Are you aking about Diatamacious Earth? (Hope I spelled it right). You can look it up on line. There are several kinds...some good for your gut and some that is only good for kitty litter. You will want food grade and I haven't found anyone in KY (Louisville to Frankfort) that sells it.
We let our chicks dust in Ohio River washed sand.
It's to give them grit for digestion and dust to ward off mites, lice and other pesky critters.
It's also called Fossil Rock Flour, I think.
Now after all this typing I hope this is what you were asking about.
D.E. is diatamaceous earth. It is ground up flour made from diatomite fossils found in the ocean. It works on a microscopic scale by lacerating the mite or worm that comes in contact with it and cutting it open so it can dehydrate. It is harmless to eat(not breath) and I use it everywhere in my coop. I mix some in with the litter to keep the mites down, some in the food as a natural dewormer, and a little dust on the ground as well for flea control.
My TSC didn't carry it and neither did Farm and Home. When I asked they thought I was a scientist
I finally stocked up on some at a Pool Supply store. They call it diatomite and is used in pool filters. It is not food grade but its the same stuff. I have fed it to my birds with no problems. I think I would only worry about food grade if I intended to consume it.
Hope I helped
If you are going to use DE around animals only use food grade. Make sure it says so on the bag. Non food grade can do serious damage to your livestock. The food grade is harmless and great to use all around them; you can dust their coop, them, their roosts and some people even put it in their food at times.
DE food grade it NOT the same as the pool type DE. Pool type is NOT something you want to handle without a respirator & probably gloves. It is heat treated, carcinogenic, high amounts of silica, and is actually very bad thing to breath for PEOPLE and probably for chickens too. It can kill you slowly or FAST if you breath a lot at once. Probably not something you want to eat or feed to the birds either. I am using capitals on purpose, I really mean to shout. Google/wikipedia Diatomaceous earth. Read the info, please---TAKE THE POOL GRADE BACK, I can't believe they sold it to you if you told them what you were doing with it.
food grade is mined and bagged basically- not heat treated, and acts as a mechanical insecticide/parasiticide. I don't think it works terribly well, but it doesn't have the potential to kill you if you get a face full, unlike pool grade.
PeeperKeeper, Loogootee, Indiana, is probably your closest source of food grade diatomaceous earth. Here's a Word document that I made of how to get there.
Driving directions to Loogootee, Indiana to buy food grade diatomaceous earth:
If you live in Indiana, do not use a Google map to get to the DE source in Loogootee, Indiana; it sent me on a wild goose chase, wasting HOURS of my time. Graber's Hunting Supply is northwest of Loogootee. Google map directions sent me about twelve miles south of Loogootee.
Graber's Hunting Supply (William Graber)
6248 North 1050 East
Loogootee, IN 47553
Don't use the Google map directions
Thanks to a mailman (luck), I FINALLY found it. I bought two 50# bags for $21.95 each plus tax. When I left, I checked my odometer for tenths of miles on each road back and wrote NEW directions.
USE THESE DIRECTIONS, AND IT WILL BE EASY TO FIND:
Coming from the north on Highway 37, go 2.8 miles past the Bedford, Indiana, to exit S. R. 50 and turn right (west).
Drive 28.1 miles on S.R. 50 to and through S. R. 231 in Loogootee, IN. Stay on S. R. 50 another 1.6 miles until you come to Road 1200 East, turn right and go 5.6 miles north until you come to Road 600 North. Turn left on 600 North and go 1 1/2 miles to Road 1050 East. Turn right and go 1/4 mile north; there you will see the house and large barns on the right (corner of 1050 East and 625 North); the address is 6248 North 1050 East.
Coming from anywhere else, find your way to Loogootee, Indiana. Go to the intersection of S.R. 231 and S.R. 50 and go west on S.R. 50 1.6 miles to Road 1200 East... Follow the directions above from there.
WARNING! Coming from S. R. 50, there is no other way to get to Rd. 1050 East but off of 600 North, i.e., 1050 East is VERY short (about 1,000 feet) and does not go through to S.R. 50 or ANY other road from S.R. 50; however, there are some complicate backroad routes coming from the north that lead into the 625 North road; good luck if you try to use those back roads.
You can buy food grade DE in the Shipshewana area at FD Miller's Feed & Supply. I don't know their prices.
You can also get food grade DE fm Garden Harvest Supply in Berne, IN. Their website is GardenHarvestSupply.com . Their price is REALLY high if that's for pickup: http://www.gardenharvestsupply.com/productcart/pc/viewCategories.asp?idCategory=11
Diatomaceous Earth, Food Grade5-lb. Bag Price $10.00
Diatomaceous Earth, Food Grade50-lb. Bag Price $55.00
I just checked their delivery for 50 pounds: They wanted $18 for UPS delivery to me here in Indiana. OUCH! That's $73.00.
I only paid $21.95 for a 50# bag in Loogootee.
Mypicklebird ..I have read up on this stuff it is safe. This is the same stuff. You swim in the water after it passes through it, it will not harm anything in the right amounts. I treat it like oyster shell with a dust mask on when I use it. People here on the board had pointed me to the stuff I use now. There are different grades but they are the same thing just different qualities. I have fed this for a long time and with out any problems or abnormalities. I have gone through several 50lb bags of diatomite with no issues.
It is NOT the same stuff, and I am not talking about swimming in water passed through a DE filter, I am talking about breathing the material.
PLEASE read the MSDS sheets for the two types of products. Codex food grade is unrefined (amorphous) silica powder- not great to breathe, but does not do the damage as the heat treated (flux calcined) pool filter stuff which becomes crystalline silica.
They have the same source- diatom skeletons, but the pool grade is altered. Cheaper and more easily found, but the codex food grade can be easily had if you do a little more work. Feed stores can be asked to order it for you, or get it online and sent directly to you.
My guess is that chickens don't live long enough to develop silicosis, or perhaps their lungs are different enough that they are resistant. But humans do get silicosis, and the pool grade is classified as a carcinogen. Acute silicosis can kill a person, nasty and unpleasant illness.
Also, feeding/breathing something for a long time without problem does not mean it is safe, lots of people smoke cigarettes every day and don't get lung cancer in the first 10 years. If you want to use DE, by all means do so, but use the one that is less likely to harm you and maybe the birds as well. Most people I know who use DE are trying to avoid using pesticides/insecticides- they are trying to be more 'natural/organic/hollistic'. They are trying to decrease their contact and consumption of harmful chemicals. Using something known to be a human carcinogen as well as a known cause of a non-cancer severe and chronic lung disease would be something to avoid, not promote.
I just don't want the folk here taking your word as gospel and flocking to the pool supply store and buying that instead of food grade, as it really is NOT the same thing. Anyone on the board who is currently using pool grade DE, please read the MSDS sheets on the two products. If someone else from the board pointed you to the pool grade, I hope they also read this, look at the info for themselves- don't take my word either.