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diatomaceous earth

 
master steward
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Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
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Tracie Germain wrote:Does DE work for scorpions, since they have an exoskeleton?



Awesome question. I suspect that it works great on scorpions, but I have not heard of anybody trying it.

 
paul wheaton
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Rachel Morton wrote: Any info on DE causing issues with electrical areas? The ants have a wonderful nest right next to one of our outlets. We've cleaned out two nests over the past three years in the same area. Would be great if I could have DE blown in to keep them out.



I would think that DE is non-conductive and, therefore, safe around electric stuff. At the same time, it is a dessicant, so it absorbs water, which is famous for conducting electricity. I think I would play it safe and keep the DE out of electrical stuff.





 
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Location: Branson West, Missouri
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OK, I'm am going to try it and let you know. I have a teribble scorpion problem in and around my house
 
paul wheaton
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Tracie Germain wrote:OK, I'm am going to try it and let you know. I have a teribble scorpion problem in and around my house



Post lots of pics!

And don't skimp on the DE!
 
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Location: NW Oregon (Zone 8)
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paul wheaton wrote:

Rachel Morton wrote: Any info on DE causing issues with electrical areas? The ants have a wonderful nest right next to one of our outlets. We've cleaned out two nests over the past three years in the same area. Would be great if I could have DE blown in to keep them out.



I would think that DE is non-conductive and, therefore, safe around electric stuff. At the same time, it is a dessicant, so it absorbs water, which is famous for conducting electricity. I think I would play it safe and keep the DE out of electrical stuff.







Thats what I figured. I do know they HATE menthol rub and I will rub a bit of that around the outside edge of the fixtures, windows and any cracks I see them coming through. It will get them to leave those areas alone...
 
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Location: Pennsylvania
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This is a bit off subject but, I take a table spoon daily and it helps with joint pain.
kent
 
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paul wheaton wrote:

Rachel Morton wrote: Any info on DE causing issues with electrical areas? The ants have a wonderful nest right next to one of our outlets. We've cleaned out two nests over the past three years in the same area. Would be great if I could have DE blown in to keep them out.



I would think that DE is non-conductive and, therefore, safe around electric stuff. At the same time, it is a dessicant, so it absorbs water, which is famous for conducting electricity. I think I would play it safe and keep the DE out of electrical stuff.







Keep your electrical clean and free of dirt and dust. I have an electrical and electronics background. Insects love electrical circuits and equipment. It has something to do with their bodies. Anyway this is a case for a pesticide or sealed boxes. Warning. Most pesticides are flammable wet, some are in a dry form. However. They have to crawl into it by a path, so destroy the path. Or the place they are coming from. Ants have nests, true, but they have large spread out cities. Your plug is probably a small mall and bar strip, lol. In the wall and surrounding space. Maybe fill with foam? Lots on YouTube about this subject.

Water in its pure form is a poor conductor. It is the minerals and salt in water that conducts. DE can conduct if it is high in minerals and that depends on the source. Best to play it safe. The wall space and area around the plug should be safe to power. Boric acid mixed with the DE should do well. Electricity is science. Not magic. It is always better to be safe than sorry. Might be time for a wire and plug upgrade.



Good Luck.
 
Posts: 1
Location: Virginia
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Ok, I am very new here, but am excited to see a lot of topics I am interested. To Paul, I read your article on DE and using it to treat for fleas. I absolutely loved what you wrote and the information you included. Now, I only have a gazillion questions! My biggest question is, how can you tell it's working? Ha. I have carpet and have been spreading it around and letting it sit overnight and then vacuuming frequently, but it seems like I'm just moving them around from room to room. I will dust a room, then go on to the next and they're all over me. I dust that room and go back and then they're all over me again, back in the room I started in. Even after waiting and vacuuming, they just move from one room to the next. I've been bathing my cat (who is an indoor cat, by the way. How we got them, no idea.) and killing tons of them on her, but then she roams around and I'm assuming I didn't get them all or the ones in the carpet are jumping back onto her. Maybe I'm not doing it right? Any sort of advice would be fantastic and greatly appreciated!!
 
paul wheaton
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For fleas, I think the best way to tell that your efforts are working is with the home made flea trap. You start off seeing lots. And after a week, you are seeing much less. At five weeks you should see zero every day.
 
