Saturday, November 26, 2011

Three Little Piggies...improve

A few days ago I blogged about the three little failure to thrive piglets. We moved them out of the big group into a separate and roomy barn stall and a few days after that, moved them again into a calf hutch with a small outdoor space.

 The calf hutch is cosier than the big barn stall with minimal drafts even though the south end of the hutch is open. The heavy polyvinyl walls keep warm air in (via southern sun in the afternoon)  and cold air down to a minimum. Coupled with a very thick layer of straw bedding with lots of room to roam, dig, and play; we've seen great improvement in piggies number 1 and 2 and slow improvement in the 3rd piggie. They are fun to watch as they have become quite attached to each other and now to us with all the extra attention. They sleep all lined up side by side, buried so deep in their straw we can only see noses. Very cute.

Today, I ordered diatomaceous earth (DE)  and we will feed it in combination with the garlic powder, organic grain, organic raw milk, hay and grass cuttings.

In answer to several comments on my last blog about these three, we do agree parasite infection is the key culprit which is the reason for initiating the DE. This product was new to me so had to do some research. Often folks will believe because we are certified organic, we can't "do anything" when we have a sick animal.  By "anything" they are referring to antibiotics or in this case an antihelminic. They are unaware that there are other approved methods but it takes time to find them. Not only do I have to discover the best method I have to ensure it is certified organic and then I have to contact our certifying agency MOSA to ensure THEY approve the product and its supplier.

Its not just a matter of picking up any old product off the shelves at Farm and Fleet.

DE is rarely the first assault of a farmer or a vet because its takes some time to see results, and conventional  farmers rarely want to take the time to treat naturally. This explains why, if you ever tour a very large conventional dairy or hog farm and you get brave and look around the BACK of the animal barns, you will see large piles of dead animals. It's more cost effective (when you have a "farm" with 5000 animals) to not treat sick animals and just let them die, then hire the Dead Animal truck to remove them routinely.

But, illness does happen , even on organic farms and I would rather include our visitors in its treatment then pretend we have no challenges. We do, but with each generation we learn more and our animals are healthier, their DNA more valuable for future generations. Now back to the Diatomaceous Earth.

Its not "earth" per see but rather the skeletal remains of fossilized marine algae specifically the one-celled Diatoms. (I am SO going to memorize that last sentence so I can throw it around at the next cocktail party I am asked to attend. I think you should as well.)

It works by  physical not chemical action as the razor-sharp  remains  punctures the insects exoskeleton and then absorbs the moisture in their bodies causing death by dehydration.  In addition DE is also made up of  trace minerals also sharp enough to cut through an insects waxy shell. Is that not so cool or what? Well I think it is very cool because from what I've read it can be taken by humans, household pets and livestock without harm. Of course check with your doctor before you start substituting algae remains for sugar on your cereal, OK? This post is about LIVESTOCK health.

Seems DE is effective against a huge range of household and garden pests and  internal parasites including but not limited to:

ants, bag worms, bed bugs, box elder bugs, carpet beetles,
caterpillars, centipedes, cockroaches, Colorado potato beetles,
crickets, cucumber beetles earwigs ,fleas, fluke flies, lung worms, millipedes, mites scorpions, nematodes, pin worms, roundworms,silver fish, slugs, snails, spiders, stink bugs, squash vine borers,tapeworms, termites , and ticks.

So, I am excited about this DE delivery and its expected results. If you have used DE in your livestock or with your pets (yourself?) please leave a comment. No need to send photos. Only I am allowed to post gross pics on this blog.


  1. I have never heard of so many uses for DE! I kinda knew of its origins, but not of its diversity. Thanks.

    Glad the pigs are better. They look good. As far as gross, believe me, I have seen much worse.

  2. We use the DE for our annual infestation of ants.

  3. I put it down on our carpets for ants, fleas, anything that shouldn't be in my house, ect. Great product!