NATURAL PARASITE CONTROL! IS IT POSSIBLE?
There have been many discussions on ways to control parasites in our alpacas.
Our Vets have medicine that we can use to deworm but my concern has always been how long will that work before they become immune to it and then we have more problems.
So In my research in the last 20 years of a natural parasite control for dogs, cats, and horses I found that Diatomaceous Earth had some possibilities. So here is what I found out.
WHAT IS DE?
Millions of years ago, in all the waters of the earth, billions of microscopic one-celled plants, called diatoms, took the minerals from the waters and created a protective shell for themselves. The fossilized skeletal remains of these diatoms accumulated in layers on lake and sea floors forming deposits of what we know today as diatomaceous earth. Alias names include diatomite, silicon dioxide, Kieselgur (Europe), Fuller’s earth, fossil shell flour, or simply DE.
DE deposits have been mined for centuries and used in hundreds of industrial and agricultural applications. There are two primary types of diatomaceous earth deposits –saltwater and fresh water. DE’s are also divided into grades: commercial, feed-grade and food grade like in your toothpaste.
Importantly, diatomaceous earths vary greatly in something called “free crystalline silica” (FCS). Common DE’s contain 8-25% FCS while pool-filter grade has a whopping 55%. Therefore, it is vital that only feed-grade or food grade DE (one low in FCS) be used around or offered to animals and humans.
Saltwater DE is commercially processed primarily as a filter aid. Beer, wine, fruit juices, and vegetable oils are filtered through the diatoms’ multitude of pores, acting as microscopic sieves. Swimming pool and fish tank filters utilize this commercial type material. Saltwater DE has high crystalline silica content from a process called calcining (being exposed to high degrees of heat). It is not appropriate, in fact very dangerous, to use an ingestible application of Saltwater DE in grain storage or as an animal feed additive.
Freshwater DE is mined from ancient lakebeds and ideal for agricultural uses with it’s less than 1% FCS. Documented use of diatomite by the Chinese for pest control dates back almost 4,000 years. Due to its ability to kill insects, DE has been used in grain storage for centuries. As awareness and concern about chemical pesticides grow, non-toxic, natural diatomaceous earth is enjoying renewed attention and interest. Numerous farmers, ranchers and Amish tout DE as a natural anthelmintic (de-wormer), finding great success adding DE to their livestock feed to keep their goats, sheep, cattle, horses, pigs, llamas, alpacas, and fowl healthy and parasite clean without the use of chemical drugs.
Diatomaceous Earth (DE) is approved by the FDA as a feed additive (up to 2% as an anti-caking agent).
I prefer to use a diatomaceous earth and montmorillonite clay blend.
Montmorillonite is a very soft phyllosilicate group of minerals that typically form in microscopic crystals, forming clay. It is named after Montmorillon in France. It is the main constituent of the volcanic ash weathering product, bentonite.
For internal use, montmorillonite is effective in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome. It is also used for the prevention of aflatoxicosis,( these are toxins that result in poisoning from contaminated food or feed) and in the treatment of constipation. Also, a modified version inhibits intestinal absorption of cholesterol (nanotechnology research), and absorbs uric acid. It is used in agriculture to improve growth performance of piglets and fish. It ameliorates hyperthyroidism of rats and mice. It is proven to be effective in use as an absorptive of heavy metals, toxins, and hazardous chemicals. Antibacterial effects of montmorillonite are well demonstrated.
Montmorillonite is widely used in medicine and pharmacology for a variety of applications as well as in the production of pharmaceuticals.
Due to the nature of alpacas and the meningeal worm in our area I decided to purchase and sell this blend and use it on a daily basis. I have been doing this for going on 3 years now. I do not use any medicine on my farm unless necessary so this is how I deworm my alpacas.
HOW DOES DE WORK?
The Diatomaceous Earth and Montmorillonite clay granular blends mode of action for insect and parasite control is strictly mechanical. The microscopically sharp edges contact the insect or parasite piercing their protective coating, causing them to dehydrate and die. Fly and other larvae are affected in the same way. The clay then helps remove the parasite and help heal internal tissue. DE is an excellent and totally natural control, with no indications of damage to internal tissue.
The powder form purchased at your feed store can be used as a dusting for fleas, lice and other external pests by rubbing into the coat of the animal or on our farm we put a patch in the pasture where they can roll in it. We call the alpacas and tell them it is beauty dust time and when they see us putting it down they run and all begin rolling. It also helps keep their fiber clean as well. When using the granular food grade DE, the internal & external parasite and insect pest control will result in improvement in health, appearance and behavior, as well as better assimilation of feed and lowered health care cost.
So instead of chemicals and waiting to see signs of parasitic infection I use my granular DE daily in their feed.
HOW TO USE!
We simply top dress or mix 1 teaspoon of our granular DE to each alpaca’s grain ration once a day. The package contains a scoop that is equal to one tablespoon (1 tablespoon = 3 teaspoons). Sometimes we place our own teaspoon in the bag to make measuring easier. The bag will give 3 alpacas 180 servings.
During heavy infestations of parasites we may feed up to one tablespoon for short periods of time. I especially do this in spring and fall.
Food grade DE should not exceed (by the FDA) more than 2% of gross weight of feed. Our daily program is within this recommendation. Our DE is an Organic material approved by OMRI and is a registered approved feed additive by the Dept. of Agriculture.
Frequent fecal testing is recommended to validate your herd management program. When animals are weak or sick, always consult a veterinarian.
Other warm-blooded animals, from goats to dogs, may be fed food grade DE.
Feel free to contact me or email me with questions. firstname.lastname@example.org
330-868-4988. See my website for more info www.alpacaspringvalley.com
These girls have been born and grown on the natural formulas on our farm.