DE question

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molly d

9 Years
Apr 28, 2010
lawrence, ks
I want to start using DE in my coop and run to keep the bugs and smell under control, but I'm having a hard time weeding through all of the information here. It seems like the general consensus on BYC is that it must be food grade DE in order for it to be safe for chickens. I called all over town, and nobody around here carries food grade DE. However, the old timer at our local feed store doesn't think the food grade is necessary, as long as you don't buy the kind that's used in swimming pools. They only carried 50# bags, so I opted to get a small box from a garden center/nursery instead. It doesn't say food grade anywhere on it, but it's not intended to be used in swimming pools, either. The contents are as follows:

Silicon dioxide : 85%
other elemental oxides : 10%
moisture : 5%

It's sold as a crawling insect killer, and is distributed by Woodstream Corp in PA. I have no idea what the "other elemental oxides" are. Is this okay for me to use in my coop and run? I perused various DE threads here last night, and some people said that DE for the garden is okay, even if it doesn't specifically say that it's food grade. However, lots of other people say that food grade is an absolute necessity. I'm confused!
If someone could point me in the right direction, I would greatly appreciate it.

Thanks, ChickenToes. That should be very helpful. I'll read it more thoroughly after work this afternoon. So, the stuff I bought is "OMRI-listed and compliant for organic gardening" so I assume that means that it hasn't been treated with chemicals. I wonder if that makes a difference.
Here's a link with tons of info on food grade DE. To quickly answer the question, non-food grade DE can poison or kill your chickens because it's been treated with chemicals.

Thanks, ChickenToes. That should be very helpful. I'll read it more thoroughly after work this afternoon.

As you're reading, keep in mind they are trying to SELL you DE.

Reality is it won't do a tenth of the things they claim it will

It's a mechanical insecticide that ONLY works when it's dry.​

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