DE safe for sheep?

Discussion in 'Sheep' started by ajaxlucy, Sep 22, 2004.

  1. ajaxlucy

    ajaxlucy Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I've read that you can give diatomaceous earth (DE) to sheep to help control parasites. What I'm wondering is, if DE is tiny fossil organisms made of silica, wouldn't it be like eating ground glass? Does anyone know?
     
  2. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Vicki McGaugh over on the Goat board can direct you to U of T studies that show DE is useless against internal parasites (if I'm remembering my source right) I tried it and harmless was the best I could say about it. Might have uses against external parsites and dusting veggies. I'd think it was safe enough the size it is, ground glass is just sand is it not?
     

  3. Taylor

    Taylor Well-Known Member

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    A) If it was bad for them mine would all be belly up by now.
    B) For a different study, see the latest Hoegger Supply catalog. This information might also be on their website.
     
  4. ajaxlucy

    ajaxlucy Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Interesting ... I feel a science fair project coming on.
    Thank you.
     
  5. Leighton

    Leighton New Member

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    I've heard that DE is useless once wet.
    I can also say from experience that it does not harm the sheep,(although we do not use it anymore). For one thing, they don't like to eat it so I doubt they would get enough to benefit.
     
  6. GeorgeK

    GeorgeK Well-Known Member

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    I have to disagree. The problem with DE is most people try to bolus feed it, and used that way it very well might not work. I've been using it for 4 years and found it prevents intestinal worms in my sheep, pigs, burro dog and cat, and even reduced the fly problem by about 95%. The key is daily feedings of small amounts. It is harmless to all but invertebrates for whom it is like broken glass, but to mammals, reptiles and birds it is not a problem. when you have a little all the time, it will be mixed into the stool and kill most of the maggots that try to hatch, but obviously it wont stop flies from elswhere flying in. I give my animals treats of corn (for the pigs) and oats (for the sheep) each day, every day during fly season, they probably eat less than a half a teaspoon. I simply store their grain in a clean lockable garbage can, and each time it is filled I pour about 1-2 cups on and stirr the top layer with a shovel. As you scoop out the grain, some DE will fall off and dust the grain below it. By the end of the barrel, there's still a little DE on the grain


     
  7. mawalla

    mawalla Well-Known Member

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    The man who buys most of my lambs never has internal parasite problems and runs about 200+ sheep on his place. He swears by DE. He mixes it in his loose mineral and has it available at all times.

    I've read the reports that say it has zero effect on internal parasites. But, I used oral wormers religiously through out the spring and very wet summer and still lost sheep to internal parasites. (Switched to injectable and the problem was solved, BTW.) The man I mentioned above didn't loose any sheep and he doesn't worm. Hum :confused: ! Just to cover all bases, I now put DE in my loose mineral. I figure it is cheap, doesn't hurt the sheep, and might be benificial. However, don't think that I won't continue checking for internal parasites and keep wormer on hand!

    I also lay some out for my chickens to take dust baths in!

    I often wonder if spreading it on a pasture would eliminate the larva. Any thoughts?
     
  8. GeorgeK

    GeorgeK Well-Known Member

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    they have to come in contact with it in their soft bodied stage, so it depends on what parasite, and what part of the life cycle you are trying to interrupt


     
  9. kjerckie

    kjerckie Well-Known Member

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    I've used food grade DE with horses, goats, and dogs, inside and out. I put a heaping teaspoon in my young bulls grain each day. When I had Emus, poured a 55 pound bag on the ground for them to dust in. Figure it can't hurt, and if it only kills a few worms in between wormings, then it's worth the trouble.
     
  10. Thumper/inOkla.

    Thumper/inOkla. Well-Known Member

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    I asked along time ago and never got any info about where to read up on the study she refered to, on the cae-alternatives list she said it was a problem for her asthma, it is message 580, on the cae list.
     
  11. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    My own experience has me convinced the $50 a bag I spent on 5 bags was wasted money and the trouble to either mix it in or provide a free choice suppliment bin was pretty much a waste too. A harmless waste but still a waste. Maybe it did help a little but to take my time it had better work plain and simple and make a real difference. I went looking for a study (not a sales pitch) that would show something valid and tested that would be useful. Iowa State U has a page posted about DE use and while reading it you might disagree with the final conclusion the most optimistic thing you can say about it is, lower eg counts will mean lower reinfestion rates. Worm eggs are not, in themselves, a problem. Both tested groups had similar performance, and neither were compared to a benchmark group using conventional wormers. Interesting they both had to start clean using Ivomec, which (IMO) might be the best advice you can draw from the study. Start clean with Ivomec!