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Dianimaldts McCoy wrote: 3) Fire Ants ALL OVER my 3 1/2 acres;



how about making a habitat for horned lizards? they can eat over a 100 fir ants a day at maturity and love them because they contain a needed acid in the lizards diet:)
 
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Susan Monroe wrote:"store employee warned me against diatom. earth because I have chickens.  He said that it cuts their gizzard."

Just when you think you've heard every stupid remark possible from store employees, someone always comes up with a new one.

If you are using food-grade DE (the only kind you should use), you can eat it yourself.  You can feed it to your kids, dogs and livestock.  It is as fine as flour.

There is NO WAY this stuff is going to damage a chicken's crop!  My birds eat it whenever they happen to run across it, and they're six years old.  If this stuff is injuring their crops, it sure does work slow!

Sue

I have kept chickens for 6 years, have used DA right from the very beginning, liberally sprinkled all over the chicken house never had red mite problem, never had louse or mite problems and still have 2 of my original chooks 6 years on! Can't be that bad for them!

 
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paul wheaton wrote:A series of recent bits and bobs compelled my to write an article about diatomaceous earth.

Did I leave anything out?



The Silica that we get in our diets comes mostly from Whole grains and vegetables...You touched upon this botanical defense the plant employs against bugs, by enveloping their seeds with a silica dense coating. There is also high amounts of silica in leafy greens to help strengthen the fibers. We evolved to use this source of silica. The silica we ingest helps to make the bone matrix strong and less brittle. Winston Price documented the healthy bones and teeth of aboriginal peoples who get abundant Whole foods (silica). Consuming Whole grains rich in silica helps prevent Osteoarthritis. The silica helps the Calcium deposit along the shaft of the bone rather than at the ends of bones (which manifests as crippling-bony nodules). I suspect we need both, raw diatomaceous earth and larger amounts of the silica sourced from plants....which of course is D.E. repackaged and rendered more bioavailable by our green friends.
 
pollinator
Posts: 371
Location: East Central GA, Ultisol, Zone 8, Humid
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Plants use silica to strengthen/harden woody parts. I think it's a micronutrient for humans but I don't know what it does for us.

I don't think you mentioned DE's properties as a soil amendment in your article. It holds air, water, and nutrients, provides silica to plants, and filters ground water. If you use it on animal bedding to control pests, then sweep it up into the compost pile, you'll get lots of it already, but you can also use it directly on highly intensive areas like vegetable gardens and hugelkultur to boost productivity and root health (roots like air). People often use DE by itself as a planting medium for bonsai.

Also, if there are micronutrients in DE then you couldn't extract them by eating it. Human beings have not evolved to get nutrition from rocks, but plants have.
 
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paul wheaton wrote:A series of recent bits and bobs compelled my to write an article about diatomaceous earth.

Did I leave anything out?



Thanks for that info - it's very useful.
You say: "Don't mess with the pool grade stuff. Food grade diatomaceous earth will contain less than 1% crystalline silica."

If food grade DE has 1% crystalline silica, what is the remaining 99% of the content? Other minerals? Which ones?



 
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I visited Santa Cruz Island off the shore of California last month. The area of the island we were in has many outcrops of diatomaceous earth and I thought it would be of interest to the Permies community to see DE in its natural form. So here is a picture I took.
Diatomaceous.JPG
[Thumbnail for Diatomaceous.JPG]
Diatomaceous Earth on Santa Cruz Island
 
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I bought ten lbs of DE and combed a couple of table spoons into my dogs fur. It had no visible effect on the number of fleas. They were all alive and kicking a day later. The only effective treatment so far seems to be a flea comb.

I would be more enthusiastic about putting this stuff on my carpet if I could see that it killed fleas. This was food grade DE purchased from the link on this web site's article on DE.

GN
 
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I am very open to the idea of using the food grade DE to rid my cat of his fleas. I do not want to use chemicals on him. I was curious about a big package of the food grade DE that I saw at a local pet supply store. It had a picture of a cluster of both pets and farm animals and also listed those animals in words. I could not help but notice both picture and words did not say "cats". Is DE somehow harmful to them, but not other animals?

Also, I am confused about the benefits of eating the food grade DE if getting it wet renders it useless. (It was mentioned in the article that people mix it with juice.) Please clarify all of the above. Thanks!
 
