing duck feed is the Wilcox 3 Quart Duster. For more information, see our Wilcox 3 Quart Duster Review.
Once you’ve finished mixing the feed, store it in a cool, dry place.
While feeding your ducks diatomaceous earth enhanced feed, you will need to provide a surplus of water. Diatomaceous earth feed has the propensity to dehydrate the digestive system of small birds, so always be sure to provide additional water supplies.
Diatomaceous Earth Information Guide:
We have a wide variety of food grade diatomaceous earth resources for you look through to make your life a little easier and chemical-free. Please check out the other valuable resources and versatile application uses for silica-rich diatomaceous earth below:
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Please reach out regarding any information above. In the future, more share-worthy useful enhancements, experiences and effects of diatomaceous earth will be added as the benefits continue to pile up. Always welcome for more insight and awareness, click the button to see the most recommended beautifully blended product that combines both high quality food grade diatomaceous earth powder and pure organic silica together in one formula.