    An interesting topic, so check out this link
     
  12. Thumper/inOkla.

    Thumper/inOkla. Well-Known Member

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    If I am reading the words of that report correctly...
    (I didn't see a copywrite restriction on the page so I copied a small portion, I understand if those parts need to be deleted)

    [section 7] says it was showing some improvement..>>..Based on the first year of trials, there was a trend toward slightly improved performance for animals being fed DE. The lambs on the DE diet gained slightly more weight than their counterparts in the control group. The fecal parasite egg counts started out at a similar level in both groups, but were less in the DE group at the end of the trial. The figures measuring blood health appeared to be slightly improved for the DE group. <<

    [Section 8]...again it showed some improvement
    >>In the study's second year, using a larger test group of 48 lambs, Osweiler doubled the proportion of DE in the lambs' feed. The results were similar to the previous year's trial. The control group of untreated sheep developed higher fecal egg counts than the DE-treated sheep, with a maximum difference in egg counts approximately 50 percent greater than the group receiving DE supplements. <<

    That says it DE fed animals showed improvement.......and then it double talks and says they didn't???? [section 9]
     
  13. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    I don't think they said the DE didn't have any effect just it didn't accomplish the goal of controling parasites effectively. You'd lose organic status by starting "clean" with Ivomec anyhow!
     
  14. Rosarybeads

    Rosarybeads Well-Known Member

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    Hmm, we recently bought goats, and I have gave them some DE a few times, although I need to get better about giving it to them every day. They didn't seem to like it, though, same with the sheep. Seemed annoyed by it. I guess I will see how it works?
     
  15. Craftyshepherdess

    Craftyshepherdess Active Member

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    I used DE for a while, and while it did seem to improve the condition of the sheep & goats between wormings, it was not enough to keep parasite levels down to an acceptable level by itself. I did observe a dramatic reduction in the fly population, tho, presumable because it does have an effect on larva in manure. It is good for lice & keds, but I will not use it on the sheep again, as it was very hard on the shearing equipment (dulled new cutters by the third or fourth ewe).

    It is very irritating if inhaled, so avoid poofing it around or trying to force-feed it. What worked best for me was adding it to sticky sweetfeed or mixing in a bit of veg oil when I added it to a plain grain ration. It can also be added to loose salt/min mix. Some claim it contains some beneficial trace nutrients. It's also good for dusting garden plants, tho that is when it is rendered ineffective once wet, so needs to be reapplied after a rain. It will kill beneficials too, though, so timing is important.

    $50/bag is awfully high, if I remember correctly I paid about half that around here (central NY) for a 50# bag.

    -Tish
     
  16. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Should clarify and remind everyone I'm Canadian and our dollar was pretty low then so it would have been about $38 US Sorry about that
     
  17. GeorgeK

    GeorgeK Well-Known Member

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    how much were you using? It has taken 4 years to make a dent in the 50 pound bag. I've had wonderful results


     
  18. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    George at times I have over 700 sheep lambs and rams a 50 pound bag didn't go far on the half of the flock I tried it on. Are you actually getting fecal samples checked? How do you administer/feed DE George? I'll freely admit I lost a lot to the dust bathes a few of my sheep took in the free choice bins I tried! I found I already used an effective and IMO safe parasite control program so why mess with DE?
     
  19. Craftyshepherdess

    Craftyshepherdess Active Member

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    About a heaping tablespoon per head per day, two weeks on, two weeks off as suggested by a local vet. When I added it to freechoice creepfeed I tried for about the same. When the sheep were on grass, I'd mix it about 1 part to three of loose min salt.

    In my situation, I felt it had the most value for potentially lengthening the time between dewormings, or for getting lambs to targeted size for the local ethnic trade without chemicals, I've found the Halal customers are very concious of cleanliness and "purity".

    Incidentally, another use is as a dust bath for poultry, it works well on mites and lice.

    -Tish
     
  20. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Funny you mention the Muslim requiring cleanliness, and purity, I've found the exact opposite when it comes to chemicals. It can be a real challenge trying to convince them they can't have lambs that are still on withdrawl from a worming. I know a Lebanese Christian who through our many chats tells me back home in Lebanon they (both Christian and Muslim farmers) use chemicals freely and very heavily, often using 5 times the amount recomended with the simple expectation that if a little is good a lot is better. I won't eat imported food from the third world for many reasons but that's the main one!