Sep 13, 2012

Chicken Coop Bedding: Sand, the Litter Superstar

Sand performs brilliantly as a litter choice for backyard chickens both in the coop and in the run
Sand is an outstanding choice for chicken yards and coops
The material that covers the floor of a chicken coop is commonly referred to as “bedding,” which is more aptly termed “litter,” as chickens don’t sleep on the floor, they poop on it. Litter’s primary functions are to absorb moisture from droppings and water spills, keep odors down and facilitate coop cleaning. The most commonly used litter options are: wood shavings, wood horse stall pellets, sand, hay and straw. I have tried most of them and have concluded that sand is the best choice for all the reasons outlined below.
Chickens in coop before using sand as litter
My first flock of chicks, their first day in the coop. Much has changed since then.

WHY I CHOSE PINE SHAVINGS ORIGINALLY
Pine shavings were the recommendation I had seen most often when researching my litter choices. I knew it was absorbent, readily available at my feed store, and affordable at $5.00 per cubic foot. I had ruled out straw and hay due to their lack of absorbency, propensity to harbor mites and worst of all, to mold when wet. The last thing I wanted in my coop was a droppings-laden mat of respiratory trouble for my chickens, so...pine shavings it was.
Pine shavings were a much more expensive, much less efficient chicken coop litter choice than sand
The reason I elected to use pine shavings over sand was that idea of fluffy shavings appealed to me aesthetically. I believed shavings would be a cleaner-looking, more comfortable bedding for my peeps. Wrong. What I did not take into consideration, was the frequency of cleaning required or the disproportionately high amount of shavings to droppings going into the compost pile. I was also blissfully unaware that my chickens would kick and drag the shavings out of the coop into the run. So much for aesthetics.

Sand in the chicken yard
 So, when Facebook fan Kelly V enthusiastically recommend sand and suggested that I try it, I gave it some serious thought. Due to location of our coops at the bottom of a hill, adjacent to wetlands, we have always used sand in our runs. We purchase 2 yards of sand each year at the cost of $15 per yard. It drains brilliantly, which is important to the health of our flock as wet conditions are a breeding ground for coccidiosis. The runs are easy to clean and the sand keeps odors and flies to a minimum. Since sand performs so well in the runs, I figured I’d give it a shot in the coops.
Sand in the chicken run
Admittedly, I was fairly skeptical that sand would be a viable coop litter choice, I just was not convinced that it could desiccate droppings as claimed, but since we had a pile of sand on-hand, I concluded that it couldn’t hurt to experiment.  Worst case scenario was that I would hate it, scoop the sand out into the run and revert to pine shavings. No harm, no foul.
Delivery of construction sand for chicken coops
washed construction grade sand is used for chicken coops and runs, not play sand
Washed, construction grade sand is a better litter choice for the coop and run than play sand.

THE ECONOMICS OF SHAVINGS versus SAND
Even though most of the daily droppings fall on the droppings boards in my coops, I am still fastidious about the litter. When we had just one, 4’x6’ coop, cleaning it and replacing the shavings weekly cost approximately $5.00 per month. When we built our 8’x8’ Little Deuce Coop, the litter bill increased significantly, as did the amount of time required to change the bedding each week. With the addition of the second coop, sand began to sound like a good idea. So, with shovel in hand...I passed it to my husband to load up the coops with sand. ☺ The chickens were pleasantly surprised by their new litter.
Sand is a very economical, green and healthy chicken coop litter option
Little Deuce Coop
Sand for chicken coop bedding works brilliantly, keeping chickens healthier
Our 4'x6' coop 
Sand in the chick brooder keeps chicks healthier and allows them to dust bathe, much to their delight
 I even use sand in the brooders; the chicks LOVE it and clean-up is a breeze with a kitty litter scoop.

NOTES ABOUT SAND as BROODER BEDDING:
I always start my just-hatched chicks on paper towels over puppy training pads. This provides them with secure footing and the opportunity to locate and identify feed sprinkled on the clean paper towels easily. After the first few days, I often switch over to sand in the brooder. In her book, Hatching and Brooding Your Own Chicks, here is what Gail Damerow has to say about sand as brooder bedding: 
Clean mortar sand or sandbox play sand makes excellent brooder bedding. It is not as absorbent as other types of bedding, but it absorbs heat more readily and evaporates moisture more rapidly and therefore stays drier. Perhaps for the same reason, sand is more resistant to microbes than other types of bedding, keeping baby birds healthier. Soiled sand doesn't stick to feet like other types of bedding can. When it is kicked into a drinker, sand doesn't float and discourage drinking but rather sinks to the bottom so the water remains clean. Provided it is sifted periodically to remove chick poops, sand lasts much longer than other types of bedding, making it extremely economical. [S]and is fireproof, but because it retains warmth better than any other bedding, you have to be more careful about heater placement to avoid overheated chicks.
**NOTE: while Gail Damerow recommends "sandbox play sand," river sand and construction grade sand are better choices as they contain sharper, larger, various sized pieces and less silica.**


The benefits of sand in the chicken coop are many
BENEFITS OF SAND INSIDE THE COOPS

  • desiccates droppings
  • does not retain moisture
  • does not decay or degrade inside the coop
  • superior drainage (if water spills)
  • inexpensive ($15.00 per yard) 
  • Eco-friendly: sand can be removed from the coop, washed, dried and reused
  • natural grit/no risk of crop impaction as with straw and hay
  • easy clean-up (a once daily scooping & bi-annual change)
  • keeps feet clean and nails manicured
  • cleaner feet=cleaner eggs, particularly in rainy conditions
  • any dropped feed gets eaten, not lost in the litter
  • dust-bath mecca
  • no decomposition required in compost pile/great soil amendment to compost  
  • keeps coops cooler in the summer (provided the coop does not have a glass roof and direct sunlight all day) 
  • sand is an outstanding choice in the winter because it evaporates moisture more rapidly than other litter and stays drier, reducing the risk of frostbite 
  • in the winter, sand retains warmth better than any other bedding and given its high thermal mass, it will keep coop temperatures more stable than other litter choices such as pine shavings and straw. 
  • risk of frostbite reduced in cold temperatures (as moisture is not retained in the litter)
  • looks cleaner than other litter options and it is cleaner
one of the benefits of using sand in the chicken coop and run is that the chickens have cleaner feet, which keeps eggs cleaner as they don't drag dirt and mud into the nest boxes
Feet stay nice and clean and nail length is maintained.
Sand is a great bedding choice and a wonderful dust bath medium for chickens
The sand pile doubles as a fabulous dust-bathing area for the girlz.

DRAWBACKS OF SAND INSIDE THE COOPS
  • heavy to move
  • dusty, but so are pine shavings, straw...and chickens, for that matter.
Annual sand delivery for chicken coops
Our annual sand delivery needs to be moved from the driveway down to the coops. Good times. 

