There are many people in our chicken world who tote the benefits of the food grade DE. I'm one of them. That said, it is a costly product. I haven't seen a 50 pound bag for less than $60. Now granted, it will last a long time but its hard to come by so on top of the 60 bucks, we need to pay to have it shipped too. Ugghhhh!
Last week I was down in my local Agway that happens to be owned by a friend of ours so I say, "Hey Steve, you don't have any food grade DE!" He says to one of his employees, "Can we get that? Who do we get it from?" I hear some talk from his office and he looks to me and says, "We'll find out." So I brows around for items I don't need and just as I'm getting ready to head out the door his manager Jennifer says to me, "Sara, we can get a 40lb bag for $20." Yeeee haw! Now it never occured to me to check the ingredients on the bag. Having no idea that it could or would be mixed with something else didn't even cross my mind. Today I'm here at BYC and I see this Red Lake Earth which sounded very familiar to me. Time to do research. Here is what I found:

DE is the skeletal remains of algae. 100% pure DE is costly for this reason. What I ordered from my local Agway is red lake earth. This is the name of the product, not the company that makes it. It is made by a company called Absorbent Materials, Ltd. Red Lake Earth combines DE and montmorillonite (phew!). Montmorillonite is a calcium rich volcanic deposit. This is why Red Lake is cheaper.

My first thought was that I was hasty but now I'm glad I had it ordered....calcium rich! My girls will continue to get natural supplemental calcium even if I run out of grit.