As you can tell by my post count (this is #2) I'm kinda new at this. I was just so impressed by the performance of the sand I had to share the information. To those who are sold on wood shavings, believe me, so was I. Since I have a wood shop I have a virtually unlimited supply of wood shavings to dispose of. That was by far my first choice. The sand just works way better. I'll address inquiries in the order I find them.
Edited by chellejeff - 2/17/11 at 8:19pm
kuntrygirl, I spent a lot on sand because I didn't need a yard of sand, and thats the minimum my local supplier will sell. I bought 7, 75lb sacks at the local lumberyard for about $3 each, and it was wet. Besides, it was easier to carry sacks to the house, than shovel sand out of my truck etc. It took a couple days to dry out. It's washed, course sand. Here in the mountains of southern California a yard of sand goes for $33.
cptbahama , Yes, I spend less than 5 minutes a day in the house scooping poop off the floor. It gives me a chance to interact with the birds, and causes me to see if there are any other issues I may need to deal with in the house. My hen house is tall enough to stand in, and my hens are pets. I am more than happy to spend 5 minutes a day in the house with the birds. My hens get frequent visits from neighbor kids and friends and I don't want them getting poop all over their shoes when they go in the house.
gmendoza, scooping poop is not the highlight of my day, but it's only 5 minutes, and my wife and I share the chore. The scooped poop goes in a bucket, and the bucket of poop is then used as needed in the yard.
Stevo, how do you even walk into your hen house without getting crap on your shoes? Try some sand!! Really, try it.
chickerdoodle, I respectfully disagree, you say wood shavings couldn't be easier to clean with your vinyl floor. Sand is without a doubt easier to clean. No comparison, I've done both. Mine is also a raised floor as my hen house sits on a hillside. I have well drained soil where I live, so mud in the yard is not really a problem, besides, most of the time if I get precipitation it is snow.
Talihofarms, what climate? I can't think of a climate that affects sand, but then there are probably many things I can't think of. Although I live in southern California, I'm over 6000' elevation, I have at least 4 feet of snow in my yard every winter, and so far this year we've been in the teens for temperature many times. I'm actually truly curious what climate you live in that is not compatible with sand.
Zac's Flock , I don't put the sand in the yard, my soil is pretty sandy anyways. I only put the sand in the house.
kateseidel , I hate to admit it, but part of the reason I rake the sand in the house is because it looks so nice when it's all the same depth with the rake lines in it.
Buschie's dozen, My hen house has insulation, but no heat. I find that the birds body heat keeps the house 12 to 14 degrees warmer than the outside temp. The coldest it's been in my hen house to date is 27`F. The birds did not seem to mind, and ran out to play in the snow as soon as I opened their door in the morning. I do need to come up with a better plan for getting that door opened in the morning though. I hate mornings. Your setting is quite different than mine, you having a monstrous hen house, and mine being relatively small. I made my own waterer heater, and have not had any problems with it freezing, whether I had shavings or sand in the house.
Y'all have made my day!! My first posting ever on BYC received boatloads of follow up postings, mostly positive. My wife was literally laughing out loud at some of the responses, and specifically pointed out that cptbahama seemed to making fun of me for scooping poop out of the house. I hope I've addressed any concerns or questions to your satisfaction. I look forward to hearing from those of you that I've specifically called out.