Natural Cat Worming

We have been busy here as usual and are throwing ourselves into gardening. Dane has done a great job fencing off the front yard so we now have a fantastic chicken free zone and I (hopefully) no longer have to fight the chooks for my seedlings or wipe the chook poo out of 11 month old Banjos mouth!

While I am sitting with a sick sleeping bub on my knee I can hear chicks cheeping in the incubator (photos later when I’m free) and it will be up to me and Miss Nyah to care for them while Dane takes on a new work opportunity.

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With all our animals and ourselves we prefer to use natural health care where possible we use garlic and onion to prevent worms in our chooks and I have started brewing my own Apple cider vinegar whenever we have scraps.In my search for alternatives recently discovered the use of Diatomaceous Earth for worming cats. Now cat worming is my most hated chore – forcing a tablet upon something with claws is not my idea of a good time so you can imagine my excitement when I stumbled upon this alternative.

We buy our Diatomaceous Earth from the feed barn but the brand is Poultry Planet and we use two tablespoons to 1kg of dry food pop it in the box tape it back up and shake every feed. It’s that easy and it constantly worms them. We will still use a tablet twice a year as they get a lot of rabbits and mice here but I’m much more comfortable with this.

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What is diatomaceous earth?

Diatomaceous earth is made from the fossilized remains of tiny, aquatic organisms called diatoms. Their skeletons are made of a natural substance called silica. Over a long period of time, diatoms accumulated in the sediment of rivers, streams, lakes, and oceans. Today, silica deposits are mined from these areas.

Silica is very common in nature and makes up 26% of the earth’s crust by weight. Various forms of silica include sand, emerald, quartz, feldspar, mica, clay, asbestos, and glass. Silicon, a component of silica, does not exist naturally in its pure form. It usually reacts with oxygen and water to form silicon dioxide. Silicon dioxide has two naturally occurring forms: crystalline and amorphous. Most diatomaceous earth is made of amorphous silicon dioxide. However, it can contain very low levels of crystalline silicon dioxide. The first pesticide products containing silicon dioxide (diatomaceous earth) were registered in 1960 to kill insects and mites.

How does diatomaceous earth work?

Diatomaceous earth is not poisonous; it does not have to be eaten in order to be effective. Diatomaceous earth causes insects to dry out and die by absorbing the oils and fats from the cuticle of the insect’s exoskeleton. Its sharp edges are abrasive, speeding up the process. It remains effective as long as it is kept dry and undisturbed.

Other uses for Diatomaceous Earth ?

Pest Control

Looking for a solution to aphids, caterpillars and beetles? Try sprinkling a bit of diatomaceous earth on the soil around your plants. The diatomaceous earth dehydrates insects by sucking up the lipids from their exoskeletons – kind of gross – and kills them.

You can also use it for dealing with insects inside the home, like cockroaches, silverfish and fleas by placing powder near doorways and under furniture. Be sure to add another coat after mopping, or after a rain if you put any outside.

The most effective diatomaceaous earth for pest control is uncalcinated earth, which means it wasn’t heated before packaging.

Absorbent

Because diatomaceous earth can soak up 1.1 times its body weight in water, it’s great for cleaning up spills – especially toxic chemical spills (which are rare in the home environment). It also soaks up oil, so if you spilled olive oil or any other type of cooking oil, putting some diatomaceous earth on it will make it much easier to clean.

If you have a cat, putting diatomaceous earth in the litter box is an effective way of absorbing smells and moisture. Using our recipe for home made kitty litter, you can replace the baking soda with diatomaceous earth, which will make for a coarser kitty litter.

Facial Mask

Diatomaceous earth’s absorbant qualities also work well in facial masks, especially since it gets rid of excess oils. It also works as an exfoliant. Mix 2-3 tablespoons of diatomaceous earth with some water and add a couple of drops of your favorite essential oil until you get a nice thick paste and there you have it! Alternatively, you could mix the earth with honey, rose water or milk. There are some great recipes out there, including some suggestions from Carolina Finds.

But be careful not to use it too often – you don’t want to dry your face out too much! You should also avoid scrubbing too hard with it – it can be abrasive.

In the garden

Since diatomaceous earth is so good at killing bugs, it can be used for preserving food. You can put it on unearthed potatoes that you’re saving for winter and it kill any insects that may be thinking to feast. The good news is that ingesting diatomaceous earth is not harmful to humans, so on its own, this is a pesticide we can stand behind. Be careful, though. The safe kind is called food grade diatomaceous earth, but you want to avoid the kind that has been used in pool filters (industrial grade). There could be chemicals added to it.

There are many other great uses for this great product if you’d like to explore it further it’s even a ingredient in toothpaste!

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