Deep Litter or Sand

Old-clucker-55

Chirping
Dec 1, 2019
25
77
56
NW Iowa
would what you do in your run work in mine as I have a covered run and a concrete floor?
What kind of bedding you use may depend on how you manage the manure.
This is about cleaning, but covers my big picture

-I use poop boards under roosts with thin(<1/2") layer of sand/PDZ mix, sifted daily(takes 5-10mins) into bucket going to friends compost.
-Scrape big or wet poops off roost and ramps as needed.
-Pine shavings on coop floor, add some occasionally, totally changed out once or twice a year, old shavings added to run.
- My runs have semi-deep litter(cold composting), never clean anything out, just add smaller dry materials on occasion, add larger wood chippings as needed.
Aged ramial wood chippings are best IMO.
-Nests are bedded with straw, add some occasionally, change out if needed(broken egg).
There is no odor, unless a fresh cecal has been dropped and when I open the bucket to add more poop.
That's how I keep it 'clean', have not found any reason to clean 'deeper' in 5 years.


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View attachment 2016749
 

Onyx961

Chirping
Mar 15, 2018
28
92
74
Ok... here is my problem and inquiry.....I am in Georgia. We have been having far more rain than usual. I have had over 8 inches of rain in less than 2 months. I have had flooding, not just in my chicken coop but my entire farm (cow pastures have been underwater too). I am stuggling to give my feathered babies a dry place to go. Since I am going to have to totally clean out the coop due to flooding, I was considering going to sand - in hopes of faster drainage and faster drying. I have never had flooding in my coop and I have had my chickens for more than 8 years so. My chickens free range, I let them out in the mornings and count and secure the coop at sunset, so they aren't in the coop except to lay eggs and sleep. I am wanting to hear advice, experience, and/or other input to help me and my feathered children! Thanks! Y'all are the best!!!
 

Folly's place

Crossing the Road
8 Years
Sep 13, 2011
18,067
24,197
906
southern Michigan
I've never used sand, although my soil here is sandy loam over straight 'builder's sand' at least ten feet deep.
I like shavings or chips, plant materials, some hay maybe, as a better coop and run surface. You do need to fix the drainage though.
Sand appears to work best in dry climates, with very few birds, and daily poop scooping. It still will accumulate 'smelly stuff', and get nasty over time. Then, it's very very heavy to move out!
There are a number of threads here about people giving up on sand, and in humid conditions it seems like a poor idea.
Deep bedding can get shoveled out to the garden one to three times per year, a miserable job, but so infrequently done that it's much less labor intensive. Sometimes gardening neighbors will do it for you, for their compost piles, and that's even better!
Mary
 

Onyx961

Chirping
Mar 15, 2018
28
92
74
I've never used sand, although my soil here is sandy loam over straight 'builder's sand' at least ten feet deep.
I like shavings or chips, plant materials, some hay maybe, as a better coop and run surface. You do need to fix the drainage though.
Sand appears to work best in dry climates, with very few birds, and daily poop scooping. It still will accumulate 'smelly stuff', and get nasty over time. Then, it's very very heavy to move out!
There are a number of threads here about people giving up on sand, and in humid conditions it seems like a poor idea.
Deep bedding can get shoveled out to the garden one to three times per year, a miserable job, but so infrequently done that it's much less labor intensive. Sometimes gardening neighbors will do it for you, for their compost piles, and that's even better!
Mary
Drainage fixes are only possible when the rain stops falling. I have never had drainage issues for over 8 y
I've never used sand, although my soil here is sandy loam over straight 'builder's sand' at least ten feet deep.
I like shavings or chips, plant materials, some hay maybe, as a better coop and run surface. You do need to fix the drainage though.
Sand appears to work best in dry climates, with very few birds, and daily poop scooping. It still will accumulate 'smelly stuff', and get nasty over time. Then, it's very very heavy to move out!
There are a number of threads here about people giving up on sand, and in humid conditions it seems like a poor idea.
Deep bedding can get shoveled out to the garden one to three times per year, a miserable job, but so infrequently done that it's much less labor intensive. Sometimes gardening neighbors will do it for you, for their compost piles, and that's even better!
Mary
I have been using deep litter and have never had drainage issues until this unusual amount of rain. The entire state has had flooding
 

Folly's place

Crossing the Road
8 Years
Sep 13, 2011
18,067
24,197
906
southern Michigan
I agree that you've had RAIN, in spades. But, it could happen again, so try to make it easier to manage.
Our attached garage is very wet this month, because of the very wet year we've had here, and it's miserable! $$$ to spend this spring on a French drain or something in there.
Mary
 

rosemarythyme

Free Ranging
Jul 3, 2016
7,086
13,778
642
WA, Pac NW
My Coop
My Coop
If the coop is flooding (does it sit on the dirt? elevated? concrete pad?) the bedding doesn't matter - it's going to be saturated no matter what is in there. Can you at least throw down some pallets or extra bedding for the time being to give them something to stand on (I understand that might be impossible if it's bad). Best you can do is clean it out completely once the flooding is over and put in fresh dry bedding of your choice.
 

