Can I use this sand as bedding for chicks?


Nov 22, 2020
I've got some chicks around 11 days old. I am facing trouble with the bedding in the brooder. I've tried using paper towels, but they get wet and shredded within hours.

Now considering using sand that is left over from a construction project - it is used locally in concrete and mortar. Can I use it as a bedding for my chicks? I placed some to test and they seem to want to eat it (maybe for grit?)/


Some sand particles on a thumb for conveying scale:

my instinct is also no. they shouldnt need grit if they're only on chick starter and I'd worry theyd get too much sand on accident trying to get dropped chick feed. I put chicks on a raised mesh floor with a trash bag as a plastic floor for what drops through the mesh.
I used sand in my brooder this past spring and I LOVED it! It was play sand from Home Depot. I scooped it with a reptile scoop (like a kitty litter scoop but with smaller holes, so the small poops don't fall through). It was very easy and convenient to clean, and I didn't have to keep throwing out soiled bedding (like you would with shavings, paper towels and other materials). So cheaper and less wasteful, too. Chicks are curious and will try to eat anything new you put in the brooder, especially during the first few days when they don't yet know what food is. They will try to eat the pine shavings, too. That's just what they do. That's why I covered up the sand with paper towels for the first 3-4 days, so they wouldn't gorge themselves on it. They still ate some, but not too much. Eventually they learned where their food was, and left the sand alone. They enjoyed scratching through the sand and dust-bathing in it. I have another batch of eggs in the incubator right now and will use sand again with the new chicks.

My only concern regarding sand would be if has a lot of fine particles, it may get dusty and could cause problems if they inhale it. It's hard to tell if yours would be dusty or not... even with the picture with the thumb (good idea to post it!) - some of it might be larger particles like on your thumb, but there might still be finer dust at the bottom of the bag/bucket. Play sand isn't dusty - it's meant for kids to be able to play in it without inhaling it, too - so it should be safe. If in doubt, just get a bag of play sand. They're not expensive.
Some folks do fine with sand, while others don't; I know I see a lot of posts every single year where people are seeking advice for chicks who have crops full of sand, seeking an emergency treatment for it, etc. So it's iffy. I would recommend a better water solution so that the bedding doesn't get so wet in the first place - vertical poultry nipples.

Then maybe check out aspen shavings - smaller than pine shavings, so it sticks better to the poop, can be raked out with litter scoop.
Thanks to everyone who replied.

I eventually did put sand in the brooder, and the chicks survived fine on it. Kept them in it for around 2 months, till the end of January.
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