We’re Bidding Adieu to Diatomaceous Earth

We’re Bidding Adieu to Diatomaceous Earth

It’s no secret that here at Scratch and Peck we are strong proponents of using natural remedies to treat our animals, which was one reason we had added Diatomaceous Earth (DE) to our Cluckin’ Good line of supplements. DE is comprised of porous sediment that forms from the fossilized remains of diatoms. The tiny diatom shells kill parasites as they pass through the intestinal tracts of chickens and ducks, and have also been useful for killing mites around the coop. While DE can be a successful natural preventive, when used appropriately, we have decided to discontinue the product as of March 1, 2017.

Cluckin Good HerbsThis decision, coupled with the fact that we want to focus more of our efforts on products that are uniquely Scratch and Peck, such as Cluckin’ Good Herbs* and Cluckin’ Good Grubs, is twofold. First, our DE is, and always has been, a Food Grade product that has been approved by Organic Material Review Institute (OMRI). While this product is approved for both animal and human use, we are licensed to only sell products for animals, and regulations prevent us from labeling our DE as Food Grade on packaging. Since we believe in providing full transparency in our company and products, we want to be able to label our products effectively. We want you to know that you are purchasing the highest quality products for your animals and that you can easily find the information needed to back that up.

Second, since we began selling DE in 2011 we have learned a lot more information about it. While DE is effective at ridding your coop of pests, it can be too effective. DE doesn’t discriminate between good and bad bugs. It has the potential to also kill any bug that comes in contact with it, including beneficial bugs and bees.  In fact, we have learned that the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation has listed DE as being dangerous to honey bees.

We are constantly evaluating and reevaluating our products to ensure that they fit in line with our mission to make honest, wholesome organic animal feed products with the most heartfelt regard for our planet and fellow living creatures. When something no longer fits within that framework, we’re willing to be flexible and make the necessary changes to get back on track. Thank you to all of you to continue to support what we do as we grow, try new things, and deepen our commitment to organic and whole foods.

*Attributes regarding our Cluckin’ Good Herbs have not been approved by the FDA.


  1. Suzan Tintorri February 16, 2017 at 11:21 am - Reply

    I love your chicken feed but lately there has been a large proportion of fines that putting it in a gravity feeder is impossible – the fines clog up the openings and all the seeds are above it. I’m constantly emptying the feeder to get the seeds down. I feel I’m paying more for the grit than the actual feed. What is going on at the mill?

    • Scratch and Peck Feeds February 16, 2017 at 2:00 pm - Reply

      Hi Suzan,

      Thanks for reaching out. We haven’t changed any of our operations or mixes in the mill, so we’re not sure what would be causing more fines. We’d recommend fermenting your feeds to incorporate those fines, but using a gravity feeder isn’t ideal with fermented feeds. Then you run into clogging the feeder for a different reason. How long have you been noticing additional fines?

  2. Wan Chang-Hamachi February 16, 2017 at 11:28 am - Reply

    Thank you for this update on DE. I appreciate your transparency and rationale for discontinuing the product from your offering. I would like your opinion on whether to continue adding DE to my fermented chicken feed (and coop floor) provided that precaution is taken against accidentally exposing beneficial bugs to it.

    • Scratch and Peck Feeds February 16, 2017 at 12:54 pm - Reply

      Hello, Wan. That is a personal decision on if you want to continue to add DE to your feed and coop floor. We have talked with many people who use DE regularly with their flocks and will continue to use it. It’s where it sits right with you on if you decide to use DE or not.

  3. libby burr February 16, 2017 at 11:57 am - Reply

    great information, totally understandable reasoning
    and I love your caring!
    -Libby owner of Bridger Animal Nutrition

  4. Pam February 16, 2017 at 8:49 pm - Reply

    I have also been a fan of DE I take it myself, and add it to our dog food. I am starting to grow some organic chicken veggie/herbal food…does that mean it would kill the worms in the soil? I hadn’t thought of it that way, and don’t want to hurt our honey bees. Also do you sell organic chicks. Thank you so much. Blessings,

    • Scratch and Peck Feeds February 20, 2017 at 7:36 am - Reply

      Hi Pam, we have talked with people who use DE around their compost and earthworms appear to be unaffected. Some articles say that earthworms can ingest DE without harm. That being said, using DE in your soil is something for you to decide on a personal level. Many people sing the praises of DE, while others won’t let it near their animals. We all have to make the choice on what is best for our lifestyle.

  5. Holly Brown February 20, 2017 at 6:41 am - Reply

    What do you recommend instead of DE to guard against worms?

    Holly Brown – first time chicken owner in NH

  6. Ali March 21, 2017 at 12:04 pm - Reply

    My understanding is that moisture inactivates DE, so I’m curious whether it really makes a difference when ingested or fermented.

    • Scratch and Peck Feeds March 22, 2017 at 12:17 pm - Reply

      Hi Ali, we honestly do not have the answer to your question. DE continues to be active when ingested, but we hadn’t heard about moisture inactivating DE, so we unfortunately don’t have a good answer for you.

  7. Anne April 24, 2017 at 11:06 am - Reply

    Thanks for posting this. We’ve been using DE in the coop and occasionally in the garden and have started to re-think that – after reading this, and understanding the potential harm for honeybees, we won’t be using it anymore either. Our chickens really love your food but we also love your ethics & transparency. Thanks.

  8. ChaiDarling March 21, 2018 at 10:13 pm - Reply

    What would you recommend to use in dust baths other than DE?

    • Scratch and Peck Feeds March 22, 2018 at 9:41 am - Reply

      In place of DE, we’d recommend fine/dusty dirt, fine sand, or a combination of those. Adding wood ash can help with parasites.

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