Is this DE safe?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by ll, Jun 10, 2011.

  1. ll

    ll Chillin' With My Peeps

    The girl working at Agway said "This is safe, the ag (agricultural) lady from the state said to recommend it to our customers"
    I said are you sure you can use it to mix with bedding in a chicken coop and their nests?
    She said "Yes, because it is a 'Pet Approved' brand."

    Last edited: Jun 10, 2011
  2. scratch'n'peck

    scratch'n'peck Overrun With Chickens

    Oct 31, 2008
    West Michigan
    My Coop
    It sure looks like it should be; it's not the kind of stuff the sell for filters or whatever. I have heard that somewhere and the packaging it should say "food grade."
  3. raymarkson

    raymarkson Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 19, 2010
    I hope it's safe! This is the same brand that I have been using for over a year now. It does say food grade on the bag (it does on mine, anyway) so it should be safe.
  4. ll

    ll Chillin' With My Peeps

    Really Ray your bag says food grade? Where does it say that, on the back? Mine does not. It says it's hazardous to humans and all the warnings about handling. I haven't used it near my chicks - we bought it for an ant problem.
    My eyebrows raised when the girl was referring to "PET Safe Brand" stamped on the front.
  5. Fluffy2

    Fluffy2 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 21, 2011
    SF East Bay, CA
    As I understand it, the particulate nature of DE is similar to asbestos, so when you apply it you need to wear a dust mask and eyewear (googles?) to protect inhalation and into eyes.
    Once it is not airborne, settles into ground, sand, shavings, etc, it is not have the same residual powder type thing that is present when you initially toss it around. I am using it in my new coop sand floor. I have watched the floor and all the action does not cause the powder to arise again. I am just a newbie but this is my experience with it. I keep the dust mask and goggles with the bag of DE. and I wash up after I am done working there. I dont' have the chickens in coop until after it settles but I understand that it doesn't matter to them, tho I don't know why other than they do not have the same life span as a human and asbestos and maybe DE take years to show up as a cause of lung problems. They are being cautious and want you to be aware. just my 2 cents. thanks to all. I have learned so much! Fluffy2
  6. BoltonChicken

    BoltonChicken Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 14, 2011
    Bolton, Mississippi
    There are several sections in this forum that give you all the information you will ever need to know about DE. Just do a search.
    DO NOT use any type of DE but food grade. Here is one posting:

    DE is completely safe to use generously around the chickens. The only caveat is primarily for you. If you have asthma or COPD, be careful about breathing in the dust and perhaps wear a dust mask because the dry DE powder can make a cloud of silica dust that is not the best for breathing in, just like lime dust or cement dust.

    Hopefully, you got USDA Food Grade DE. If not, then STOP! ONLY use FOOD GRADE DE. The variety used by pool supply companies for usage in pool filters contains some other chemicals and will poison your chickens.

    So, if you have food grade DE, it is used both internally and externally to rid the birds for parasites. Mixing 5% DE into their food regularly keeps the birds free of all intestinal parasites and worms and also provides hen with an excellent source of calcium for strong egg shells.

    Rubbing it well into their feathers down to the skin kills all external parasites such as fleas, ticks, and mites. The birds love to dust bathe in it. Make a dust box with DE and Play Sand mixed 50/50.

    Dusting all of the nest boxes keep them free from fleas and mites and encourage hens to lay there rather than driving them off the nests because of the pests that love the bedding.

    Sprinkling / dusting the rest of the coop and runs kill the parasitic pests and other like fire ants and slugs, but also kills fly maggots, and acts as a deodorizer, reducing chicken poo smells dramatically and reducing fly activity substantially. It also acts as a moisture absorbent to help keep things dry.

    The bottom line is to use the FOOD GRADE DE almost everywhere since it is great for chickens both internally and externally. The great thing about it is that it contains no chemicals at all, only the silica shells of fossilized diatom algae.
  7. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    What is the percentage of silicon dioxide on that package? If it says something like 85%, no, it is not safe! That part should be something like 1-3% for food grade. I can't see it on the package to read it.

    If it's food grade, it will say so, like this does:

  8. WalkingWolf

    WalkingWolf Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 1, 2009
    North Carolina
  9. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 31, 2008
    Grifton NC
    What is the percentage of silicon dioxide on that package?
    If it says something like 85%, no, it is not safe

    DE is nothing BUT Silicon dioxide, with a slight amount of Alumina and Iron.

    It's not hard to find the facts, since they've been repeated thousands of time on these forums.

    The typical chemical composition of oven dried diatomaceous earth is 80 to 90% silica, with 2 to 4% alumina (attributed mostly to clay minerals) and 0.5 to 2% iron oxide. 3 part 1.htm

    The typical chemical composition of diatomaceous earth, a non-clay, is 86% silicon, 5% sodium, 3% magnesium and 2% iron.

    The chemical compound silicon dioxide, also known as silica (from the Latin silex), is an oxide of silicon with the chemical formula SiO2. It has been known for its hardness since antiquity. Silica is most commonly found in nature as sand or quartz, as well as in the cell walls of diatoms.[1][2]

    It is the primary component of diatomaceous earth
  10. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    The main part of food grade is not 85%, though. I may have said the wrong silica-whatever, maybe it's silica, not silicon dioxide, or it's a different type of silica, but the main part should never be that large number, but the smaller number of 1-3%. Maybe it's crystalline silica shouldn't be more than 1% or whatever- I say the wrong words but there is a percentage that is upside down for the pool filter grade and food grade and there is a huge difference between the two. [​IMG] Whatever the difference, it's not the same product and food grade must be used around chickens.

    Ok, here it is,

    From the Perma Guard site:

    What's the difference between amorphous and crystalline silica? Amorphous silica is silica in its natural occurring state. It is a trace mineral every mammal on the planet needs to live. It becomes crystalline when it is exposed to extreme heat through volcanic activity or commercial manufacturing means. The type of diatomaceous earth used in swimming pool, and other, filtration systems is crystalline silica. Crystalline silica is extremely dangerous when inhaled or ingested. It is not biodegradable.​

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