In recent controlled trials (Endicott-Davies 2010) chickens were fed Diatomaceous Earth (DE) to test the effects on external parasites, live weight and overall health and well-being of meat chickens. When assessed against a control group, chickens fed DE were noticeably larger, healthier and free of parasites. While the pens of the control group had lice in and around the sleeping areas, and lice was present on the chickens, the chickens that were fed DE were parasite free as were their pens. The smell emitted from the droppings was significantly lower than that of the control pens.
The results also showed that the average feed consumption for the pen containing the DE chickens was significantly higher, on a consistent basis, than that of the controlled pen. DE chickens had an increased amount of meat; the legs, breasts and overall size of the DE chickens were significantly higher than that of the controlled pen.
It is recommended that Diatomaceous Earth should comprise 15% of the feed given to chickens for the DE to work efficiently. This amount of DE will in turn reduce the amount of commercial feed used. Consumers will achieve significantly improved production and save on feed costs at the same time. This ratio of DE to feed (15:85) will kill any worms that are present in the stomach of the birds as will reduce the smell emitted by droppings. The absence of any internal parasites as well as the improved overall health and well-being of the birds can lead to measurable weight increases, as the trials demonstrated.