another sand question...sorry :(

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by confusedturtle, Jun 16, 2011.

  1. confusedturtle

    confusedturtle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 6, 2011
    Virginia
    I was wondering for the people who put sand in their runs, do the chickens still have plenty of stuff to forage for? Mine have eaten all of the grass/weeds in the area their coop is in now, we built this coop to be a tractor but have talked about possibly leaving it stationary too. My run has a bunch of flies and it is driving me nuts. The run is just sitting on the once grassy area of the yard we put them on last weekend when we moved them in. I clean the poop out of the coop daily but since it is in the run it is all over whats left of the grass & in the dirt and I dont think raking it would be very effective. This cant be healthy for them, I dont know what else to do. Im switching out their hay bedding for pine shavings tomorrow (just bought it) the hay just doesn't seem to do much to keep the flies & smell out for more than a day or two. What do you think?
     
  2. kimntep

    kimntep Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 30, 2010
    Ocala, Florida
    In my experience, hay or straw made it worse, especially with odor and flies because it holds moisture so well. I haven't gotten my sand yet, but I will soon. It's my understanding (and there is LOTS of talk about it) that sand is just all the way easier and better to keep clean, odor free, fly free and cleaner chickens because they love to dust in it. Our run is all dirt, so I let the chickens free range for a few hours every day; otherwise, there would definitely not be enough for them to forage. Their feeder is always full, but they have to be able to scratch around. Do yours free range at all where sand in the coop and run would be beneficial to both you and them?
     
  3. zengrrl

    zengrrl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 25, 2011
    Oakland County, MI
    Right now I have sand in my coop, a large 10x10 "room". I'm waiting for my hardware cloth to get in and then they'll have an actual run. They've been in a week and today was the first time I took my kitty litter scooper out and let me tell you, works like a dream! I think its important the sand not be in an area that will get muddy as it'll just cake up then and won't work very well. The chickens love to scratch and dust bathe in there. I imagine once its in the run, they'll have bugs and whatnot to forage for but I'm thinking a tractor for playing in the grass might be necessary for me. My run right now is a cement pad as its an giant old dog kennel turned to a big ol coopl
     
  4. confusedturtle

    confusedturtle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 6, 2011
    Virginia
    Yes I do let the girls out for an hour or two a day while I tend to the garden and clean out their coop, but I worry that maybe Im not doing enough. They seem happy and are growing like crazy but I always worry that I could be doing more. Right now I fill their little feeder twice a day with starter feed and some DE, and I give them 1-2 corn cobs a day. They also get to forage in their coop and during the times that I let them free range. We are trying to decide if we will build a box/drawer that will hold the sand or if we will use a couple of short sided plastic bins to hold it, either way it will be sitting under the roost in front of the nest boxes. I think if we decide to make the coop stationary then I will use sand in the coop & run. For now I will use the pine bedding since we already have it and I do not know how my back will react to moving the coop and trying to move the plastic bins/drawer that I may use to hold the sand in the coop.
     
  5. confusedturtle

    confusedturtle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Virginia
    My chicks had a dust bath but we got alot of rain and it became a mud bath. I took it out, drained it and tried to let it dry out so I could put it back in but by then the girls had decided to make their own LoL! We also used the xl dog crates for ours until we had the coop/run built, they are very handy and I think I will definitely keep them around to use as a quarentine area, for newbies or whatever else i come up with [​IMG]
     
  6. Hope49_DH

    Hope49_DH Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 20, 2011
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    What we did is put a small kiddy pool in the run on top of the sand, then toss alfalfa that we can get from the feed store loose for a buck a bag, or for more fun, toss a shovel full of dirt, or a piece of sod. Anything to give them interest.
     
  7. farmerinKC

    farmerinKC Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 5, 2011
    Kansas City, Missouri
    I think I'm in the same situation as you are, OP. We built a coop style tractor and we have moved it once a week. The grass is completely destroyed and has turned into yucky poo filled mud if it has rained [​IMG] Not good for my chickens. So, we have decided to make it stationary and modify the run so we can make it a sand run. I am really hoping it will work out [​IMG] We don't have a big enough yard to be moving it around-we discovered. We would have absolutely no grass left in another 4 weeks. [​IMG] I hope yours works out. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2011
  8. PoppiesChicks

    PoppiesChicks Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 14, 2011
    We have sand in our coop and run. Only half of the run is covered. I love,love,love sand. I scoop the big poops in the coop in the morning when I let them out and throw in some DE. There is no smell and no flies. I do the same for the sand in the run. I scoop what big poops I see in the evening and rake it to dry it out when it rains. We don't have any smell or a fly problem. I left a small part of the run sectioned off for a salad bar for the chickens. It was grass when I put the chickens in and they turned it to dirt very quickly. I re-planted and put chicken wire over so they couldn't scratch it all out. Hope this helps. Good luck!
     

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