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I don't know if It was posted in the thread or Paul's article but if your soil is lacking in silica, DE takes between 6 months and a year to start breaking down, and lasts for a few years.
http://www.groworganic.com/diatomaceous-earth-50-lb-bag.html sorry for the link being to a shop stuff, but it was the 1st place I saw even a slight nutrient profile for DE.
 
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Matthew Oakes wrote:
Also, I am confused about the benefits of eating the food grade DE if getting it wet renders it useless. (It was mentioned in the article that people mix it with juice.) Please clarify all of the above. Thanks!



I have heard that same myth/rumor for quite some time and I don't understand it either...DE is pre-historic fossil shells, microscopic in size, that have razor-sharp edges. It punctures the exoskeleton of fleas, roachs, ticks, etc. and parasites it is also negative in its electrical charge, whereas we are positive, as are all other warm-blooded creatures, maybe that's a key. I equate it to the same as if oyster shells or any other shells, glass, rock are broken up, it's still sharp, it's completely mechanical. Wetting may cause it to be less freeflowing, because it is so finely grained, but I can't see it changing its' physical properties to much. The 'honeycomb' characteristic is very good at 'collecting & sweeping' out pathogens, cholesterol, etc. from the body. It doesn't harm my vermicompost worms, but it will take out the mites that will show up when it's too wet. I and my partner have taken it internally for a coupla years, all good. The exception being, it will remind you if you don't drink enough water, with some constipation, that and being careful to not inhale it or get into your eyes, are the only dangers we've found.

With cats, as many tend to groom often, is not to use too much, as it could throw off the recommended 2% to feed ratio.

To me, it's a great resource and tool for man & homestead...
 
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We have a little bit of a stink bug problem in my area. I live in a house surrounded by Evergreen trees. I probably have had about 2 dozen stink bugs in my house this fall. I just had someone caulk inside and out as well as put screens in the vents, etc. Someone introduced me to diamatious earth and I bought a large box. I read on your site that the DE has to remain dry to be effective in killing bugs. Do you have any idea of what I could do to keep it dry yet have it outside surrounding my house? I was thinking about some kind of tubing. Your help is much appreciated. Thanks.
 
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Location: NSW, Australia
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Hi everyone, I have just been led to you by my partner and am thrilled with what I am finding.

Questions regarding DE:
1: As DE is an excellent solution to internal parasites, how does it then affect dung beetles on its expulsion from our cows? Could it be that by the time it has gone through the digestive system of cattle it has become too moist to be a dung beetle killer? I have asked the dung beetle expert in Australia who was going to ask the CSIRO (Aus. Federal gov't scientific org.), but I have never had an answer. Your input on this would be appreciated.

2: If we all use DE all the time because it is so wonderful, are we not depleting a natural resource in the same way as any other mining? Is it not a finite resource?

Cheers from Oz
 
Posts: 39
Location: Zone 6 Ohio but interested in Zone 6 Southwest
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If you want to know what studies have been done that may not be easily found on the internet, look up on PubMed. There are alot relating to or referring to DE.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=diatemaciuos%20earth

This will bring up research from all around the world. Some of it is in process or on going and some of it is presented as a finding at the end of a study but it usually will surprise you what you can find.

I learned about it years ago researching Tea Tree Oil and other natural treatments to control Antibiotic resistant strains of Staph bacteria.
 
J Clark
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Location: NSW, Australia
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Thank you Helen. I searched PubMed and could find nothing that directly related to the effect on dung beetles by DE-treated cattle. It is possibly unknown scientifically at the moment?

My question still stands: Does dosing cattle with DE mean the death of dung beetles?

Can anyone out there help?
 
Helen Gilson
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Maybe try to search for the latin name of the beetle? Then you would find all the research and possibly what has worked, if not DE.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=dung%20beetle

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=Coleoptera

You would be wading through alot of material, as beetles are a popular study!
 
Helen Gilson
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They allow advanced searches:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=(Dung%20beetle)%20AND%20(diatemacious%20earth)

 
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g noland wrote:I bought ten lbs of DE and combed a couple of table spoons into my dogs fur. It had no visible effect on the number of fleas. They were all alive and kicking a day later. The only effective treatment so far seems to be a flea comb.

I would be more enthusiastic about putting this stuff on my carpet if I could see that it killed fleas. This was food grade DE purchased from the link on this web site's article on DE.

