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Dusting boxes

Posted by runningtrails 5 (My Page) on
Mon, Dec 29, 08 at 7:06

I put a small dusting box in the coop in the summer, but it was mostly ignored. They dug holes outside and rolled and dusted there.

Yesterday I noticed a hen rolling in the dust that has spilled on the floor from the first little box, which eventually got dumped out in the corner, so I made another one for them. Just one little box for 20 hens. I filled it with sand, sifted potting soil, a little sifted wood ash and a sprinkle of DE. They LOVED it!

At first they tried to eat it and scratched a lot out of the box. It took a bit for one to get in and start scratching, then rolling and dusting herself. By that time several hens were trying to eat it and get in. A fight broke out. A real honest to goodness fight between two hens. They grabbed each other about the head and wattles, shrieking and went up into the air about 2 ft, fighting. I broke it up but not for long. It happened again, same two hens, about 5 mins later.

I had filled the box full so there was lots to divide. I got two more small boxes and divided it into three. I also tossed handfulls into the corner where that one hen was still rolling in the old stuff. I had nine hens rolling altogether in a heap in the corner having a great time. I also had two to a box in the three boxes, dusting, scratching and rolling in it. They abolutely LOVED it!!

So, today I'm going to make a very large box out of wood, about 2' x 2.5' x 8" tall with no bottom and put it in that corner. I'm going to fill it with a couple of inches of dusting mix and leave it there for everyone to use. What a great way to relieve their boredom, although they have been able to go outside for the past couple of days.

This is a pic of some of the hens still rolling in the corner. There were more but a few left to eat.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Dusting boxes

How funny!! I hadn't thought to do that for them but they do sure love to roll and dust. Where did you get your DE? We have big round alfalfa bales for our pigs and I try to put some of that down when the weather is too bad for them to get out of the coop. They really LOVE it. It's green and sweet. I did have buckets of pears/apples that they also loved to pass the time with but some are moldy and I don't dare give them any more now. Lori


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RE: Dusting boxes

I got the DE at Canadian Tire in the fall. I only used a sprinkle of it in the dust. It's for vegetable gardens, not for pools.

I had a tree full of little red apples I was going to put in the cellar to treat them through the winter, but the racoons took all of them before I could get to them! I will beat them to it next year!


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RE: Dusting boxes

I found food grade DE (flour) on ebay. I thought it was a bit expensive but I brought it in July (I think) and I still have 3/4 of the bag left. I use it in my goat and chicken food. Just a little cause it makes the goats sneeze. When I first started adding it to their food they refused to eat it but my will power is stronger, I refused to change the food till they ate it. I won and now no problems with it.

I also put some in a corner of the chicken coop to see if they would dust in it not mixing it with anything. That did not go over too well. Now that I have your dusting formula I am going to try it.

As we all have learned trial and error wins over what the books say to do. Good ideas runningtrails!


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RE: Dusting boxes

I think it's important no to let the animals inhale it. It's also great for sprinkling on the veggies to kill worms and caterpillars. I'm going to try it on the broccoli this year to get rid of those cabbage worms that are so hard to see.


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RE: Dusting boxes

I had a huge pile of rotting wood left over from the previous owners. It is on the side of the barn. I noticed today the pile is almost gone, the goats been loving it. I saw that at the bottom of the pile is a lot of saw dust like where the wood rotted and composted. I wonder if the chickies will like to have some of that in their cage? It looks very soft.

I do not mix a lot of DE. I put their bag of food in a metal trash can and mix a cup of DE in the can and mix it with a shovel. I think thats a little My feed store does not have medicated feed whenever I go for some reason so I have to do something...

The DE also got rid of all the ants I had all over the yard. The ant nests are GONE. They say to sprinkle the perimeter of your house and you will not have termites either. I wish I knew about that in Florida!!


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I wouldn't trust rotting sawdust, lots of fungi creating exotic toxins.


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I could have use it at my old home too! Lots of ants there. I may try it on the tomatoes to kill cut worms and around all the veggies. I guess I'll need to buy more. I found it to be a bit expensive to use a lot.

The goats ate the rotting wood? I guess they do eat anything! Amazing! Chickens are very sensitive to mold and mildew. I wouldn't use the sawdust from rotting wood that has been damp, inside their house. It would make a good mulch for the garden, though. I am always looking for more mulch for the garden to keep weeds down.


