Diatomaceous Earth is a 100% organic and naturally occurring sedimentary rock that when crushed becomes a highly effective animal feed supplement, provided the product mined is of food grade and is a high quality, with no heavy metals, toxins or contaminants that are inconsistent with healthy and flourishing animals and livestock.
Documented benefits of using food grade diatomaceous earth as a feed supplement for livestock and farm animals include the following:
- Increased general health and appearance
- Internal parasite control
- Accelerated growth/development
- Improved weight gain and feed conversion
- Fly control
- Increased production
- No withholding period
- Odour control
hy is natural silica feed supplement needed?
Scientists have known for many years that silica is a vital ingredient for robust and productive animal health. There is a well-documented link between low silica levels in animals and sub-optimal health and production rates. As it is common for animal feed to be lacking in silica content, most animals experience the negative effects of silica deficiency.
Silica has a direct effect on the animal through the nutrients and trace elements contained in silica that are passed through its system that the animal is highly unlikely to get in any other way. Silica also has a mechanized effect on the animal which directly affects many facets of the digestive system as well as controlling internal parasites.
Food grade amorphous silica must form part of regular feed patterns in order to ensure animals are as healthy, robust and productive as possible.
Benefits of using Diatomaceous Earth (natural amorphous silica) as a feed supplement
- Increases general animal health and appearance
Silica deficiency has been linked to a broad range of health, performance and appearance problems from lack of coat sheen, to poor calcium utilization, to scours, to arterial disease. Clinical and observation trials conducted in many countries have recorded strikingly similar conclusions. When silica was used as a regular feed supplement animal health and appearance improved, production increased, infant mortality decreased, tumours and cysts disappeared, flies were significantly reduced, scours was virtually non-existent and problems that were endemic and unresponsive to traditional, chemical and medical treatments were cured and/or controlled and vet bills were significantly reduced. The silica in the feed supplement also binds to heavy metals, other toxic build-ups and poisonous sediments and expels it from the animals body.
- Accelerated Growth and Development
Silica is directly related to the formation of bone, cartilage and collagen and clinical observation reports that silica can increase the collagen in growing bone by up to 100%. Silica can also accelerate the growth in calves and plays a vital role in weight gain in cows. Tests comparing weight gain in animals using silica as a regular component of feed have generally followed two testing patterns:
- Animals fed with silica and a 10% to 25% reduced feed ration experience similar weight gain to the control group.
- Animals fed with silica and the same amount of feed as the control group experience superior weight gain.
Diatomaceous Earth can stimulate the metabolism, including the metabolism of minerals, increases protein digestion and increases the amount of feed exposed to the digestive processes thereby increasing the amount of feed utilized by the animal.
- Controls internal parasites
Diatomaceous Earth’s method of parasite control is strictly mechanical and as a result the parasites cannot adapt, develop resistance or become immune. The microscopic edges of the diatoms pierce the outer structure of the parasite which then dies and passes harmlessly through the digestive system.
Clinical testing has shown that high quality, food grade diatomaceous earth will rid even the largest of animals, such as cattle, of internal parasites and will continue to control both adult and egg forms for as long as a silica product is part of their feed regime. Silica products do not control heart or lung worm.
- Improves weight gain and feed conversion
Tests comparing the weight gain in animals with and without silica feed supplement have generally followed two testing patterns:
- Animals fed with silica feed supplement but with less feed than the control group. These tests invariably find that both sets of animals experience similar daily weight gain. Use of a silica feed supplement allows for a reduction in fodder application of 10 to 25%.
- Animals fed with silica feed supplement and the same amount of feed as the control group. These tests invariably find that the animals fed silica supplement experience superior weight gain.
As a feed supplement, food grade diatomaceous earth stimulates the basic metabolism, including the metabolism of minerals, and increases protein digestion. Diatomaceous earth as a feed supplement also act as an anti-caking agent which prevents clumping of feed particles and increases the surface area of feed exposed to the bacterial and enzymatic digestive processes thereby increasing the amount of feed actually digested and utilised.
- Controls flies
Food grade diatomaceous earth fed to animals passes through the digestive system and is present in the animal’s stool. This has a two-way direct impact on controlling flies and other insects:
- Flies that land on the stool will be affected in much the same way as internal parasites. The diatoms present in the stool will pierce the outer layer of the fly/insect which will result in its death.
- If a fly lands on the animal’s stool and lays eggs, the diatomaceous earth in the stool will pierce the outer layer of the larvae which will result in its death
- Increase in production
Animals that are farmed for production such as milk and eggs will experience increased production rates due to optimized silica levels, having a healthier animal with less toxins, digestion inhibitions and parasites. As an example research indicates that milk production will increase by up to 20% after approximately 6 months and chickens will experience not only 75% less deaths but a 2 to 4 (8000 caged layers) case per day increase in egg production after approximately 3 months.
- No withholding period
Animals that are subject to chemical control of parasites must go through a withholding period before the sale and/or transportation of the animals can take place. Animals that are fed diatomaceous earth (natural silica) will have had no withholding requirements as parasite control is accomplished chemically free, with a 100% organic product.
- Controls Odour
When used as an animal feed supplement food grade diatomaceous Earth will control manure odor in two ways:
- The diatomaceous earth will pass through the entire digestive system of the animal and will be present in the animal’s stool which will control odor.
- Diatomaceous earth can be spread in areas where manure collects to control odor.
- External Parasite Control
Diatomaceous earth can be used to effectively control external parasites common to livestock by simply rubbing the product onto the length of the animal and applying it to the floor and/or ground which the animal sits or sleeps. For cattle with tick problems natural silica can be used effectively.
- Internal Parasite control
Although perfectly harmless to humans and animals diatomaceous earth contains sharp microscopic edges which upon contact with parasites/worms in the digestive tract, cut the parasite which then dies and passes harmlessly through the digestive system. Because control is accomplished through a mechanical means the parasites cannot develop resistance or immunity. (Heart worm and lung worm are not controlled).
What should I look for in a natural silica feed supplement?
Not all silica feed supplements are of equal value – like any other product some are high quality, others are low quality and some may have a negative impact. As silica is the most important ingredient a high level of silica can indicate a higher quality product. However, four important factors need to be taken into consideration:
- A high level of silica does not automatically mean that the silica is good for animals. Silica must be what is generally referred to as “Food Grade” and/or “Codex Grade” to be of benefit to animals.
- Feed supplements need to be made from amorphous silica if it is to have a beneficial effect. Non-amorphous or crystallized silica can be harmful and will provide no benefits to the animal, and should not be used.
- A high level of amorphous food grade silica is no guarantee that contaminants, which can have a negative or even harmful effect on animals, are not present in the product.
- In general, any coloration other than white, indicates a lower quality product and the presence of contaminants, and should not be used with animals..