Diatomaceous Earth Chickens

Diatomaceous Earth Chickens

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Lice or mites on chickens are a pain because infestations are usually heavy, and the insects' life cycle is difficult to thwart. However, there is a natural chicken lice and mite treatment with diatomaceous earth. Diatomaceous earth for chickens works to effectively remove the mites and lice in a safe way. As the soft powder coats their feathers and skin, it begins to repel the existing lice or mites, while stopping the insects' egg cycle.

Diatomaceous earth consists of porous diatoms that will absorb moisture and deodorize the area. It's the absorbent properties of DE that are so effective in dehydrating insects, providing long-term protection from lice and mites.

How-To Instructions


Grab Everything You Need

Make sure you have all the right equipment for the job. You can select one of our diatomaceous earth kits that include everything you'll need or just buy some DE and use your own applicators. There is no wrong way to apply diatomaceous earth; it just needs to come into contact with the insect to work.


Preparing the Area

Be sure to clean the coop before you add diatomaceous earth for chickens. This prepares the environment to rid the coop of any mites or lice.


Applying DE on the Chicken

Generally, dusting the coop and adding DE to the dust bath are sufficient precautions to take. However, if a particular chicken looks quite bad, then applying some DE can't hurt. When applying DE to a single chicken, it might be best to have two people to help: one to hold the chicken and the other to apply the DE. Some chickens may be more resistant than others.


Trouble Areas to Watch For

Make sure to apply DE under their wings, their bellies, and vents. Have the person holding the chicken lift up the wing, so the other person can apply the DE. Repeat this process all over.


Treat the Surrounding Area

Mites will be infested not only on the chicken, but in the coop as well. So it's best to treat the chickens' living area too. Some people have put DE in the dust bathing area. This is useful because the chickens will naturally bath themselves in the DE, continuing to treat the mite or lice problem.


Focus on the Coop

You can use the 3 quart sifting scoop to cover their bedding/nest box, feed area, and dust bath. One chicken owner powders a layer of DE into a clean nest box with hay. Then she adds more hay and more DE. She repeats this process until the nest box is filled with hay and layers of DE. Since lice and mites often hide throughout hay, this process has been effective in treating her chicken coops.

Helpful Tips and Warnings

  • For even a backyard coop, you should consider getting the 3 Quart Sifting Scoop, Squeeze Duster, and 25-50 lbs of diatomaceous earth.
  • You can also feed your poultry DE. To read more about it, go to our Using DE as a Feed Additive article.
  • If you have respiratory problems, like asthma, you should wear a dust mask when spreading large amounts of diatomaceous earth.


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