One of the benefits of sand in a covered run is that chickens can dust-bathe all year long. As long as sand doesn't get wet, it stays loose even in the coldest temperatures. This photo was taken in the middle of winter during a week with sub-zero temperatures.
Chickens can use sand in the winter to dust bathe in the coop and run
TIPS FOR USING SAND
The best type of sand to use is natural sand: washed, construction grade sand or river sand fits this bill. The type of sand to avoid is manufactured by crushing quartz rocks, which can present a respiratory hazard to humans and animals over time. We buy our sand at a local quarry for $15.00 per yard and use one to two yards per year for two coops (12 x 14 total) and two runs (approx 260 square feet total). Once a year I remove the sand from my coops, wash the entire coop and refill it with fresh sand. Some people reuse the sand by washing it and allowing it to dry thoroughly in the sun.

Any water spills can be 'cleaned up' easily by raking the wet sand into the dry sand. The moisture dissipates very quickly.

I spread 3-6 inches of sand on the floors of my coops. 

Daily scooping is recommended, it takes all of 2 minutes with a handy mulch/compost rake and a small piece of hardware cloth zip-tied to it.
Cleaning sand in the coop and run is a snap with a kitty litter scoop or other screened scoop
The hardware cloth should be the smallest mesh available, this 1/2" wire was too large.

The run is not completely enclosed and as such, rain does get the sand wet from time-to-time. When that happens, I either use a shovel to turn it or roto-tiller to freshen it up. Since it dries up so quickly, once turned, it will break up nicely. Approximately once a year, or if the sand begins to smell, I sprinkle Sweet PDZ (aka: Healthy World Pet Deod.) in the run and turn it in with the roto-tiller. For much more information on the benefits of Sweet PDZ in the coop and run, visit THIS article.
Turning the sand in the coop keeps it fresh and fluffy after drying out in the event it gets wet.

References and further reading:
Testimonials from actual chicken-keepers: 
Facebook thread #2
Facebook thread #3
Raising Chickens for Dummies, Willis & Ludlow, Wiley Publishing 2009 
disclaimer at The Chicken Chick
Kathy Shea Mormino, The Chicken Chick®

411 comments :

  1. Anne Guffey9/13/12, 8:32 AM

    Sounds like a healthier, cleaner and cheaper way to manage foul fowl droppings. :) Thanks for sharing your experience, Kathy!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I just got chickens this year and use sand in my run but not inside the coop, I might have to try this

    ReplyDelete
  3. During a talk to our local Poultry club a commercial farm advised that they are moving away from wheat straw (dust) to rape seed straw. He also said that they used nipples for water and I found them cheaply on eBay, from China.
    Steve,England

    ReplyDelete
  4. What perfect timing! I am getting ready to clean my coop and was wondering what would be best for bedding...I actually thought, "why don't they make kitty litter for chicken coops?", but I guess they do ;) I'll be buying some sand today!
    Glad to have found your blog!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad you did too, Tina! Thanks. :)

      Delete
  5. How thick a layer do you put down? We've been using straw and they do sleep on it. Do you think that will change or is it fine for them to sleep in the sand? We live in Canada with harsh winters will it be warm enough? We have a variety of layers that are 3 1/2 months old so we are excitedly waiting for the first eggs but we are newbies...so much to learn. Love your blog by the way!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I use approximately 3 inches inside the coops.
      If your chickens sleep on the floor, then sand is the better way to go; straw isnt' absorbent, so the droppings just sit on top of it, the sand would coat it and cause it to be dehydrated rather quickly.
      Sand is not a heat conductor, as I mentioned in my blog, so it will do nothing to heat your coop in the winter but it will keep moisture out of the bedding, making it much less likely that your chickens would get frostbite when using sand than any other bedding material, particularly straw (provided you have good ventilation, of course).

      Delete
  6. Love this Idea..Light bulbs are going off..I already know how great sand iswhen it rains..As I have some sandy areas in my chicken field and they never puddle up..My coop is getting ready for remodle so i will be definately be doing sand bottom.. Thanks again as always...sheilah locklear..SC.

    ReplyDelete
  7. OK! I'm doing it! I was thinking about it, but next week, I'm switching. How deep inside the coop though?
    Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  8. OK, you've convinced me. I've been doing deep litter with my girls with pine shavings in the coop and straw in the run. I'll start with sand in the run in October and if I like it (which I suspect I will) I'll move it to the coop in November.

    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Keep me posted, Faith. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

      Delete
  9. I read something about using sand in the coop a few days ago. I told my husband we should try it. I hate the way the pine shaving blow out of the coop so easy on a windy day. I am glad to read that more people are having good results with the sand. We will be using sand on our upcoming coop cleanup.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I am really glad you posted this! My hubby had asked about using sand instead of shavings but I was afraid that the sand might be dangerous if we bought the wrong kind. This answers many questions I had! Maybe we will give it a try now.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I have a couple questions. In the winter, does it cause any problems with freezing solid? Do you have any issues with odor? And in the spring do I have to replace it with new? I have a solid floor in my coop and use pine bedding.And what about sand fleas? Can chickens carry them?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It doesn't freeze unless it's wet but it does harden, so we use a shovel or the roto-tiller to keep it fresh. There is never any odor at all. It doesn't need to be replaced, just topped off.
      I don't know a thing about sand fleas but am certain there have never been any on my chickens.

      Delete
  12. Patricia Hurd9/13/12, 7:03 PM

    I just started using this and was wondering why you didn't recommend it!
    (in addition, I hear it helps prevent humidity in winter, helping to prevent frostbite)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I just started using it myself, Patricia, why didn't you tell me about it sooner?! LOL!

      Delete
  13. Sounds interesting. How thick a layer did you put down? We have a variety of 3 1/2 month old layers and excitedly waiting for the first eggs. We live in Canada with harsh winters will the sand be warm enough? We are currently using straw and the chickens do sleep on it, do you think that would change with sand or would it be ok if they slept on it as well?
    Love your blog by the way!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Kathy, I am so happy that you agree, I have been using sand since I started due to being readily available and love it.... scoops just like the litter box inside for the kitties. My girls seem happy and the sand bathhouse is ALWAYS open!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You should've told me about it a long time ago! LOL ;)

      Delete
  15. I have a question regarding sand in the run. I don't have a water problem in my run since my husband built a roof. So it's dirt and I rake the poop out once a week. But, come this winter the snow is going to blow into the run, so I'll have to shovel in there. I don't see how you can shovel snow over sand. What do you do in winter?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have a roof on my runs too. I winterize my runs with heavy duty plastic on the sides so the snow doesn't blow into them.

      Delete
  16. Hi, This has convinced me to change to sand! Does the ammonia smell go away or stay in the sand? My only concern is smell. Also why construction sand rather than river sand?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. River sand or construction sand are both good choices.
      There is no smell with daily maintenance as outlined above.

      Delete
  17. I tried sand in my coop, and really preferred it over shavings. Then I discovered Sweet PDZ, the horse stall deodorizer (this is about to sound like a commercial, I promise I dont work for the company). I liberally sprinkle that over the linoleum in my coop, and there is *no* odor. It neutralizes the ammonia and desiccates the poo. Clean-up has gotten even easier. Now I have large-grain sand, "aquarium sand" in my run, and stall deodorizer in the coop, and I'm feeling pretty satisfied with this arrangement.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I was wondering if you could use the sand that you use in a child's sandbox would be okay to use....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's too fine, you need river sand or construction grade sand.

      Delete
  19. I can not do sand because i am afraid of all the pest that grow in it!