GN



It is not going to kill them in one day and you have to keep putting it on to kill any new ones. I cannot say enough good things about this stuff.
 
Jackie Lowe
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I cannot say enough good things about DE. There are tons of websites out there with so much information. I started taking it the first of Dec after a long bout with some creeing crud and all the crap the doctors were giving me did not work. Now I feel great, my cats and dogs get it and their coats are slick, shiny and beautiful. I have just started giving it to three of my thirteen horses and will be keeping track of them closely. One website I really like is Natures' Wisdom and another is Earthworks. I put it in the horses water tanks as it kills the algae so it does still work after getting wet as it does not dissolve as others have said. If it did, how work it work on insides. I hope everyone checks out all the websites available that have tons of info. As far as fleas are concerned, if you put it on your dogs and carpet (not good for vacuums) you still have to put it outside, otherwise the dogs/cats will just keep bringing them back in. It is great in stalls and kills fly larvae in horse poo after they pass it. I could go on and on the benefits of this stuff. It also makes chicken eggs shell harder. Has other very beneficial minerals also. Good luck everyone.
 
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I tried DE on my cats when we were having a hard job getting rid of fleas. While we were at it, we did a little experiment...

A few hours after we had covered the cats with DE, we used a head lice comb to comb out as many fleas as possible. We were very surprised at how many we got, but what was amazing was that they were still alive, but they seemed to be severely inhibited from jumping and moving as fast as they normally would. We were able to collect quite a few and put them into a glass jar to watch what would happen to them. Just to make it a little more interesting we caught two house flies and put them in the jar also.

So what happened?

- About 11 am we covered the cats in DE
- About 3pm we combed the cats fur and collected the fleas in the jar
- by then fleas didnt jump much but were still moving around
- in the evening there were dead fleas
- by next morning, more dead fleas and the flies were no longer flying. (please note we didn't put any DE on the flies, they were just exposed to whatever was on the bits of fur that ended up in the jar from the cats when we combed them)
- by the evening one of the flies was dead
- next morning all the fleas were dead but also they had left sticky blood like liquids in the bottom of the jar, it looked like as they were dying they leaked their body fluids out. So the idea that the diatoms cut up the bugs exoskeletons and causes them to dry up/leak seems to be bang on.
Check out the results in the pic!



Conclusion...
DE worked for us, and we have no hesitation in using it again, and now we are trying to figure out how we can get it on houseflies to kill them too. Anyone with interesting ideas on how to do that, we would love to hear about it!
 
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This stuff sounds great would like to use it as wormer for my cat's dog & ponies. Only worry I have is with 1 cat who has asthma & 1 of the ponies can only have haylage he coughs like an old smoker with hay & straw. wonder if it would work mashed well in cat & dog food & mixed in the water bucket for ponies?
 
Jackie Lowe
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I feed it to my horses, dogs, cats and myself. I mix it in with the horses grain and add a small amount of water and stir up with a big spoon. For cats, I put it in the cat food can where I store it. Since there is so much oil/fat in the foods it just sticks and does not appear to cause any dust. I had a filly that was coughing and since on DE she does not cough anymore. When you give it to your animals it is expelled through their feces and kills any flies/maggots, etc. reducing the fly population. You can mix it up in a pump or back sprayer and put it everywhere. Sprinkle on your garden and slugs, etc. will be gone. Just do not spray on your plants as will kill bees and ladybugs, etc. It will not hurt earthworms unless you till it into your soil so do not recommend that. Before I move going to spray it around all my baseboards and use in the barn liberally. Love the stuff.
 
waylon shannon
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Location: wales
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Thanks Jackie, i'll have to try it in horses water as they don't have grain only grass & haylage theyr'e not worked only used as lawn mowers & muck provider's!
 
Jackie Lowe
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You are welcome. You can put it in their water barrels and keeps the algae down also. My 13 horses are pasture ornaments and baby boomers, four due in the spring, three in the fall. And yes lawn mowers and fertilizers. My neighbors chickens come over and help with the bugs and it is good for them also, makes the egg shells harder and then love dusting in the pine chips so certain they are bug free also. You can feed it in a feed bucket out of the wind, yet I have not figured out when they are eating it and breathing in the bucket at the same time they do not inhale it. I have not tried that. What I like is you cannot OD them on it like other things. Some does get in the blood stream yet not certain it kills heart worms. I sent a message to one of the websites and have not heard back yet.
 