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RE: Dusting boxes

I hate to appear so ignorant, but I left the farm as a child -- what is DE? And why does it seem to have so many uses? cora


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RE: Dusting boxes

Diatomacceous Earth There is a type of algae known as a diatom, and they build little glass shells. Over the years these shells built up on the floor of the ocean and through geological processes these deposits were welled up and they are mined.

The DE gets into the joints on the arthropods and simultaneously cuts the tissue and pulls off the waxy coat, the result is that the critters dry out and die, and cannot be a problem for you.

Also used for filtering and as a bonsai soil additive and an abrasive.


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RE: Dusting boxes

here is a link that might help you see all the advantages of it. I used the non food grade (used for pools) to clean my fishtanks I would put it in my canister filter and when I first run it, it clouded up the tank and in an hour the tank was sparkling clean. I love this stuff!! BTW you only have to use the canister filter once a month and when you use the DE you never have to change the water. Let me clarify, the canister filter was used once a month but I had a regular power filter going 24/7. I don't want anyone blaming me for a bad fish tank. LOL

Here is a link that might be useful: DE


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RE: Dusting boxes

Even with water polishing it is highly recommended that you do water changes at least once a week.


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RE: Dusting boxes

I use an external DE filter on a 300 gallon salt water set up that had internal poly-cotton charcoal filters once a week for a 8 hours starting back in 1964. Never changed the water until I moved in 1982.

Those little hard shelled algae really are efficient at filtering. I was warned by the salesman not to use it more that 1 day out of 7 because it would filter out the larger O2 (oxygen) molecules from the smaller H20 (water) molecules. That filter cost more than the glass to make the tank with, but well worth the money.

Grandma would use DE mixed into some of her soaps she made to wash hands and hard to clean spots in work cloths. The uses for these little buggers seems to be endless.

I read in one of the entries here that if sprinkled around your house that it will keep all insects (including termites) out of your house. I hope this individual realizes that the insect must come in contact with DE to work its wonders. Termites burrow up from the earth and it would be very unlikely to come in contact with the DE sprinkled on the ground unless it was worked into the soil under and all around the house to include the foundation in order to fully protect from burrowing insects (termites).


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Now, I'm embarrassed! The only use for DE that I've ever heard of was for the garden. Thanks for the great links, they were VERY informative. cora


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I think that the salesman who told you that was perhaps a bit exuberant. DE filters pull out all particles down to about aa quarter of a micron or so while O2 has a radius of something like 150 picometers, so its about 1/1000th the size of what the diatom filter will pull out. So are nitrates and silicates and heavy metals and free floating Dissolved Organic Compounds (although surface tension will pull many of these in to nooks and crannies on the surface of the diatom valves) and that is why water changes are still recommended. In combination with a protein skimmer (which they make for fresh water now) you can avoid almost all buildup of unwanted compounds, but water changes also restore the mineral balance of your tank. I know people who have neither who do not do water changes and have few problems directly resulting from it, but its not an advisable practice. But this is all aquarium stuff, not for here.

If you work it in to the soil to deal with termites I think you would need to work a lot of it in to have high enough a concentration to create problems for the termites as they tunnel through. Termites are just bad news, Paul Stamets who is completely nuts from too much psilocybe use seems to think he has found a fungus to kill them all, and reportedly cleared his house of carpenter ants using it, I would recommend watching his talk on TED if you have the time.


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RE: Dusting boxes

Brendon-You have overlooked natures filter. Some call it sea weed but it is an algae. Each week I would pull out 2-3 pounds and sold it to the pet shop. Algae will remove either by metabolizing or storing it with in its' cells any and all toxins that the other living creatures can and do produce as byproducts. If you have a good balance between fish, invertebrates and filter organisms you don't have build up of toxins. By removing the 'sea weed' it constantly removed them.

Brendan try doing instead of saying it can't or shouldn't be done the way someone who had did it is describing. Book knowledge is very one sided and after passing of time is recognized (in many cases) as wrong or partially wrong.


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RE: Dusting boxes

I've been keeping a reef tank for five years. I've sold about 4000 dollars worth of coral frags and successfully kept everything from SW planted tanks to cephalopods to brackish tanks. I've got over 6500 posts on a variety of fishkeeping forums (I know, doesn't count for much) and today I just finished building a chiller for a friends reeftank because his halides were overheating his system.

