Another Deep Litter vs. Sand Question - What do you add to top of sand in winter for frigid temps?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by chicks4erin, Apr 13, 2012.

  1. chicks4erin

    chicks4erin Out Of The Brooder

    May 29, 2011
    Chicago Suburb
    I swear I get on this site and hours pass like seconds. I "thought" I was going to do deep litter in my run, but then I saw a thread on sand, this turned into about 3 hours of reading posts on deep litter vs. sand. Now I don't know what I should do. Run hasn't been constructed yet, but will be soon. I think I'm sold on sand just because of all the pros I read and cleanliness and I don't mind 10 minutes a day with a kitty litter scoop picking up poo and dumping into compost bin. I do think I'll miss the compost from the deep litter though for my garden, one downside. In any event, I'm in Chicago, so summers can be terribly hot in which case I think the sand is good, but on the other hand winters with the exception of this year are frigid in which case the sand will be too cold. I don't want their feet to freeze.

    So, to get to my questions. Can I do sand for spring, summer, fall and add something on top for winter? How do you clean it then? What do I add to the top of the sand? Does that screw up the whole sand system then? Would I then need to clean everything out in spring and start over with new sand? Wouldn't everything turn into a deep litter by adding stuff on top of sand in winter? Sorry for all the questions, just trying to wrap my head around this and see if anyone has used this combo system or if it will even work. I was thinking I could add leaves, save a whole bunch of bags from the fall to use in the winter, but that would turn into deep litter wouldn't it? [​IMG]
  2. Ceilismom

    Ceilismom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 21, 2010
    NW South Dakota
    I have not come across anyone on here who does deep litter in the run (now that I've said that, surely someone will reply that they've been doing it successfully for years).

    Your chickens will be just fine with a sand run, even in winter. Deep litter is for the inside of the coop, but even that can be sand if you choose. As long as the coop protects them from the weather, their body heat and down coats will keep them warm. If the run is too cold or uncomfortable, they'll go back in the coop. If you use a 2x4 with the wide side up for the roost bar, their toes will be covered by their bodies and kept warm.

    You could put leaves in the run, but keep in mind that if there is enough snow or rain, that can turn into a soggy, smelly mess. Straw or shavings would likely be as bad, if not worse. One of the biggest benefits to sand is that it drains well and dries out quickly, which provides chickens a clean, healthy environment. I would save the bags of leaves for either the inside of the coop, or the garden.

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