OK everyone, I have a question! We are getting everything ready for the babies, and being a hyper mom, I am getting everything I *might* need for them anytime in the next 6 mos! LOL! I have an area in the coop that I am going to put a little dust bath area, and was going to mix wood ashes, sand and DE together for the dust bath. I was also reading about how fabulous DE was for mites/lice and had planned on sprinkling it into the deep-litter pine shavings. So off I go to the feed store, and ask for DE, and the owner looks at me like I am crazy! "Are you sure you *really* want that?" He says. I tell him what I am planning on using it for and he says this "Well, I worked in the poultry industry for 25 years, and DE is a carcinogen (cancer causing ingredient) and is VERY bad for the lungs. It is silicon, which is powdered glass, and can be very harmful if inhaled. The way it works is that the tiny glass powder cuts the lice/mites and they dehydrate, but if you keep your coop cleaned you should not have a problem with them. Yes, technically it is "food grade", but you can have real problems if it is inhaled" OK, so now my head is spinning. My 2 kids both have asthma, and the thought of purposly putting a known carcinogen powder in the coop for the chickens to roll around in, and kick up on the deep litter, and then have my children hold them seems CRAZY!! We are raising these 7 chicks as pets, with a bonus that we will get eggs, and are raising them ORGANICALLY!!! Is DE really all that harmless, or is this guy onto something??? We are now looking into using Sweet PDZ in the deep litter, and just letting the chickens bathe in wood ash/sand. But now I am even wondering about Sweet PDZ! Help!