    ReplyDelete
  20. I love the idea of sand. we have been using hay/straw, we are new to having chickens, so we are willing to try other options. I don't particularly like the hay/straw it always looks yucky. Thank you for the great tips.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My pleasure, NancyT. Let me know how you like it in comparison.

      Delete
  21. This is the first year we have had a Christmas with chickens but I'm excited to decorate the coop. I'm definately going to be using lights... Not just for aesthetic purposes, but to also get in some extra light into their days to help with laying. I love your idea with decorating with feed bag stocking and I'm sure I can talk my children into helping! I'm sure they would love it!!!

    ReplyDelete
  22. I am going to decorate mine with pix cut from feed bags

    ReplyDelete
  23. I love the idea of sand and am ready to switch- Love the idea of being able to scoop it like kitty litter for easy daily clean up!

    ReplyDelete
  24. sheena mosley9/19/12, 12:01 PM

    i am do going to deco my coop. i want them to enjoy holidays as well.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I am going to decorate my coop rustic, with decos for each holiday:-)

    ReplyDelete
  26. Im decorating coop/run now with all my fall things..i love to decorate for everything
    -Donna Rogers

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Me too, Donna! I shared the Christmas coop decorating blog tips on Community Chickens now so that folks who want to plan their Christmas decorations have time to collect eggs, make the lighted chicken wire balls and feedbag stockings. There are only so many hours in a day and during the holidays isn't the most convenient time to start big projects. :) Good luck in the giveaway!

      Delete
  27. Esther Widgren9/19/12, 11:02 PM

    I've got some work to do on the coop and then I'll start decorating for the holidays! So Excited :-)

    ReplyDelete
  28. Our coop has an open run to the elements and we live in Washington State where it rains a lot. I use pine shavings in the run and wood shavings in the coop...clean up for four chickens seems easy enough...I clean the coop daily and put down new pine chips (2 bags) every 3 months. The old ones go on my garden beds and it all seems to work well. My question is: sand is heavier to move around but is this more cost effective for a bigger flock?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sand is MUCH more cost effective than shavings. I used to use, on average, 4 bags of shavings per month for bedding in my two coops at a cost of $20 per month($5/bag).
      I use exclusively sand in the coops and runs now, which costs me $30 for the YEAR.

      Delete
  29. my chickens love the Christmas lights, especially the ones that twinkle.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Hi, so glad you found out about using sand! That's what I've been using...it's wonderful! Surprised more people don't use it. No flies and hardy any smell. Although I did make up some Lavender Coop Freshening Spray.

    ReplyDelete
  31. I do not have a coop yet, (still bring my girls inside each night) but really like the idea of sand over shavings after reading your blog. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  32. Great post. I bookmarked it.
    Do you add any DE to your sand for parasite control?

    Have a great Sunday!

    ReplyDelete
  33. love the sand idea i have to try it for my own coop tthanks

    ReplyDelete
  34. TheChickenChick11/8/12, 5:53 PM

    Hi Kathy. I don't use sand in the nest boxes, I use nest box liners and pads with straw on top. The straw is redundant, I just like to give the girls something to make a little nest out of, but the pads and liners make for easy cleaning and a softer landing when they inevitably scratch the straw out of the center of the box or out of the box completely!

    ReplyDelete
  35. I like the idea of sand. I think I'll get some to go outside the coop to keep it less muddy. It should be cheaper and much longer-lasting than rice hulls. I mulch the fenced chicken yard with straw and other amendments to keep the dirt covered and to absorb poops, so there's always a healthy environment for bugs (and chickens), but right around the coop it gets muddy because of the rain runoff from the roof. Plus, I have a roofed overhand area where the girls hang out during the rain, and where my metal feed storage cans are, and I think sand would be a better way of keeping that dry. The hens love the rice hulls but I think they might find sand nice, too, especially for bathing, as you suggested in another post. Thanks for the good ideas! If I were starting with an empty coop, I might put sand down first but I'd still have deep litter on to of it with wood shavings and rice hulls. It creates a wonderful, clean composty material, which provides insulation and padding for when the hens jump down from the higher roosts.

    Thanks for the ideas!

    ReplyDelete
  36. I have used rice hulls in my coop for years, it wicks the moisture out of the droppings and keeps the floor of the coop clean and dry.  When the coop needs to be cleaned I use it in the garden as compost.  The rice hulls are mixed with the soil and help to break up the clay soil in our area.  I get the rice hulls at the feed store in plastic bales, I store them in a plastic garbage can in my shed .

    ReplyDelete
  37. bethany dearden1/16/13, 4:09 PM

    Interesting. My father keeps chickens, I will have to pass this on to him!Thanks so much for sharing at Wednesday's Adorned From Above Blog Hop. 
    Debi and Charly @ Adorned From Above
    Bethany @ Whistle and Ivy

    ReplyDelete
  38. TheChickenChick1/17/13, 10:33 PM

    What do you pay for a bag of rice hulls, Laurie and what do you figure the cost per year is?

    ReplyDelete
  39. I pay $6.99 a bale from Echo Valley Feed in Auburn.  I pay approximately $35.00 a year.  I only have 5 chickens.  I usually spread the hulls 3-4 inches deep, the girls love to kick around in it.  Because it dries out the droppings, it doesn't get soggy like sawdust.  I have been raising chickens since 2000 and have never had any health problems with any of my girls. 

    ReplyDelete
  40. My 4 hens all chose to sleep on the coop floor, so after a time I removed the perches and they sleep on woodshavings. This has been going on for about a year do you think I could reintroduce perches so I could use the sand now?

    ReplyDelete
  41. TheChickenChick2/12/13, 10:38 PM

    You could reintroduce the roosts and see how they do. You may have to pick them up off the floor after dusk and put them on the roosts manually for a few weeks, but they'll get the idea.

    ReplyDelete
  42. jill prescott2/17/13, 3:14 PM

    I use it in my coop. I switched from pine shavings after reading your posts. I LOVE river sand...so much easier to clean. Never thought of using it in the brooder, Kathy. I have some due to hatch this week and will use sand. It was so messy last year when my hatchlings had pine chips.

    ReplyDelete
  43. Mary Nickerson2/17/13, 3:17 PM

    My coop has a wood floor would putting the sand on it rot it? I love this idea sure would cut down on the dust from the wood chips.

    ReplyDelete
  44. TheChickenChick2/17/13, 7:41 PM

    That would work, but I might worry about moisture getting underneath the plastic. Have you considered linoleum tiles?

    ReplyDelete
  45. TheChickenChick2/17/13, 7:45 PM

    The sand won't rot it, but moisture could. We put linoleum squares on top of the wood floor in our coop. Works like a charm.
    Sand is NOT less dusty than wood shavings, but it is a better choice than shavings for the other reasons cited.

    ReplyDelete
  46. TheChickenChick2/19/13, 10:08 PM

    Peg, can you email me ASAP please? Kathy@The-Chicken-Chick.com Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  47. HI.

    Thanks for the great info about sand. You helped me decide to use sand in my coop (although I plan to use deep litter in the run). I have a question, though...

    You talk about getting a load of sand annually. Do you have to remove the old sand and put in new sand? Or are you just topping off the sand? Or something else?

    And if you do have to remove the sand each year, what in the world do you do with all of last year's sand??!!