Algae cannot restore the proper mineral balance, also even in an algae heavy tank you cannot have a large enough volume of water to reduce the nutrient content to the levels found in the ocean which leads to things like RTN of corals.

I said it was not recommended, I specifically said I know people who do less and get away with it, still doesn't mean its a good idea!


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5 years? Coral grows an 1/8th of an inch per year in ideal conditions--raised about $4000 worth in five years-must have been a 500K gallan tank-and did you move it back and forth in the back seat of your car or something-or did you do this as a toddler?

Your tails of acheivements don't add up for someone your age. Go back and write on one peice of paper what you have told us that you have done on this forum--DON"T ADD UP!!!

This is the last time I'll waste my time on you--PLEASE get help!


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Corals represent a diverse group of animals, some grow 1/8th of an inch a year, others grow much faster, I had a Zoa garden for a few years and I grew about 4 square feet of Zoaanthids in my 24 and 29 gallon tanks, that accounted for the bulk of it, I also started with a bright fluorescent green trumpet coral with 10 heads and fragged it after it reached 40 head, each frag at $30 with 2-3 heads means a total of ~$500 in about half of my 12 gallon for about 8 months. the reason that none of this makes sense to you is that when you started the hobby in 1968 keeping aptasia was an astonishing feet and considered something that only the best aquarists were capable of, obviously now we are so much better at doing it that aptasia are a pest.

I've broken down and moved or swapped tanks several times, and left them with friends (one of whom I trained thoroughly, the other one has a reef tank of his own, he is who I built the chiller for). I guess what I said wasn't complete, I have had reeftanks for 5 years, not a reef tank, I had a reeftank in my highschool which I left there when I went to college three and a half years ago. At every point in time I have had "a reef tank", it hasn't been the same one all the way through. I also gave up the 12 gallon I started college with, I let a friend have it because I had a small room when I was an RA and didn't have room for it and my tools, I've still got the live rock I began with. 3 and a half years ago.

It all adds up quite well because its all true, you just made assumptions that were not true. I've talked before about how I keep reef tanks on gardenweb. And all of this is to defend the statement that "Even with water polishing it is highly recommended that you do water changes at least once a week." which I think virtually every aquarium professional will agree with, good water changes make up for a multitude of sins and mistakes.

This is not the first time you have called the high ground and ended an argument rather than admitting that my statement had merit or raising a discrepancy that is actually relevant to my argument, you got us off track, and when that didn't work you complained about it. If we can stick to finding evidence and building arguments for our respective cases rather than trying to build arguments from authority (I've kept tanks for X years) then we can avoid a lot of frustration, and produce a thread that is more informative.


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RE: Dusting boxes

well I am playing catch up and missed the results of this thread. Normally I ignore Brendan and I think others have too. He has made enemies on all the boards he posts on so Seramas save your blood pressure and he will eventually get the hint and go away.

As for my statement about not having to change my water. I don't remember using it on my short lived salt water tank but i did on my freshwater with tropicals, did not change the water and my water always tested good. Don't have the fish anymore because I moved to a different state but my son does and he "polishes" the water as you say and the fish are still living. If the water was supposed to be changed every week then it is a couppla years behind. The fish are still well. If you care to argue that point Brendon it is pointless. The proof is in the pudding.

Seramas I did not pay a lot of money for the filter because I brought it used from a fish store and it turned out to be quite a bargain. I think I paid about $60 for it can't remember now but that was not bad I don't think.

Corar don't feel embarrassed DE is not something we all learn about in a normal course of life . I learned about it through my extra ordinary friends on the forum too. I have not tried it for termites but I did eradicate ants with it and use it in my goat and chicken feed. No evidence of worms so far. I live in an old house (1920) and believe it or not no termite damage at all. House hand built with cedar boards.

But anyway this is about chicken dusting right? Well I was under my house the other day and found some really nice soft dry dirt under there. I am going to try to mix it up with DE and put it in the coop. I won't put a lot of the DE as suggested runningtrails. BTW I let them out the other day when I was painting their door and they did good. I let them out for a little while yesterday too and I think a hawk was watching them. He was making an awful lot of noise in the tree. I would have a fit if a hawk came down and snatched one of my chickens up! Oh and I will not give the chickens the rotted wood but I might throw it in my new compost bin.


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