Cleaning sand in coop- strong odor


In the Brooder
7 Years
May 4, 2012
Hi all!

When we moved our chicks outside I decided to use sand in their coop based on people on here saying it is easy to clean and relatively odorless. I, unfortunately, have not gotten those results.

I try cleaning every day using a cat litter scoop. It is a very tedious process, even though my coop is small. It also never gets as clean as I want it. Is there San easier, faster, and better way to clean the coop?

The coop also has a very strong odor, even though I clean it so often. Is there anything I can do to help get the smell away?

One of the biggest problems I have is that their food ends up all over the floor and it goes right through the holes in the litter scoop so I can never get the floor fully clean like I want.

Thank you for any tips you have!
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10 Years
Aug 30, 2010
Wichita, KS
Is your sand staying dry, or is it damp? And how is the ventilation in your coop?

The main idea is to keep things as dry and well ventilated as possible. One of the main reasons folks like to use sand is that If it gets wet, it will dry out faster than just about any other coop/run flooring/bedding material (e.g. wood chips, straw, dirt, etc.), and won't rot/decompose (although wet poop and/or food in the sand can still do so).

But even with sand, you will also need good drainage and ventilation to let any accumulated moisture run out or evaporate. So if your coop/run is trapping moisture in, you may have a problem. Make sure you have good drainage, and keep windows / etc. as wide-open as you can, weather permitting.

Finally, there will always be a little bit of "smell" involved w/ keeping livestock -- it can be kept down, but think that it's somewhat unrealistic to expect to eliminate in entirely. Really strong odors / ammonia / lots of flies / etc. indicate that you've got a problem that needs attention. But a little bit of mild "animal" scent is par for the course.


In the Brooder
7 Years
May 4, 2012
Thank you for your response!

We have lots of ventilation. A window, plus many open areas around the top near the roof. The sand is also dry, and I have never seen any insects.

I started using a rake to clean today, which seems to be a lot easier. I also added in sweet pdz and I already love it. It just seems so much better than the sand.

I think my main problem smell-wise is their water. They soil it immediately and it is hard to clean as it is mounted to the wall.


8 Years
Oct 6, 2011
I use sand in all my coops, and I must say that I really like it. It is easy to clean and in hot days my girls love digging a hole to cool down.
I understand that daily cleaning can become tedious but is a tedious chore that pays off. One thing to keep in mind is you don't have to pick every little piece of food or poop. I clean my coop twice daily, in the morning I clean the poop from the night, this way it's all clean for the girls when bedtime comes. Once inside the chicken house, I clean the run, so it is clean for next day.
I tried letting go for a couple of days and never again, 5 to 10 minutes turned into 45 to 1 hour. The great thing about sad is that runny poop is easy to clean. The downside is it can create alot of dust while cleaning, hence why I only pick big poop.
To add a touch of nice fresh scent, I planted Sweet Mint in different points of the coops. Everyday I trim some leaves and soak them in warm water, I mist spray it on the sand after cleaning it, very light to avoid wetting the sand and with mint a little bit goes along way.
I also place mint leaves in the windows, so as the air flows, it carries a nice mint scent and it keeps mice away.
In order to avoid water spills, I place the waterer on top of two far no poop and no spills.
My chicks were wasting alot of food, so now I place a lid under their feeder. I only add as much as I know they will eat in one day, once the feeder is empty they have no other choice but to eat what is on the box lid.

The waterer...


In the Brooder
5 Years
Apr 28, 2014
Love the idea about the mint.
We are just starting out with raising chickens....well, my boyfriend is. I have raised chickens in the past, but you have given me some good ideas....thanks. :)

We are building a 4x8 stationary coop with 4 nesting boxes. Prolly going to have 6-8 chickens in this coop. And, made a moveable coop made out of PVC pipe and chicken wire. There are a lot of predators around (cats and dogs mainly) and can't let them free-range.
I have been doing some research and came up with using sand for the bedding. I think that is the best way to go.

Also, another site for some good useful information.....


5 Years
Jul 10, 2014
I had chickens years ago and let them free range, but the coyotes got them all. This time I have a small coop up by the house and am limiting myself to pets. I am having so much fun with this! I installed an inexpensive water device called a Coop Queen and it is magic!! It only took my 2 month olds about an hour to figure it out and now they have cold fresh water with no mess! I installed the bucket inside one of the nest boxes that we won't need because of the limited number of hens. I put ice in the bucket as it is really hot here and in the winter I think it will be easy to warm the water this way. For the feed I made a 3" pvc feeder that seems to want to get plugged up and the feed doesn't "flow" the way I think it should. It is in an exposed area of the run so may be getting wet with morning dew?? Not sure. Any ideas?? I bought the Coop Queen waterer on a amazon and had it in 2 days. About $30 for 4 founts. Have fun with your chickens~


In the Brooder
5 Years
Feb 21, 2014
I have posted that I LOVE using sand, but I do not keep food and water in my coop. The reason sand takes care of the poop odor is because it dries the poop and pee. The food is likely soaking up any liquid from water, poop and pee and causing your coop to smell (probably terrible). I see a lot of good suggestions on here, but as long as you have food and water inside the actual coop, I can't see cleaning or odor improving too much. :/

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