    Thanks,

    Ryan

    ReplyDelete
  48. Love the tips. Getting ready to renovate a new house for the girls and this will help a lot. Yellow, hmmm, they like that color

    ReplyDelete
  49. TheChickenChick2/26/13, 11:07 PM

    Hi Ryan. Some people do not replace the sand annually, but I plan to because I'm fussy about my coops. But if you're diligent about removing the droppings and top off the sand from time-to-time, there really is not a need for an annual turnover. We use our sand around our coops to prevent them from getting super muddy. Our coops also back up to hundreds of acres of woods, so there is plenty of room for a little extra sand. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  50. TheChickenChick2/26/13, 11:09 PM

    It's really a judgment call, Debbie. Watch to see how Lucy does with the babies and the other chickens. If the other birds bother the babies, remove the babies and broody immediately to the other location. My experience has been that seasoned broodies will protect their chicks from other flock members.

    ReplyDelete
  51. Hmm 4 X 6 coop...exactly what we will be building. Wondering if you had more pictures to share or the design?

    ReplyDelete
  52. TheChickenChick3/8/13, 7:33 PM

    I sure do, Lloyd! Here you go: http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2011/05/virtual-tour-de-coop.html

    ReplyDelete
  53. I have been reading a lot about using sand and am eager to try it in our new coop, which I hope to finish tomorrow. Hubby, however, is convinced we can't use it because it will be too heavy. The floor of our new coop is plywood on 2" x 4" joists. I've place one solid piece of vinyl flooring on top of the plywood. Any info on the weight restrictions of using sand?

    ReplyDelete
  54. thank you! I was just wondering what to use.

    ReplyDelete
  55. I was just wondering how the sand would do in a climate like Northern Minnesota? I worry that it would make it too cold in the coops. I like the drainage aspect as our property can get very water logged but are we going to have to take it out during the winter? Our coop and run have dirt floors bu I have been layer hay in over this winter.

    ReplyDelete
  56. Excellent info! And right on time, too. My babies will be moving into a coop soon.

    ReplyDelete
  57. TheChickenChick3/23/13, 11:27 PM

    I don't have any weight info, sorry Liz.

    ReplyDelete
  58. TheChickenChick3/23/13, 11:29 PM

    Rose, I live in New England and our winters are much like yours. The sand doesn't make it any colder in the winter. It will retain heat if you heat your coop though.

    ReplyDelete
  59. amandabost4/2/13, 8:10 PM

    very interesting post! do you also use sand in the nesting boxes? I'm not sure how my hens would like that big of a change..

    ReplyDelete
  60. Thank you for this timely post! I have just begun my first flock after a year of researching all things chicken! I had already made the decision to use sand once they are outside, but had seen in other blogs warnings of using it with chicks due to possibility of them ingesting too much & getting impacted crops (due to them thinking it is food). I didn't quite get that theory since I figured they would treat the sand like the grit I've been giving them ... eat it as needed. Thank you for giving me peace of mind in changing them over to sand now.

    ReplyDelete
  61. GREAT info ! Thanks for sharing!! Any suggestions for duck turnouts....sand again?

    ReplyDelete
  62. Dawn Anderstrom4/3/13, 2:02 PM

    Do you also use sand in your nesting boxes, or do you stick with pine shavings there?

    ReplyDelete
  63. After reading this I do believe we will switch to sand. Thanks so much, I always enjoy reading your blog and the wonderful tips.

    ReplyDelete
  64. TheChickenChick4/3/13, 10:45 PM

    I use nest box liners and pads with straw on top of them, Amanda.

    ReplyDelete
  65. TheChickenChick4/3/13, 10:47 PM

    I use nest box pads and liners with straw on top, not sand, Dawn, but some people do use sand in the nest boxes too.

    ReplyDelete
  66. TheChickenChick4/3/13, 10:51 PM

    I don't.

    ReplyDelete
  67. Okay that makes sense; I'm seriously considering making the switch to sand! Thank you :)

    ReplyDelete
  68. Hi Kathy. I just saw this post of yours. I think "I'm" the one who told you about it!! I'm Kelly from Our Country Chronicles. HERE is my blog post about using sand! I'm am so thrilled to she how well it works for you as well!!!

    ReplyDelete
  69. TheChickenChick4/5/13, 9:19 PM

    Are you, Kelly??? Did you leave a big ol' comment on my Facebook timeline trying to persuade me to give it a shot? I'm going to have to go look! That's a riot! I don't remember seeing this blog post last year, but that doesn't mean a thing- I don't remember where my car is parked at the grocery store most days. LOL! BTW: what an ignorant comment "Anonymous" left on your blog. For the record: Gail Damerow, one of the most well respected poultry experts in the country recommends sand as bedding, most recently in her new book "Hatching and Brooding Your Own Chicks." Pay no attention to that type of comment, which clearly had NO basis in fact or research of any kind.

    ReplyDelete
  70. I am Kelly! And yes, I'm 99% sure it was me who tried to convince you. I am so happy to see that it is working out so well for you. I knew it would of course!

    I really didn't care that much about the "Anonymous" post. I just didn't want that idiot to scare anyone away from the benefits of sand.


    How fun is sharing info on the internet! I am also a follower of your FB page. Have a great day!!

    ReplyDelete
  71. Hi there, I have a couple questions about using sand. We have been building a fully enclosed coop and run (our backyard is not fenced and we live in an urban area), and we have 5 chickens who are currently still youngsters living in our bathroom. We are very concerned about keeping smell down, since our backyard is pretty small and the coop will be RIGHT next to the area where everyone hangs out.



    After reading your blog I'm starting to think using sand INSIDE the coop might be best, but we are at a loss of what to use for the bedding in the run itself. Currently it is dirt, since its an A-Frame built over a patch in our yard (with wire dug all around to keep out predators). I was considering using the deep litter method with wood shavings on top of our dirt floor as I had read that cuts smell down, but am now curious about using sand in the run. The only thing that is making me hesitant is since the run doesn't have a solid roof (just hardware cloth over the top) in the rainy season it WILL be wet most of the time. Wouldn't this eliminate the benefits of using the sand in the run?

    ReplyDelete
  72. TheChickenChick4/7/13, 11:34 PM

    Well, I thank YOU for the convincing then b/c I remember the comment being very detailed and persuasive. I was skeptical, but am a BIG believer now. Way to recruit another sand fan!! Thanks Kelly!

    ReplyDelete
  73. TheChickenChick4/7/13, 11:42 PM

    You DEFINITELY want sand in the run, PARTICULARLY if you expect it to get rained on. NOTHING drains better than sandj! Wood shavings would be a stinky mess. Use a roto-tiller to mix things up from time-to-time,add fresh sand on occasion.

    ReplyDelete
  74. What about ducks? Their poop is really wet. Hay in nests, sand on the floor?

    ReplyDelete
  75. Randy Francis4/15/13, 10:00 PM

    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  76. Is play sand OK to use though even though you recommend wash construction grade? I just put a little raised bed type sand area in their outdoor pen and we had play sand to use so that is what we started with? Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  77. Christina Anderson4/16/13, 12:54 PM

    I FINALLY found some cleaned construction sand, and have 4 yards ordered to be delivered tomorrow. I have been stressing about having to keep my new coop and run clean while using pine shavings. Going to make a scooper like you have pictured above. Thank you for all of your help.

