Originally Posted by Folly's place
It's terrible stuff to breathe, so I wouldn't put in the chick's bedding. It will kill grain mites in stored feed, but mine gets used up within a month, because it looses vitamin quality pretty fast. It won't worm your dogs or cats. Mary
x2. I got on the DE bandwagon and touted its remarkable curative and preventative virtues to the rooftops when I started. Then one day I was out there spreading some on the coop floor and a light bulb went off. (Well, truth be told the light bulb had a little help from those voices against DE I couldn't seem to shake) I was wearing a cap and a bandanna over my face to put the DE down. Why? Because DE is a total lung irritant. I had to put the mask on because breathing it in caused me no end of respiratory discomfort. Now, I'm 5'6" and I was putting the DE on the floor. Imagine what the dust is doing to the delicate respiratory systems of my chickens, right there at floor level, waking through it and scratching in it. They dust bathe in the shavings as well, scattering it into the air again and again.
I know it's very effective against soft bodied insects and parasites such as mites, but I also am using deep litter in my coop and run. To be effective, deep litter needs to be broken down by small insects, earthworms, etc. I was killing the very creatures I needed to break down the litter! My last holdout was adding a little to their food. DE consists of the sharp exo-skeltons of diatoms. What goes into the birds goes into the crops. What does the crop do? Grind up their food. The jury is still out on whether it remains effective once it gets wet....but the risks of having it around just aren't justified by the off chance that it might be effective in the intestines of the chickens where internal parasites live.
The choice, of course, is up to you and I'm not trying to talk you out of doing what you think is best for your situation. I'm just providing you with the information that made me put the last of the DE I had to use where it could do some good and no real harm - in the garden where it could work against aphids and such and not pose a respiratory risk to my chickens..