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I use DE to keep bugs out of grain that is stored. It works. I sometimes feed it to my chickens, food grade of course. I like it.
 
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Location: Oroville, WA
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Earlier some people were discussing DE and its effect when wet. We have been working with Perma Guard, DE miners and manufacturers, for several years and have learned a few tips from them.
If you mix DE is water it actually expands, not sure if it is more of less sharp but it does expand, increasing the surface area for that wonderful "sweeping away of bad things" that it does. If you mix DE with oil or oil-based products it actually softens the edges, much like putting an emollient or oily substance, on dry skin.
We learned this while prepping to plant garlic. We grow about 2.5 tons a year and we dip it all in water and then in DE before we plant. It does wonders for repelling wireworm and mites, two of the pests we have had some trouble with in the past.
 
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Location: South Africa
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Hi everyone, I am so happy to see that some of you out there are using DE. I live in South Africa where the stuff is mined - looks like grey cement powder here. Supposedly not for human consumption but I have been using it for years and it lowers blood pressure and keeps the system clean. I use it in the chickens, rabbits, horses, goats, cats and dog food. It is mainly used here by animal farmers = sheep, cattle etc. = no more deworming necessary and apparently it enhances the quality of the milk.

As my horses are kept naturally, that is on grazing all year, no pampering, grooming etc. I had a problem with ticks and fleas during our hot summers. Besides having to de-worm regularly. After I started them on DE their coats shine like morrors, no more worms, very few ticks and no fleas plus I noticed that when other horses were covered in flies mine were not. This is because by giving them (1/2 cup per day in the feed) DE internally they no longer have worms in the feaces = no flies!!

I never give my chickens calcium grit or other supplements. They only get DE in the feed. They have minimal problems with fleas, lice and the eggshells are hard.

Rub it into dog's coats for fleas but be warned that is is VERY drying to the skin. I put it on their bedding and also use it as a carpet powder regularly. Leave it to tread in for a few days and then vacuum and we are flea free.

Yes it does work for ants but there is more......

It is fantastic against slugs and snails in the veggie garden. I have not noticed it becoming inefficient when wet. I sprinkle it straight into the lettuce, cabbage etc heads and put a nice thick edge around my seedlings. Snails do not cross. Besides if you do ingest it it will do no harm, in retrospect it is good for you. Strong hair, nails and I noticed a better memory. Remember that our bodies are created from silica and when we get older this becomes less eficient so use DE - it is silica and you will enhance your memory.

I also use it in food storage bins. 1 cup in a 20kg bucket of wheat or whatever else needs protecting. Put some into your legume storage. Just wash it off before cooking.

I call it a Magic dust because it is.
 
gardener
Posts: 1948
Location: PNW Oregon
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DE - The typical composition of oven-dried diatomaceous earth is 80 to 90% silica, with 2 to 4% alumina (attributed mostly to clay minerals) and 0.5 to 2% iron oxide.

It is good for you, as you say Angora How do you ingest it?
 
Angora van Doorn
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Location: South Africa
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DE is tasteless but because ours is grey it looks unappetizing. I mix it with some yogurt or in 1/4 cup fruit juice. The pets I simply sprinkle it on the food and mix in, chickens, goats etc get mixed with feed. I do not mix it in their water.
 
Ollie Puddlemaker
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Angora van Doorn wrote:DE is tasteless but because ours is grey it looks unappetizing. I mix it with some yogurt or in 1/4 cup fruit juice. The pets I simply sprinkle it on the food and mix in, chickens, goats etc get mixed with feed. I do not mix it in their water.



Yes, true it doesn't really have a taste, maybe a little chalky, but there is a bit of texture to it that some people may mind. It does not dissolve, either, so mixing it in water or a thin juice, makes it just clump up, stick to the sides and bottom of your glass. We put it in Kefir and the thickness helps to suspend it better, your yogurt would do the same. If you use a plastic fork to stir with, it does not seem adhere like it would to a metal utensil, and in a clear glass you can see where it may hang up on the side and not mix. 1/2 Tblsp., 2X/day and then be sure to drink your half your body weight in fluid ounces to avoid constipation. Does a body a lot of good!
 
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