Anyone do deep litter over sand?

aart

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Nov 27, 2012
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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!
As long as the concrete slab(?) is high enough above the surrounding ground,
drainage shouldn't be a problem.
Not sure why you'd need a plywood bottom tho.
 

NatJ

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Mar 20, 2017
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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 would not expect the sand under the shavings to make much difference in how well the shavings do, but I don't know for sure. I will be quite interested in what you find out from your comparison!
 

enigmachick

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Apr 29, 2020
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So...opinion from a few cycles of cleaning and watching the chicks. I feel like the chicks in the brooders with sand underneath are happier, more active "foraging" and definitely turn over the shavings more, those shavings seem to stay fluffier and cleaner longer than ones with just shavings over paper towel.

If cleaning were not an issue I would say shavings over sand wins.

However, having to clean those brooders with a scoop (like for reptile aquariums) to separate the shavings from the sand is much more labor intensive than just dumping a bin of shavings and the tiny bits of wood splinters that remain in the sand could harbor more bacteria over time.

Altogether, I have increased this system to 2 of my 3 brooders, but I don't know if I'll do it this way next time simply because of the excess cleaning. HOWEVER I could see doing this in a run/coop that could be cleaned with a larger rake possibly.

It's also worth mentioning the sand I used is very different from what is sold at the hardware store. It was the river sand by jurassic sands, fantastic for no dust (I couldn't believe the dust that came off the hardware store sand!) but it does clump up on their feet and was not good in my brooders without shavings on top.
 

NatJ

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So...opinion from a few cycles of cleaning and watching the chicks...
Thank you for the detailed update! The cleaning differences make sense, but I would not have expected the difference in how the chicks relate to the bedding. That is very interesting.
 

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