The absorbent and nutritious qualities of diatomaceous earth make it a highly effective additive for enhancing swine feed. DE offers a broad range of benefits for both large scale agricultural enterprises to small scale backyard hobby farms by preserving feed, deterring pests, reducing feed rot and preventing caking.
Adding diatomaceous earth to the diet of your pigs and hogs also enhances their digestive health and prevents them from contracting digestive parasites.
In this article, we’ll present a simple step-by-step method that details the best method of adding diatomaceous earth to your swine feed.
What You’ll Need to Enhance Hog and Pig Feed With Diatomaceous Earth
- Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth
- A Scoop
- A Food Scale
- Hog or Pig Feed
Step 1: Choose the Right DE Grade
The first step in adding diatomaceous earth to your swine feed is ensuring that you’ve chosen the correct grade of diatomaceous earth. Only food grade diatomaceous earth is suitable for consumption by either humans or livestock animals, as other forms can be hazardous.
Pool grade diatomaceous earth, for example, is DE that has been heated to temperatures of over 1000 degrees celsius, causing the silica particles that compose the powder to crystallize. The resulting substance is highly dangerous if inhaled or consumed.
Other forms of DE, such as pest control grade, are often mixed with dangerous toxins or insecticides to improve their efficacy, making them highly poisonous. Food grade diatomaceous earth is the only form of DE that has not been treated after mining.
Always be sure to use only this grade of DE in any application involving dietary consumption in either animals or humans.
Step 2: Prepare Your Feed
There are a number of important steps you’ll need to undertake before mixing diatomaceous earth with swine feed. If you’re using dry feed for your pigs or hogs, it’s possible to mix DE directly into the container.
If you’re using food waste as feed, it’s important to follow the USDA guidelines for preparing food waste to feed swine. Boil and stir any food waste you’re planning on feeding your pigs or hogs for at least 30 minutes to prevent outbreaks of diseases such as cholera or foot and mouth disease.
Step 3: Measure & Mix Diatomaceous Earth
Measuring out the correct amount of diatomaceous earth for your feed will depend on whether you’re using wet or dry feed. For dry feed, a simple 2% ratio is sufficient. Begin by determining the amount of feed you’d like to mix DE with and divide the total weight by 50. For example, if you’re mixing 100 lbs of feed with diatomaceous earth, you’ll need to measure out 2 lbs of diatomaceous earth.
Add the correct amount of diatomaceous earth to the feed bag or container and use a scoop or stirrer to mix the feed thoroughly, then shake the bag to ensure all of the feed has an even distribution of diatomaceous earth. You may want to let the feed sit for several days before use so the DE absorbs the scent of the feed.
For wet feed, such as boiled food waste feed, you’ll need to measure out the feed in fluid ounces. For every 10 gallons of swill, you’ll need to add 1.5 cups of diatomaceous earth. Mix the diatomaceous earth in with the swill. This mix can be used immediately.
Enhance Hog and Pig Feed With Diatomaceous Earth Safety Notes
Although food grade diatomaceous earth is completely inert and non toxic, the fine particles that make up the DE dust are able to irritate eyes and lungs if inhaled. Always be sure to wear protective eyewear and a dust mask when working with large amounts of diatomaceous earth.