Tuesday, August 2

Tuesday Dose of Cute: A Refreshing Drink

ewes and lambs drinking from water tanks with diataomaceous earth to keep down algae - FarmgirlFare.com
Of cloudy water? Yep.

We've been buying 50 pound bags of food grade diatomaceous earth (which also comes in smaller quantities) for years, and yet we're still finding great new uses for it, like to keep algae from growing in the animals' water. What a time saver. We sprinkle it in everything from the little chicken waterers (just a teaspoon or two) to the 250 gallon tank (a few handfuls) that we use to haul water from the spring out to Donkeyland and the front field.

Diatomaceous earth isn't 'earth,' but the fossilized remains of the microscopic shells created by one celled plants called diatoms. It's a totally natural, very fine powder that looks like glass shards under a microscope but is safe for people, pets, and the environment.

We use it for all sorts of things around the farm, garden, and house, including feeding it to the animals—and lately, ourselves! I finally got around to writing about some of the many things you can do with diatomaceous earth in yesterday's In My Kitchen Garden post, Attack! Using Organic Diatomaceous Earth on Blister Beetles and Other Pests in the Garden and Around the House and Farm.

Even if you're not a gardener, you may want to check it out. I know that discovering diatomaceous earth has really changed and helped our lives. And it thankfully seems to be working on those blasted blister beetles!

Diatomaceous earth has recently become more well known because it's apparently a good way to naturally get rid of bed bugs. If you can't find 100% pure, food grade diatomaceous earth locally, you can order it online.

Do you use diatomaceous earth for anything?

© FarmgirlFare.com, where every little green thing really can make a big difference.


  1. This is a fantastic, and especially well-timed, tip, as I have been struggling with algae in my bird baths and wildlife waterer. And then to find out it does so much else. Will definitely be getting some!

  2. Never used it, but am interested....

  3. Interesting! I did an online search to see "how" it prevented algae growth, with no luck. It does appear to be safe for fish to swim with in small amounts, so I wonder how it would do to cut back on the algae in my koi pond. I think I'll experiment with a bucket of pond water before trying it full-scale though.


  4. The birdbath comment of Jillian's got me thinking, it should also cut back on mite infestation on birds' skin. Do your chickens splash around in it too?


  5. Wow, what a great tip for the waterers! Thanks!!

  6. I do use it! I grow Asiatic and Oriental lilies, and I also have red lily beetles in my garden. They eat the leaves and green parts on the plant, right down to the stem. They destroy the plant, and the only way to get rid of them is D/Earth. Of course, I could use Grub-X, but I prefer not to!

  7. And this is just another reason why I love to read your blog...besides all the fun, wonderful animals, recipes and well, Everything!!, I always learn something new and quite interesting! I am definitely going to look into this further for my garden.

    Again, thank you so much for sharing this.


  8. A couple years ago, I looked EVERYWHERE for this stuff. I looked at all the local feed stores (by work AND by my house) and most people didn't know what I was talking about and others just said they didn't carry it.

    Maybe it's time I look into it again!!

  9. I use DE a LOT! I discovered it back in the 70s when a friend who owned a dairy farm told me how she used it. I use it for insect control and I put it in my dogs' and cats' drinking water as it also helps with any intestinal parasites they may pick up. I sprinkle it in my garden and use it for most of the things you mentioned, albeit on a smaller scale since I live in the city. I buy mine at a local feed & tack store.

  10. Jillian,
    It sounds like this is exactly what you need. Glad I could help!

    Once you have diatomaceous earth around the farm, you'll probably wonder how lived so long without it. We use it all over the place.

    I'm not sure exactly how it prevents algae from growing, but I do know that it works really well. And anything that does grow in the water is much easier to clean out.

    As for mites (which we thankfully don't have a problem with), I know d. earth is supposed to work on them with chickens. You can sprinkle it in the chicken coops, on their roosts, and if there's a spot where they generally take their dust baths (which they do to keep clean and stay cool), you can generously sprinkle d. earth in it, so they'll basically dust themselves with it and get it up under their feathers.

    This is one of the best things about blogging - being able to share information about wonderful stuff! :)

    Thanks for the tip!

    My goal is to save people time, effort, money, and frustration - and of course share lots of cute animal photos. ;) Thanks for all the nice comments you leave.

    Jen's Farmily,
    Don't give up! It can be hard to find food grade diatomaceous earth in many places. If you're willing to buy a large bag (probably 50 pounds), try a restaurant supply house if there's one in your area - it's used to filter oil in deep fryers.

    Otherwise, three cheers for the Internet! Food grade diatomaceous earth is readily available online. Amazon.com has 50 pound bags here and 10 pound bags here.

    Thanks for the tip! Putting d. earth in your dogs' and cats' drinking water is a great idea. We usually mix it into their food (1 tsp per cat, 1 to 2 Tablespoons per dog daily) but putting it in the water is an ideal way to give them a continual small dose - especially if you have picky eaters and/or you don't remember to mix it in the food every day (that would be me.) ;)

  11. We use DE for fleas as we had a bad problem with them last year and found that DE was the absolute best flea killer out there. I told my husband that we needed to also put it in the water to cut down on the algae (we have dairy goats, ducks, geese and chickens), thanks for the tip it is MUCH appreciated!

  12. I have never heard of this, but going to get me some. I have 3 birdbaths, and our dog drinks out of the running birdbath all the time. It it helps cut down on algae then it will make me happy. Also, with all the other uses, it will be nice to have. Thanks for posting another great tip.


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