Anyone do deep litter over sand?

enigmachick

Chirping
Apr 29, 2020
72
62
81
Central Illinois
So I was all set to do my (raised bed) run and coop floor out of sand, but using river sand in the brooder WAY disillusioned me with it (awful, every chick's feet matted up with poop, scooping it out 4-5 times a day, COLD even in a warm house). However, when I put some aspen shavings over the sand it felt like the clouds parted! The chicks are so interested in digging themselves bathing holes through the shavings to the sand that they are constantly moving the shavings, covering old holes to dig new ones, the smell is lovely and the poops seem to be getting turned under and drying out, I went to replace the shavings after about a day and almost all of it was fresh so now I'm just adding a thin layer daily for a few days before replacing. The room the chicks are in has no poop odor any more and their feet are beautifully clean (except one who picked up some poop from a sandy portion, lol).

Anyway, what I'm wondering is, does anyone use this sort of method for a run/coop? In my mind you get the benefit of the birds constantly turning the bedding, the drainage of sand and the dust bath ability but without the miserable poopy feet and constant scooping, plus gives the birds something to do scratching through all the shavings? Just a thought, super curious what ya'll think since I haven't filled the run with anything yet! All I know is the brooders went from a miserable mess to a delightful experience, it feels like the chicks don't even poop anymore 😂. I've never had a run or adult birds so I'm all ears! (Also my chicks are quail but I felt the practical difference wouldn't matter in this case).
 
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enigmachick

Chirping
Apr 29, 2020
72
62
81
Central Illinois
But I will say I *think* you mean "deep bedding" as opposed to "deep litter." Deep litter is usually VERY deep and involves composting the material.
Yes I think you're right! I'm thinking of this in "dry" terms not wet so I probably did use the wrong terminology there 😂👍🏻

I'm also not sure how often a "deep bedding" situation would need to be fully replaced (except the sand part), maybe I'm just in a honeymoon period with it right now 😂. Hopefully some that have been there done that will shed some light here 👍🏻
 

aart

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but using river sand in the brooder WAY disillusioned me with it (awful, every chick's feet matted up with poop,
Did me too, now I only use it on the poop boards.
Actually I use straight granulated PDZ, way better than sand.

my (raised bed) run and coop floor
What does this mean, pics?

the drainage of sand and the dust bath ability
Sand will only help drainage in a run if there's somewhere for any excess water to go.
Good drainage(either with slope of land or trenches) of the ground in the run is important.
They will likely scratch up and mix the litter and sand.
If you have good sandy soil in your run, they will dig down and make a dust bath.

Would help to know.....
Where in this world are you located?
Climate, and time of year, is almost always a factor.
Please add your general geographical location to your profile.
It's easy to do, and then it's always there!
1636113378049.png
 

3KillerBs

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I live in the Sandhills, so sand is my natural soil and I have Deep Litter on top of it in Neuchickenstein and in the run.

In my Little Monitor Coop I had Deep Bedding on plywood. I don't think that putting sand under the bedding would have done anything but increase dust and reduce absorbency. :)

I agree with @aart in that drainage is mainly about how the lay of the land and the management of water off the structures affects waterflow.

I can imagine that there are cases where adding sand to a particular type of soil might help, but from gardening I know that adding organic material is almost always the way to go when trying to improve the texture of soil in either direction.
 

enigmachick

Chirping
Apr 29, 2020
72
62
81
Central Illinois
Did me too, now I only use it on the poop boards.
Actually I use straight granulated PDZ, way better than sand.


What does this mean, pics?


Sand will only help drainage in a run if there's somewhere for any excess water to go.
Good drainage(either with slope of land or trenches) of the ground in the run is important.
They will likely scratch up and mix the litter and sand.
If you have good sandy soil in your run, they will dig down and make a dust bath.

Would help to know.....
Where in this world are you located?
Climate, and time of year, is almost always a factor.
Please add your general geographical location to your profile.
It's easy to do, and then it's always there!
View attachment 2888457
Yes let me clarify 👍🏻 I don't have a picture yet as the raised bed is stored inside since I don't have a roof built yet, but basically it's just a simple raised bed with a plywood bottom over concrete. We built it with 2x6's expecting to use sand, I'm guessing bedding might need something deeper as it will take up much more room. 🤔 We are planning on building a roof/shed around the whole thing for weather/security purposes so rain drainage is really not too much of a factor for us, but could certainly be for a lot of people.

I'm in Central Illinois area, have added to profile, thank you for showing me how!
 

enigmachick

Chirping
Apr 29, 2020
72
62
81
Central Illinois
I live in the Sandhills, so sand is my natural soil and I have Deep Litter on top of it in Neuchickenstein and in the run.

In my Little Monitor Coop I had Deep Bedding on plywood. I don't think that putting sand under the bedding would have done anything but increase dust and reduce absorbency. :)

I agree with @aart in that drainage is mainly about how the lay of the land and the management of water off the structures affects waterflow.

I can imagine that there are cases where adding sand to a particular type of soil might help, but from gardening I know that adding organic material is almost always the way to go when trying to improve the texture of soil in either direction.
I am wondering if my impression of the wonderfulness of the shavings is just because shavings are superior to sand or if having the sand underneath is affecting their performance and making them better. As an experiment I have in one brooder the sand under and in another brooder just paper towel underneath to see if any functional advantage becomes obvious.
 

3KillerBs

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
Jul 10, 2009
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I am wondering if my impression of the wonderfulness of the shavings is just because shavings are superior to sand or if having the sand underneath is affecting their performance and making them better. As an experiment I have in one brooder the sand under and in another brooder just paper towel underneath to see if any functional advantage becomes obvious.

I brooded with shavings right on the plywood:

0925211309.jpg


The paper towels were used on top of the shavings only for the first couple days so that the chicks wouldn't eat the shavings instead of their food. :)
 

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