Diatomaceous Earth on the Farm

Diatomaceous Earth has wide ranging applications on the farm and lifestyle block.   Aside from the separately described applications for  orchards, the home and other uses, it can be helpful in a multitude of other agricultural areas.

Spread liberally in places where insect discouragement is required - sheds, barns, milking sheds, calving pads, stables, pens, kennels, fowl coops, realistically any animal housing area will benefit from DE.  Its presence will dry wet spots, reduce the ability for insects to breed and lay eggs and reduce odour in manure build-up areas and reduce fly populations.  Actively discouraging flies, fleas, ticks and mites in these areas will make your livestocks lives less stressed, healthier, cleaner and improve conditions for animals and their human keepers alike.

When mucking out stables, livestock pens and fowl coops cover the emptied area well in DE prior to re-installing the hay / sawdust / bedding again.  Once re- installed sprinkle liberally over the new surface to discourage infestations of pests and parasites.  Flooring surfaces can be similarly coated to make the entire area an insect unfriendly area.  

In between bedding replacements sprinkle DE in areas requiring attention, wet spots, dirty areas and smelly spots.  Keep a large shaker applicator on hand to make for easy application and reduce your pest load in zones that encourage their activity.  

In water troughs apply a small amount of DE to troughs and other livestock water vessels.  It will help to reduce algal growth in these containers and assist to keep them cleaner, nicer, longer.

Wasp nests can be easily disabled leading to their eventual demise by hitting them with a couple of large shakes from a shaker directly onto the face of the nest.  Any surface wasps will become coated in DE, wasps entering or leaving the nest will become un-avoidably contaminated with DE which will ultimately kill them.  The population will contract, the hive will no longer be serviced which will result in its self destruction.

Ant trails and nests can be similarly coated in DE which will immediately result in their change of direction and re-location from the area.  Severe infestations may require a number of applications.

Equestrian / Horses

Apply in stables, horse floats, hay storage areas, feed drums, troughs – anywhere nuisance fly discouragement is needed.    Supplementary feed at a rate of 2kg per 100kg of feed or 50 – 100 grams per horse per day.


Results on feeding food grade Diatomaceous Earth to walking horse, L. Thomas, Trainer, L. Frank Roper Stables, Winter Garden, Florida

“With horses fed approximately 5 oz. of DE mixed in the feed twice daily, the following results were observed:  Weight gain due to better feed conversion. Reduction in manure odor.  Healthier appearance".


Frank Zimmerman, Tuscon Arizona, President S. Arizona Horse Association and Fossil Shell Flour user of over 40 years, breeding raising and showing generations of champions.

“Our horses are fed 4 oz of DE every day, year round.  Thanks to DE it takes 8 – 10% less feed to maintain a healthy horse. DE helps the horse’s digestive system.  If you don’t feed grain you can sprinkle DE right on the hay.  You can also apply DE to treat wet spots in the horse pens”.

Cattle / Sheep / Goats / Pigs / Alpacas

Apply to pens, yards, housing, milking sheds, calving pads, wool sheds, hay storage areas, supplement feed containers, troughs – anywhere nuisance insect reduction will be beneficial.    Fill burlap or hessian sackings with DE and hang in races leaving milking sheds to enable cattle to brush against it and ‘self apply’ on an ‘as required’ basis.

Supplementary feed at a rate of 2kg per 100kg of feed or 50 – 100 grams per cow per day.  Feed ad-lib in containers livestock can access to help themselves to required amounts of DE.  Studies overseas have concluded that they consume approximately the same amount as the RDA anyway.  

If supplementary feeding, remove 2kg of feed for every 100kg of supplementary feed and replace with DE.  Blend and feed, supplementary meals should flow and pour better due to the anti-caking properties of DE.  

Diatomaceous Earth has a multitude of helpful and practical uses in a farming situation - these are well documented on overseas websites. www.denz.co.nz Limited cannot vouch for the authenticity or factual basis for these uses and suggest that customers assess their suitability for themselves. 

Unfortunately, in New Zealand due to the ACVM Act (Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines legislation) we are unable to claim the majority of these uses - technically.  The ACVM has re-classified our natural and organic Diatomaceous Earth as a Veterinary Medicine - something of and irony in itself!  Consequentially we have no alternative but to work through the complex and expensive process to register it as such.  Pending registration we have been legally bound to remove meaningful applications and information from our website until registration is granted.  As a result we apologize for the lack of constructive detail in this section of our website.  We would be grateful for your patience as we hope to have a resolution to this situation in the coming months. 


"Worked with 2000 calves for 2 years without a single case of scours using Fossil Shell Flour.  He says, “Using Fossil Shell Flour we have been able to eliminate vaccines and antibiotics”.

Dr HD Johnson, DVM (now retired), Saskatchewan Clinic, Canada

The Michigan Department of Agriculture microscopically examined the internal organs of a dairy cow fed “free access choice DE for a period of five years and found no visible evidence of organ abnormalities”.

University of Illinois referring to tests run on dairy cattle fed 2% of Fossil Shell Flour in their rations stated there was no apparent harmful effect and that there was no evidence of FSF in the milk.

 David Crosby, owner of Crosby Critters Boer Meat Goats, Tijeras, New Mexico.  Has fed Fossil Shell Flour to all his animals for over 10 years now. 

“We began feeding DE with the Alfalfa pellets and sweet feed and observed that they (the goats) gobbled it up as if it was sugar!  They would lay in it (in the large feed pans) and roll and lick every last but from the pan.  During the next six weeks I noticed their coats were slick and shiny and the feed is so efficient.  This is the most exciting thing in animal care I have ever seen.  I grew up on a dair farm in upstate NY.  I believe DE has been the thing that keeps all our animals free of internal parasites … we have done nothing else.  It is the only thing that could have made the difference”.  


Chickens / Ducks / Pheasants / Fowl

Apply to coops, nest boxes, dusting boxes, floors & surfaces, feed containers, any congested areas flocks congregate.  Apply directly to feathers, legs, feet, perches and bedding.  Fill dust bath containers with DE to enable fowl to ‘dust themselves’ in DE to just as they would in a dirt dust bath.  

Replace 5% of feed stockpiles with DE and blend prior to feeding out grains and manufactured feeds to protect feeds from insect infestation.  Grains and feeds should flow better due to the anti-caking properties of DE.

DE internally fed and resulting build up in manure piles will reduce fly populations down and reduces odour considerably providing a more pleasant environment.

Commercial chicken operators should experience some or all of the following benefits –

  • Decreased mortality and sickness
  • Harder egg shells and reduced breakage, the silica content in DE strengthens the shells.
  • Increased egg production through less deaths and longer lay periods
  • Better feed conversion, feed less, healthier birds generally
  • Fly loads in buildings will reduce significantly
  • Litter bugs will reduce considerably
  • Improved environment overall

Dr Philip Schaible, while heading the Department of Poultry Sciences at Michigan State University made the following report: 

“Contains 15 trace minerals important to animal diets.  DE mixes well with all feeds while guarding against insect damage.  Saves albumen, destroys harmful acids, safeguards the stomach.  Improves health and growth of young animals.  Causes better digestion, allowing animals to absorb a higher percentage of protein from its regular diet”.  

Dr CS Hansen, DVM (now retired).  Working with 8,000 chickens kept half on a regular diet and other other half he added Fossil Shell Flour to their diet.  The Fossil Shell Flour group had a lower death rate, egg production went way up and egg breakage when way down.

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