Onyx961

Chirping
Mar 15, 2018
28
92
74
I agree that you've had RAIN, in spades. But, it could happen again, so try to make it easier to manage.
Our attached garage is very wet this month, because of the very wet year we've had here, and it's miserable! $$$ to spend this spring on a French drain or something in there.
Mary
Yes! I have always had trenches all around the coop but am putting in the French drains too (just bought all the supplies). Thanks for the suggestion. I also extended the tin roof to help get water away. Appreciate you giving me feedback. It's just so frustrating and I am super concerned for my girls!!!
 

Onyx961

Chirping
Mar 15, 2018
28
92
74
If the coop is flooding (does it sit on the dirt? elevated? concrete pad?) the bedding doesn't matter - it's going to be saturated no matter what is in there. Can you at least throw down some pallets or extra bedding for the time being to give them something to stand on (I understand that might be impossible if it's bad). Best you can do is clean it out completely once the flooding is over and put in fresh dry bedding of your choice.
Dirt floor under litter. Actually clay which is pretty dry as it doesn't absorb much water. My question is if sand would allow faster drainage and faster drying. Pine, hay, leaves or other such litter does not dry fast. With all this water we have gotten, I have had to remove and replace the pine shavings several times which is extremely unusual since I use deep litter. The deep litter has gotten saturated. Again, extremely unusual rain amounts
 

rosemarythyme

Free Ranging
Jul 3, 2016
7,086
13,778
642
WA, Pac NW
My Coop
My Coop
Dirt floor under litter. Actually clay which is pretty dry as it doesn't absorb much water. My question is if sand would allow faster drainage and faster drying. Pine, hay, leaves or other such litter does not dry fast. With all this water we have gotten, I have had to remove and replace the pine shavings several times which is extremely unusual since I use deep litter.
Even with sand, in the event of flooding, I would still recommend doing a full clean out once flooding ended. But yes it could possibly dry out faster. As I don't use sand I can't test it.

Deep litter actually can dry out pretty fast, provided it has some place to drain to and there's adequate air flow to move the process along. I'm talking about deep litter with wood chips as main component though, not deep bedding which is what it sounds like you have? I do not use shavings in anything other than nest box, as shavings don't provide the drainage that chips do, nor do they break down nice and easy like leaves or grass or other components.

This was what I was dealing with 2 weeks ago (but my coop is elevated, so at least it didn't get in the coop). As you can imagine, there wasn't anything I could do about it at the time other than lock the chickens in. But as bad as this was, the deep litter run drained out and was usable 48 hrs after this photo was taken. The surrounding lawn was too squishy to walk on for about a week.

flooding7.jpg
 

Onyx961

Chirping
Mar 15, 2018
28
92
74
Even with sand, in the event of flooding, I would still recommend doing a full clean out once flooding ended. But yes it could possibly dry out faster. As I don't use sand I can't test it.

Deep litter actually can dry out pretty fast, provided it has some place to drain to and there's adequate air flow to move the process along. I'm talking about deep litter with wood chips as main component though, not deep bedding which is what it sounds like you have? I do not use shavings in anything other than nest box, as shavings don't provide the drainage that chips do, nor do they break down nice and easy like leaves or grass or other components.

This was what I was dealing with 2 weeks ago (but my coop is elevated, so at least it didn't get in the coop). As you can imagine, there wasn't anything I could do about it at the time other than lock the chickens in. But as bad as this was, the deep litter run drained out and was usable 48 hrs after this photo was taken. The surrounding lawn was too squishy to walk on for about a week.

View attachment 2032655
Your place looks like mine. Normally drainage is fine but the ground is so saturated the water has no place to go. I have drainage ditches all around the coop and have for years. I guess I will just have to wait for dry weather. Thank you for your response. I am just frantic to help my little girls!!!
 
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