Coop Sand Management -- How to clean it after months of chicken deposits

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Chicken.Lytle, Apr 4, 2012.

  1. Chicken.Lytle

    Chicken.Lytle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 19, 2010
    Montgomery County, TX
    My coops all have sandy floors instead of pine shavings. I love the easy cleanup in the little coops using a cat litter scoop. In the big coop, not so much. It sure looks great when new.

    I plan to make a sand screen to let me quickly shovel the sand into a filter screen to remove the big stuff. This will save me a lot of time. But what to do with the stinky sand that has wet or small "extras"?

    I read that somebody here washes their sand and dries it on a tarp. This sounds like what I need to do, but what are the detailed mechanics of washing sand? What should I do with the runoff water?

  2. californiagirl

    californiagirl Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 19, 2011
    Yucaipa, CA
    I have a thin layer of sand in my 6x8 coop, and I just scoop it every morning. Once a week I use a little rake and mix it all up to keep it fresh. I don't have any problem with odor and the small bits just break down eventually. I have 8 hens and they free range during the day, so all I have to clean are the night poops which tend to be rather large and grassy, but still easy to scoop.

    Are you using sand box sand or washed all-purpose sand in your coop? The sand box sand tends to clump and not dry as quickly because it's milled so fine. How many chickens do you have in your coop and what size is it? Do they free range at all or does the poop build up all day and night? Do you use DE? I haven't used it, but a lot of people say it really helps.
  3. Chicken.Lytle

    Chicken.Lytle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 19, 2010
    Montgomery County, TX
    I use Play Sand from Lowes. No DE, as I consider it a waste of money based on my experience.

    What other grades of sand would be appropriate? There is a dirt yard in town that has the following:

    • bank sand
    • moartar sand
    • while/brown concrete sand
    • torpedo sand
    • sharp sand
    • play sand
  4. Mattemma

    Mattemma Overrun With Chickens

    Aug 12, 2009
    When I tried sand in my coop I got from home depot the cheapest sand in bags.General purpose I think it was.It had wee bits of gravel in it.I got a few bags this year to toss around my coop where there is no grass. Only reason I removed it from the coop was it got wet often(leaks and wicking) and gave off a funky smell.
  5. FireTigeris

    FireTigeris Tyger! Tyger! burning bright

    I'm removing mine in garbage cans and selling it...
  6. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2008
    Jacksonville, Florida
    I clean my coops and pens daily, no sand inside the coops only the pens. Soiled sand ends up in the compost pen. Here, it's cheaper to buy a cubic yard of sand from a landscaping company, $25. A cubic and a half will fill the bed of my truck. I usually try to keep it about 4-5 inches deep to last through the year. My pens require about 3 truckloads.
  7. Chicken.Lytle

    Chicken.Lytle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 19, 2010
    Montgomery County, TX
    "Enriched sand"! I will ask a hardcore gardening friend if he can use it. There is more sand than I can use as a soil amendment.
  8. chynasparks

    chynasparks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 21, 2013
    I hope you are still following this thread. I don't see that you got an answer to the mechanics of washing sand. I sure would like to know how. I've been using sand. It's only a month old rains have kept it damp. I've scooped regularly but today I went in to turn the sand all up to help it dry, it stunk. I guess I mismanaged the sand. I feel bad because it was working great. I'm still happy with it because I'm not having to shovel shavings out all the time. I can't have a stinky coop. This weekend I'm going to remove about 2/3rds of it an replace it. I've used PDZ and DE. I was hoping it would last longer than this.

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