My yard is made of sand so that's what my run has in it. I've found it to be fast-draining when it rains and perfect to rake the poo off of. Also, it's great for dust bathing. It can get compacted though after a few years of decomposing poo, so I use a heavy metal rake to fluff it up every other day or so.
after all the grass has died etc and right now we're having a week of rain.... it's a mud hole in the run. We are going to be getting enough sand (as requested by a BYC member to whom i asked a similiar question) to cover the run a couple inches deep. We are going to keep a section uncovered with sand for the spring so grass will grow for them. I haven't run across the cleaning of it yet so i'm not sure about that. I would like to know that answer myself. I figure they will eat the sand too and help with their digestion. So to me that's a plus in it if nothing else. IMO wet sand is better than mud anyday....
also, my birds LOVE LOVE LOVE fresh pulled grass anytime they can get it. We don't mow under our trampoline every other time so it gets a little high under there and we go pull grass for them. they love it. I think if you make sure they have natural things like that too then go for it!
We got over six inches of rain in 2 days. When I went to collect eggs Sat. I almost took a header in the coop. I loaded up the wheelbarrel with 2 loads of wet sand left over from another project and dumped it in there...Much better! The chixs spent the rest of the day making sandcastles in their water bowl but aside from that I love sand! How is it when it dries out in summer? Are the fleas bad?
I have a sand question. From my horse experience I know a horse can get sand colic from taking in sand that accumulates in it's stomach and is not passed, usually over a long period of time. Would this happen to chickens or is their system so that they will pass any excess? I have also thought of putting sand in my run, especially lately with all the rain we have had.
Yes, what about summer when I walk on hot sand with my bare feet its well hot. How is it to a chicken? Would someone please ask their chicken for me? What about fleas? Please list all the PROS and CONS.
I have a fair size pen and if I put it in I do not want to take it out.
Thanks for your reply.
We recently filled in the base of our open-air coop with deep sand. We have clay soil - i.e. very poor drainage. Over the last few years, the coop floor fell below the surrounding ground level, which made the situation even worse.
Now the coop floor is sand and several inches higher than the surrounding ground level. It is so much better - dries quickly after the rain comes in from the side! I periodically scrape off the surface poop, which is dry and easy to collect. I am still looking for a better tool than a manure shovel - need a giant litter box scoop! And of course, I should do the cleaning more often than I do. Nonetheless - the sand floor is a vast improvement on our old dirt floor or shavings in our environment.
I originally got the idea from the Greenfire Farms website. They also are in Florida and have open air coops, so rain comes in from the sides. You can see their coop construction on their website - look at the blog titles. Since they have such pricey birds, I figure that they wouldn't use the sand floor if it created health issues, similar to sand colic in horses. So far, I am not aware of any problems in my birds related to ingesting sand.
You're right about sand in the sun; I wouldn't put it in unless my run had shaded areas.
I've read that sand fleas don't infest the coarse sand as much as they do the very fine playground type sand.
You could try putting a couple of bags of sand down under your perches, to see how you like it. Sand dries the poops out (which cuts down/eliminates smells), and makes 'em easy to pick up with a scoop.