    ReplyDelete
  78. TheChickenChick4/18/13, 8:48 PM

    Hooray! Let me know how you like it, Christina!

    ReplyDelete
  79. Having a hard time finding any silica free sand. None at Lowes :(

    ReplyDelete
  80. This is great bedding tips. People don't know how great chickens and chicken coops are! And lots of people don't know how to raise chicken and build chicken coop. You need detailed plans and instructions to build functional and good looking chicken coop. Then you also need to know how to raise chicken in proper conditions.

    ReplyDelete
  81. Kathy,
    We are just starting out and keep hearing two different opinions. One is the coop should have a floor and the second is no flooring is better. What is your opinion as I am ordering one in the next day or so and want to be sure we get the right one.

    Thank you,
    Dawn

    ReplyDelete
  82. Thought my question posted last night :(.....so if this shows twice sorry. I am hearing 2 different things....Is it ok to have a coop without a floor or should it have one?
    Thanks,
    Dawn

    ReplyDelete
  83. Pamela Poole5/2/13, 10:50 AM

    Kathy,

    A friend posted this link on Facebook about using cinnamon in your child's sandbox to keep bugs away. Could that be used in a sand covered coop--or would it be harmful to the chickens?

    http://www.parenthacks.com/2008/08/sprinkle-connam.html

    ReplyDelete
  84. TheChickenChick5/3/13, 12:55 AM

    No, you really don't want them to breathe in such a finely ground spice.

    ReplyDelete
  85. Ashlee Valentine5/4/13, 3:49 PM

    I want to switch to sand in the coop for summer. I don't have access to a quarry or anything. All I have is the big box stores. What would your recommend that I get at a Home Depot or Lowes? I would love any help.
    TY

    ReplyDelete
  86. Hi Kathy,

    My name is Allison and we are thinking about getting some chickens. We have a very large fenced in area that used to be a dog kennel for the previous tenants. I am thinking it would be great to use this space as a chicken run with a chicken coop. The whole space has a concrete floor so I wasn't sure what we should put on. Top of the cement. Would sand be appropriate?

    ReplyDelete
  87. curious about an answer for this!

    ReplyDelete
  88. Great article. Now the question.......where do all of us who want to switch to sand get washed, construction grade sand that is silicate-free ??

    ReplyDelete
  89. TheChickenChick5/19/13, 11:20 PM

    All sand has naturally occuring silica, but sandbox play sand is often artificially manufactured from crushed quartz rocks. http://www.safesand.com/information.htm

    You should be able to get washed construction grade sand through any landscaping company.

    ReplyDelete
  90. North joicey5/24/13, 7:34 AM

    Hi there, after reading this I must thank you as sand makes perfect sense. I was racking my brain and the Internet for some stuff to put in our new run/coop for our six bantams.

    ReplyDelete
  91. If you use an industrial plastic made to go under concrete, 5 mil sort you find at your local Home Depot/Menards/Lowes, it would work at least as well for a fraction of the cost. Just be sure to layer it over the seams...some even use a silicone caulking to further seal it. If you tear it at some point, just save back the rest of the roll and replace. A roll for $20 would probably last a decade that way. Oh, and regarding the math on sand, I'd suggest purchasing a $1.50 bag of playground sand, put between some 2x4's and just measure how far it goes. You'll have the lbs, coverage avg, and amount by cube ft figured out in minutes.

    ReplyDelete
  92. Hello my name is Greg I am new to raising chickens. My chicks are now three weeks old. I read a post you had about two months ago about using sand, and I decided at that point to use sand. I am in the process of building my coop/run. I want to have a earth floor in both the coop and the run. I am taking precautions to keep out preditors. I am burrying 2x3 welded wire plus pultry wire 6" in the ground around the entire perimeter. I tell you this not to impress, but rather to get feed back as to weather or not my design will work and will keep my girls and a couple of guys safe. All the ideas I will be using will have come from your blog and one other that I follow. Please give me some feed back, and if you would like I could send some pics as my area progresses.

    ReplyDelete
  93. Jessie Roberts6/1/13, 4:20 AM

    I have been trying to find a place that sells this sand, in my area and I just can't seem to find it. I am a new mommy to my six chickens and just want to make clean up easier. I live in Florida and we have daily rain, I feel this would be great to use. Just wish I could find it.

    ReplyDelete
  94. TheChickenChick6/1/13, 10:17 PM

    Any garden center or landscaping company will deliver washed sand, Jessie. Call around, I'm sure there is a source near you.

    ReplyDelete
  95. Hi,
    We are currently using straw in our run...which is mostly uncovered. It stinks and is mucky. Thinking about switching to sand. Do you think it would be a good idea with a run that is not covered? I am also thinking of adding DE and pdz which I read could help with smell. Any ideas. Thanks!
    -jen

    ReplyDelete
  96. Just a few days in but so far so good. I really like how I can clean in like kitty litter and it looks fresh and new everyday.

    ReplyDelete
  97. I gotta say, when I first read about sand used in the coop - I had my doubts. Using the sand in the run I could see for keeping the mud and flies down. After also reading that it helped in keeping the coop and run cooler during the summer months - I was sold. I thought it would be harder to keep clean - in fact, it's the opposite! My coop feels 10 degrees cooler, there is no smell, takes less than 5 minutes to scoop and compost the poop in the mornings. Even in the hardest rains, the run does not get muddy. The only draw back is that it is indeed very heavy to move, but I put the sand in an old wheelbarrow and just shovel it in as I need to. My girls are happy and so am I with a clean, pretty and stink-free coop! Thanks so much for your wonderful site. It is my new go-to for chicken information!

    ReplyDelete
  98. I used to have my run uncovered and I used sand in my run, along with DE mixed in. The run didn't get muddy and smelly and the flies are WAY down! They love taking their dust baths in it, too! It's quick and easy to clean with a sieve or pooper scooper! I just get a couple of bags now and refresh what is there. I use it in my coop, too! It's just wonderful. With the hay - it always smelled! I still use a little pin shavings in the nest boxes, but that, too, is easy to clean out of such small areas.

    ReplyDelete
  99. Hi Kathy! I took your advice and put sand in the chicken run. The girls love it, it drains well, and dries quickly and is super easy to keep clean. Even though I scoop out the droppings daily the flies are pretty bad. I have read using food grade DE in the run can help with the flies. Have you ever used it and if so, how do you apply it and at what rate?

    ReplyDelete
  100. I do not use DE, Susan. The manufacturers recommend wearing a respirator when using it, which is because it is a respiratory hazard and my chickens do not have the benefit of masks 24/7. There are lots of ways to control flies without risking chickens' health. http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2013/06/15-tips-to-reduce-flies-around-chicken.html

    ReplyDelete
  101. Jenny Moody7/1/13, 10:24 PM

    Well, Im a convert. I love the sand in my silkie coop. Its so easy to clean, less dusty, cleaner chicken feet and eggs and less smell! So now to call around and see if I can get some delivered so I can do my big coop! Thanks for all the useful information you provide!

    ReplyDelete
  102. TheChickenChick7/2/13, 12:30 AM

    Right on, Jenny! Good for you.

