bedding for a concrete base chicken house?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Sage874, Jul 31, 2013.

  1. Sage874

    Sage874 Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 22, 2012
    Well, I hate to bother you folks, I know how busy summer is but I have a question.
    I've had chickens for years until I got hurt, bad fall long story but! this year I did get some more.

    In the older hen house they poured a deep concrete pad and built on top of it using pressure treated base
    and up, then cedar shingles outside and a real shingled roof (which leaks grrr and needs fixing asap).

    Way back I used shavings, lotsa shavings. It used to kill me to clean the doggone thing.
    This year I was given a broody easter egger with new peeps so I tossed a barrel of loose shaving in.

    The house is BIG. 12x15. I found the lighter bedding was easy to rake regularly cept for the leaky spots.

    My question, after reading quite a bit is this; should I use sand, a bit of shavings or nothing?

    Nothing seems colder, damper? I have a bad neck and other injuries so easy is best for me, BUT
    I want them to be happy and healthy too.

    Up in the bantam house I use straw. The floor is pressure treated wood. Bantams are so much cleaner.
    However, they'll be going back to the big house soon one night.

    Will the cochin roo take a fancy to my hens hehe.
    That'd be nice. All my chickens are quite gentle but I know pecking orders must be established.
    I need the wee house for my hatchlings soon.
    Thanks in advance.
  2. redsoxs

    redsoxs Chicken Obsessed

    Jul 17, 2011
    North Central Kansas
    I use prairie hay - cheap, easy to clean out and replace. I use the used stuff in the garden as mulch around my tomatoes. I also think on a concrete base sand would work well.
  3. Sage874

    Sage874 Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 22, 2012
    well it is coming fall here so I guess even tho there isn't much feedback I am going to order in some washed masonary sand.
    I figure it'll pack down well, they can pic n eat it, and I can lay a bit of star on top and rake daily to keep the poo out.
    Wish I had a man to do this heavy stuff! but it'll get done.
  4. mandelyn

    mandelyn Overrun With Chickens

    Aug 30, 2009
    Mt Repose, OH
    My Coop
    Sand is great! A lot cheaper too. Instead of removing a bunch of shavings every clean out, and then buying more, you're basically removing poo only and the sand stays. Mix in Sweet PDZ stall refresher and some DE, and you're all set for odor control, bug reduction, and easy cleaning.

    We recently revamped the roost and nesting, they were independent of each other and the over night poo piles landed right on the floor. Had to bend and stretch to get to it. We built a table, 7x2.5 ft there about. Put an edge around the table of 2x2's to hold the sand. Installed a roost bar about 6 inches above the table. Took the plastic bin nest boxes and installed them below the table, only about 8 inches off the ground (could have been higher to retain the floor space, but then we would have needed to build a ladder for roost access, I have one with a bum leg that needs easy access)

    No more bending! Overnight mess is easily gotten with a cat litter scoop right there at the height of my belly button. Takes all of 5 seconds. Then I grab the odd day time pile off the floor and I'm done. I do that once a day, and never have the hours long total clean out. No reason for it.

    With the run, it's a mix of pea gravel, sand, and shavings. 3 times a year I dump a bag and a half of shavings, just enough to cover the surface. The birds churn it all in. I then go through and grab obvious poo piles... the rest gets mixed in and composts right there. Smells nice and earthy after a rain, not like a wet stinky chicken run. Haven't gutted it out in over a year. Will need to when the composted soil gets built up, but that hasn't happened yet.

    You'll want to prevent the leaky spots from hardening. Keep it loose, after a rain churn it and let it dry. When it gets compacted, and rained on repeatedly, it can turn into a mold spot, specially if feed is mixed in. I have one leaky spot I have to watch, and keep the bedding below dry.

    But yeah, ever since we switched to sand, the cost and work has dropped significantly. I have bought 4 bags of shavings this year, compared to 24 bags a year previously. My only cleaning tools are a cat litter scoop and 5 gallon bucket, and a gravel rake for the run if it starts looking compacted. Sometimes the chickens don't spend much time in there stirring it for me.

    Before... had to have the wheel barrow, shovel, rake, etc. Not to mention the quick growth of compost. Compost doesn't get over loaded with pine shavings any more. Now it's mostly poo and greens, and it breaks down quicker.

    Sand dries the poo out fast, which is what is helping the most in keeping odors down. You'll want it about 3-4 inches thick. You can put shavings or hay down in the winter for added fluff and insulation.

    If the sand starts getting bogged down with small bits and I have time to kill, I'll sift it with a screen strainer and it looks just like new after. Have only needed to add about 2 bags of sand to it this year, for a whopping $6. Play sand is the best though, it has the least amount of dust to it. Washed sand will do. Unwashed will be very dusty.
  5. Sage874

    Sage874 Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 22, 2012
    Wow thanks! I love your idea. Think I will look into building something like what you did.
  6. Sage874

    Sage874 Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 22, 2012
    man I love this thanks! works a trick and it so clean. No more flies or stinkum! Bless yer suggestion.
  7. anirishfarmer

    anirishfarmer Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 25, 2013
    jobs a goodin on the sand mandelyn [​IMG]

    i have similar set up with concrete underneath

    i use shredded car tires and lift the poop in a big bin with holes in it

    then ever week i wash the bin out with a hose and then put it back in the run

    Health and happiness

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