    ReplyDelete
  103. Did you put the hardware cloth on top of, or below the tines?

    ReplyDelete
  104. TheChickenChick7/5/13, 6:24 PM

    I'm not sure what you're asking, Karen.

    ReplyDelete
  105. When you fasten the hardware cloth to the pitchfork with the zip ties, is the hardware cloth underneath the tines of the fork, or on top of the tines of the fork. I am guessing underneath?!?!

    ReplyDelete
  106. TheChickenChick7/6/13, 2:05 AM

    The hardware cloth is on top of the tines, but I don't suppose it matters. whatever works for you!

    ReplyDelete
  107. Shannon Bradley7/9/13, 11:43 PM

    Hi Kathy! We have the girls in a tractor coop. I'd like to park the coop, semi-permanently, and put sand at the bottom so they don't scratch up the ground and end up in a mud pit. Can I put sand on the ground in an A-frame tractor coop? It's about 4'x8' - I would let them out during the day so that they could free range, if I went with sand.

    ReplyDelete
  108. TheChickenChick7/10/13, 11:54 PM

    I don't know of a reason why you couldn't use it, Shannon.

    ReplyDelete
  109. Machelle Hatcher7/13/13, 11:34 AM

    Everyone I have called doesn't seem to understand what I am wanting when I say river sand or construction sand. They ask me if it's mortar sand or concrete sand? I need help to find the right thing! Thanks :)

    ReplyDelete
  110. Linda Pence7/16/13, 5:09 PM

    Hi Kathy,
    I don't know if you can help me, but thought I'd ask anyway. I am going to have a run where goats use to be. The soil smells real strong of ammonia. Is this harmful to the chicks? Do you know of a way I can get the smell out of the soil? The run will be just part covered and the rest will be dirt. Thanks so much.

    ReplyDelete
  111. TheChickenChick7/17/13, 9:26 PM

    Can you dig out the area where the chickens will be and replace it with sand?

    ReplyDelete
  112. Linda Pence7/17/13, 9:40 PM

    Thanks so much for the suggestion. I'll have to ask hubby if he'll do this for me, but it sounds great to me. Thanks again.

    ReplyDelete
  113. Sarah Watson7/22/13, 3:54 AM

    Hi Kathy, just found your site and really like it! Sand sounds like an excellent idea for my coop, i'd never thought of that. Just a question though, what do you use as nesting box flooring?

    ReplyDelete
  114. TheChickenChick7/22/13, 7:06 PM

    I use Kuhl nest box pads and liners with straw on top.

    ReplyDelete
  115. great info madam, wont the chicken eat sand, if they eat is there any problem with that?

    ReplyDelete
  116. TheChickenChick7/26/13, 9:24 AM

    I do not. I don't care for DE; I believe it's dangerous for my chickens to breathe and its claimed benefits are simply not proven.

    ReplyDelete
  117. Tina Edwards8/1/13, 10:48 AM

    Kathy, what is the danger of the silica in play sand to the chickens? I know you had it posted somewhere, but I can't find it. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  118. I put non composted litter in the front yard because it was free versus topsoil. I have a drainage issue and used the litter to build up the level of the lawn. I have it up to 8" in areas. It wasn't just litter but carcasses as well. How can I neutralize the smell before my husband divorces me?

    ReplyDelete
  119. Bianca DiRuocco8/10/13, 5:08 PM

    We're in the process of building a new coop for our ever-expanding flock. I'm just about convinced to go to sand inside the coop, but the new run will not have a solid roof. This means the ground will be exposed to all weather. Here in NH, that means snow from at least October to as late as early April, and lots of rain the rest of the year. Especially this year. (sigh). I do not own a roto-tiller, so I'm wondering about sand in the run, as you emphasize that it doesn't clump much if it stays mostly dry. Well, it sure won't stay dry in our run. If I use sand in the run, am I just making even more work for myself with a fork and/or rake?

    ReplyDelete
  120. TheChickenChick8/10/13, 9:58 PM

    Without a roof on the run, you're going to have a mess regardless of which litter type you choose. If it is at all possible to fashion a roof for your run, you and your flock will be so much better off for it.

    ReplyDelete
  121. Hi I have a 9 week old Brahma chick with sour crop ive tried all the yogurt and cider vinegar but am not getting very far can you recommend some thing.

    ReplyDelete
  122. I read on another blog where an urban chicken keeper had disastrous complications with sand that you should know about. Even though she cleaned it thoroughly, some of the poop didn't desiccate, it mixed in with the sand. Even so she said that the sand seemed to work great until the rainy season started. She said that the sand stank horribly, drew flies galore, and never dried out well between storms, admittedly her sub-straight was concrete, not dirt. Another thing to consider is what are you going to do with the used sand? You can't use it in compost bins, and it will turn clay soil into concrete once you go past a 50/50 ratio of sand and dirt by volume, and the only way to fix that condition is to remove all the "concrete" dirt and start over. She had to dispose of the dirty sand in the regular trash bin. If you have a large run, and have to change the sand every 6 months - that is a lot of poopy sand to deal with. If you go to the beach much, you will notice the constantly wet sand doesn't dry out all that quickly, it will only dry out quickly if you have dry sand to mix it with. It would be better to have a covered run that is shielded from getting wet if possible. You should know all the potential problems with this method before you adopt it.

    ReplyDelete
  123. Hi Kathy! First I want to say thanks so much for sharing your wealth of knowledge on all things chicken! As the mom of a fledgling flock (for the first time out) I am such a novice and your help has been invaluable! We just moved our flock into their 'big kid' coop :) and I used pine shavings because it was what I had on hand, but I am very interested in trying this sand method. I contacted my local mulch people and they have what they call a 'concrete sand' which they say is 'more coarse than playground sand'. Would this be appropriate to use for my babies? I have a flock of 11 bantam Easter Eggers if that makes any difference. Thanks in advance for your help!

    Jennifer

    ReplyDelete
  124. TheChickenChick8/27/13, 9:31 PM

    Try contacting a landscaping company. Concrete sand is still finer than you want.

    ReplyDelete
  125. Hi, amazing site here, thank you! What is your opinion of crushed coquina sand?


    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  126. TheChickenChick9/4/13, 11:59 PM

    I'm not familiar with it, sorry.

    ReplyDelete
  127. Do you think a combo of DG and play sand could work?

    ReplyDelete
  128. Beth Beatty Francis9/7/13, 9:27 PM

    I am about to get chickens. thank you for all of the info you provide on your site. It is priceless. I intend to utilize a lot of your ideas and suggestions. I would also like to build a nice size run for my chickens for those days I am not going to be home all day. I want to use hardware cloth and bury it as suggested........the run will have a roof as well.........my question (and difficulty finding) is where can I get rolls of 1/4" hardware cloth that will be tall enough for this purpose. I would like to be able to walk inside the run as well without having to get on my knees. I'm thinking I'd like at least a roll that would be 6' or 50" tall.......that way I can bury at least 12 inches or more and still have some height to it. If this is not an option, how then do you secure the hardware cloth to each other in order to create height of walls to prevent predators getting in? Thanks, again.

    ReplyDelete
  129. TheChickenChick9/11/13, 8:59 PM

    You'll have to overlap pieces of it, Beth, it doesn't come in those heights. We use zip ties to secure hardware cloth to other pieces of hardware cloth.

    ReplyDelete
  130. Hi Kathy,
    We are removing 10 cedars and stump grinding them where our new coop and run is going to be built. We intend to use sand. After raking the area, can we just put the 3 inches of san on top? I heard chickens are sensitive to cedar.

    ReplyDelete
  131. I'm using the sand now with my 3-week old chicks. When you clean and wash your own sand at the end of the year, do you just use apple cider, or something else?

    ReplyDelete
  132. TheChickenChick9/18/13, 10:17 PM

    Cedar has volatile oils in it that are said to be harmful to chickens' respiratory systems. I would not use cedar shavings anywhere near chickens. I would also not mix any type of shavings into the sand, it defeats the benefits of having sand.

    ReplyDelete
  133. TheChickenChick9/18/13, 10:25 PM

    I do not wash the sand, but others do. I imagine they wash it with water alone.

    ReplyDelete
  134. We live in Florida -- coquina is a shell-type rock which they crush into a very coarse sand with bits of shell mixed in. We put the crushed coquina sand in the run and in the house, and so far it has been pretty easy to clean and the chickens are doing well.


    What I do to clean it is rake the top half inch or so into a pile, scoop it with a homemade 1/4" mesh scoop, and sift the sand out. This method seems to get most of the droppings, though some of the shells get dumped too.

    ReplyDelete
  135. Sharron Johnson9/26/13, 8:44 PM

    Hi Kathy, Thanks, Ive bookmarked this post as well. Our new batch of chicks are about 2.5 weeks old and I just switched over to sand. They're currently in the bathtub and will be for a bit yet. I'm a little concerned cause as soon as I put the sand down (they loved it!) they started eating it, then they go drink. Are they going to get little sand cakes in their crops? It's going to be oh so much easier for me to keep clean but will they slow down on their eating it? They've got plenty of food, is it just because it's a novelty to them? I don't want to hurt them!

    ReplyDelete
  136. What a great site! A quick question you may be able to help with - I am just getting our chicken coop all ready to go before getting chickens and love the idea of sand in the run but wondering if I should use sand in the coop as well or shavings. We live in Dunedin and the nights (even in summer) can be quite cool, I have read that shavings are warmer? Should I do a combo or stick with sand on the floor of both?

    ReplyDelete
  137. TheChickenChick9/30/13, 9:31 PM

    They won't, Sharron. They'll be fine. They all do that when put on any new bedding, it's how the explore their world. They get over it in no time.

    ReplyDelete
  138. Sharron Johnson9/30/13, 9:38 PM

    Phew! Thanks for answering! I was sure i was going to find these little lead bottom chicks the next morning, but as you said, they were fine!

    ReplyDelete
  139. PLEASE HELP WITH WET SAND: I don't see anyone with this issue...so I'm hoping that SOMEONE will know what to do ;-/ . After reading ALL the raves about using sand in the chicken coop, we had 2 cu. yds delivered - 1 for the coop and 1 to use in the run. As we were shoveling the sand into the coop, we noticed that it was wet. Since I hadn't read any information that indicated that we had to DRY the sand, we tossed in about 1 1/2" of the sand in the coop. This morning it stinks to HIGH HEAVEN! It's still wet. Should I have waited til the sand dried? If so, how would I get it to dry? It's a large pile of wet sand!? PLEASE HELP! Will sweet PDZ help dry out the sand quickly!?

    ReplyDelete
  140. TheChickenChick10/13/13, 7:13 PM

    No, don't add anything to it. It should not smell even when wet though if it's new. I would put a fan in the coop and stir the sand periodically throughout the day. It should dry very quickly.

    ReplyDelete
  141. Unfortunately, I don't have the luxury of stirring it all day long. I ended up added the sweet PDZ and it helped dry a bit. I'm adding a little at a time and had the windows open yesterday.
    I forgot yesterday to add that I have 4 pekin ducks in the coop, too. I think THEY were the ones to stink it up! This morning it is much better! Thanks for your answer.

    ReplyDelete
  142. I have wooden floors in my coop and I have been using sand for the last year or so. I haven't had any problems with it and it stays dry. I put it down 2 or 3 inches thick and I don't see any evidence of the moisture ever getting to the actual wood floor. The pine shavings I used to use (mixed with poop)would often get soaked by rain at the chicken door and it would stick and harden to the floor. I needed a serious scraping and breaking it up with a hammer to get it all cleaned out. Haven't had that problem with sand. Cleaning the coop is a breeze and I never have to worry they might need grit. Life is good!

    ReplyDelete
  143. Just had a couple questions about the sand inside the coop. What do you do with that much left over sand at the end of each year? I am in the process of building a mobile coop and plan on letting the girls free range during the day surrounded by electro net to prevent the neighbors dogs from having at them. How deep do you put the sand in the coop? I am worried about the additional weight.

    ReplyDelete
  144. I have three hens living in an Eglu Classis, with an extended run. The girls also have the free use of an area of soil covered ground with a concrete path running down one side. The soil is very muddy and sticky as is inside the extended run. Could I simply lay down a few inches of sand in the extended run and soil area? I live next to the sea and don't know if I can just take beach sand, I'd feel a bit conspicuous but there is a chalk quarry down the road from me. Please can you advise? Kind regards, Sonja.

    ReplyDelete
  145. TheChickenChick10/17/13, 8:46 AM

    Don't use beach sand- too much salt. River sand or construction grade, washed sand would solve your mud problem.

    ReplyDelete
  146. TheChickenChick10/17/13, 8:48 AM

    We have 160+ acres of woods and wetlands behind us, so finding a spot that would benefit from some sand is not a problem. Some people wash the sand, let it dry in the sun and reuse it.

    ReplyDelete
  147. I am going to change from shavings to sand. It's worth a try.

    ReplyDelete
  148. Marykate Fowler10/19/13, 8:38 PM

    Great info! I am going to give sand a try. :)

    ReplyDelete
  149. TheChickenChick10/19/13, 8:41 PM

    Let me know what you think, Barbara!

    ReplyDelete
  150. We tried pine shavings first and it was a mess. We raked and tilled the coop/run and added sand OH MY! It has made a world of difference. Thank you so much for the tip life in the chicken yard is so much nicer. xoxoxo

    ReplyDelete
  151. Love the idea- much cheaper and Eco-friendly... Besides getting rid of moisture- what would be better to keep chickens warm in winter or help keep them warm- shavings or sand. My silkies do not roost, they rather sleep on the floor of coop than roost.

    ReplyDelete
  152. TheChickenChick10/19/13, 9:52 PM

    Great to hear, Shelly! Thanks for sharing. :)

    ReplyDelete
  153. Great post! Thank you. We were planning to leave our feeding area only concrete so that we could wash it out frequently. Is concrete not good for chicken feet?

    ReplyDelete
  154. TheChickenChick10/22/13, 12:41 AM

    A small area of concrete is fine.

    ReplyDelete
  155. Do you put the sand in their laying boxes? I know mine like it to be comfortable and scratch at their boxes to get the sides evenly made for nesting.

    ReplyDelete
  156. TheChickenChick10/24/13, 9:02 PM

    I don't. I use nest box pads and liners.

    ReplyDelete
  157. I would like to use sand but my run is 8' x 4' and the aviary is all screen, no solid roof. it screened as well. I need to do something, maybe I will put a tarp over the top for the winter.

    ReplyDelete
  158. Hi
    I am thinking of using sand now for my duck coop floor after reading your article. What I am concerned about is....would the sand not get hot for the ducks to walk on during the summer time?

    ReplyDelete
  159. TheChickenChick10/31/13, 10:37 PM

    It depends where you use it. If it's baking in the hot sun all day long, it will get hot. If it's in a covered run protected from the sun, it will not get hot. If it's in an area where the ducks splash water, it won't be hot.

    ReplyDelete
  160. TheChickenChick10/31/13, 10:38 PM

    It's a hormone and instinct-driven behavior, Vickie. Re-homing him is the only way to guarantee not being attacked.

    ReplyDelete
  161. disqus_H72NFGWjFv11/2/13, 12:34 PM

    Hello, how often does the sand need to be replaced? I'm having trouble with their food getting mixed into the sand, what do you do to clean out the food? It's mostly cracked corn that gets tossed around and some seed. Thanks for your input.

    ReplyDelete
  162. Rachel Mayer11/2/13, 11:36 PM

    Oh! I have to try this! I have a bunch of older maran chicks and their leg feathers get so gross. I bet the sand would help them stay much cleaner!

    ReplyDelete
  163. TheChickenChick11/3/13, 1:20 AM

    My chickens eat any spilled feed. I only change the sand once a year in the spring, but some people never do, just add more as the level dwindles.

    ReplyDelete
  164. Hello. I am planning to move my chicks, who are one month old, outside fairly soon. I am concerned that it may be too cold for them, and using sand inside their living space would be problematic. Should I wait until they are slightly more feathered, or is there a way around it?

    ReplyDelete
  165. TheChickenChick11/6/13, 9:14 PM

    4 weeks old is much too soon to move out the coop if the temperatures are not warm enough for them.

    ReplyDelete
  166. Hi ive been reading all the comments but couldn't see an answer to my query so here it is, i am thinking of using sand after all the positive points but it would be laid over a solid concrete base, would this cause a problem for drainage meaning the sand would stay wet.

    ReplyDelete
  167. Hi there,


    I heard a rumour in the grape-vine that oak shavings are poisonous to chickens?? Is this true?? What are the best shavings to use?

    ReplyDelete
  168. Julie Drigot11/26/13, 5:25 PM

    I love this idea and I'm going for it!

    ReplyDelete
  169. TheChickenChick11/26/13, 10:09 PM

    Cedar shavings are, but I've never heard about oak.

    ReplyDelete
  170. Leanne Harrington11/27/13, 3:30 AM

    Hi there, do you know what kind of sand is usually used for sand bags? Our city provides sand for sand bags and I thought maybe I would use some of that for their coop.

    ReplyDelete
  171. Lillian Tubbs11/29/13, 12:13 PM

    Does anyone have a problem with the dust the sand produces? I've started wearing a dust mask and I know that it is filtering the dust (the outside of the mask provides evidence) but I feel as though I am still breathing it in. Sometimes my chest feels tight after cleaning the coop. Also, is it possible that the dust could hurt the chickens respiratory system? I have 11 chickens and five of them don't seem to like it much outside (highs have been in the 30s - 40s with lows in the upper teens and 20s) so there is a bit more poop to clean and it takes longer than normal.

    ReplyDelete
  172. annie simmons12/1/13, 1:02 PM

    Great post, I use sand in my coop and run and like it much better the pine shavings. Thank for the info. Hint I have found hanging the car fresher on the run keep the fly's down. Vanilla works best so far. Thanks again for all the help and ideas.

    ReplyDelete
  173. Ferne McAllister12/3/13, 7:18 PM

    kathy, I love your blogs. Happened across this, though from elsewhere, http://www.fresh-eggs-daily.com/2013/07/the-real-scoop-on-using-sand-in-your.html and it's a against sand as you are for it! I don't believe they ever mention whether they've actually tried sand themselves....I have sand in my brood box (where the month old chicks are right now, and so far like it. Has anyone ever done lab testing on microbes etc in sand v litter? Any other thoughts on this?

    ReplyDelete
  174. Ferne McAllister12/3/13, 7:22 PM

    Oh, by the way. Love the poop boards you suggested - and this really does have to do with the sand subject. I decided to sprinkle a thin layer of sand on the boards (which are maybe 18" wide (wild guess) and so far I like that it helps absorb any moisture and and I just scoop it all up with a metal dustpan - so there's very little to clean on the boards themselves. Takes about a minute to ride the boards of poop every morning.

    ReplyDelete
  175. TheChickenChick12/5/13, 11:13 PM

    Yep. Can't recommend it any higher than I already have!

    ReplyDelete
  176. can i use kitty litter in my chicken coupe due to the mass flooding inside and out?

    ReplyDelete
  177. i have DE and kitty litter and the roads are frozen ice and i cannot go anywhere and i am hurting for my poor lil babies out there in the flooded muddy coupe?

    ReplyDelete
  178. some please before it gets too dark for me to be out there>?

    ReplyDelete
  179. TheChickenChick12/22/13, 8:31 PM

    No, the chickens can eat it and get very ill.

    ReplyDelete
  180. Use sand :>

    ReplyDelete
  181. TheChickenChick1/8/14, 2:23 PM

    Our underlying soil is very clay laden but we buy the sand from a quarry and it performs brilliantly. It is not less dusty than other litter choices or chickens themselves, however.

    ReplyDelete
  182. maryhadalittlelamb1/9/14, 8:15 PM

    Hi, the perfect solution for bedding in my run, is to have a raised floor (enough room under the floor to be able to rake underneath), with the floor consisting two layers of weldmesh 12mm grid mesh with good supports underneath to help prevent sagging. Chicken poop will push through as they step on it, onto the ground where I periodically rake it up and put into my compost. Best though to cover the roof, I have clear corrugated fiberglass sheeting to give the light and no rain. It works perfectly, gives good ventilation, virtually no smell and no need for any cleaning up inside the run. I also hang their water there, so any spillage is not a problem, keeps the coup nice and dry. If you are in a suburban garden, you may consider a tray under the run to collect droppings rather than straight onto the ground. In either case you could have a layer of sand to catch the droppings, this will also help minimise further smell if coup is near house as you say. Good luck, enjoy your chickens

    ReplyDelete
  183. maryhadalittlelemab1/9/14, 8:29 PM

    excuse my ignorance, what are 'nest box liners/pads'? I've never heard of them here in Melbourne Australia. From a practicality point of view, would it not be easier to have sand right through, or would the chickens not like laying on sand? My egg boxes are on the same level as the coup floor, separated off with a 3inch lip. Could I get away with using sand, do you think? Thnk you for all this info, I'm fascinated with the sand, can't wait to try it, cheers, mary

    ReplyDelete
  184. Where do you get your construction grade sand or your river sand? I called a bunch of stores and they've never heard of it/don't have it :(

    ReplyDelete
  185. TheChickenChick1/21/14, 8:30 PM

    At a local quarry/trucking company. Try landscape supply companies, gardening centers or landscapers, Ashley.

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...