Deep litter with sand

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by marlene, Oct 9, 2011.

  1. marlene

    marlene Songster

    Aug 17, 2011
    I want to get rid of the straw and try the deep litter with sand, what sand do i need? builders sand has chemicals in it which can't be good for the chickens. So what sand do you all use?

  2. BrokenRoadFarm

    BrokenRoadFarm Chirping

    Jun 10, 2011
    North Central NC
    We use play sand from Lowe's for our run. The girls love their beach! [​IMG]
  3. marlene

    marlene Songster

    Aug 17, 2011
    I was thinking it would have to be play sand, here in uk a small bag of play sand is about £5 so not cheap, how deep should it be?
  4. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Free Ranging Premium Member

    Apr 3, 2011
    southern Ohio
    I have a creek that runs through my property, making it easy to get sand. If you check with a sand and gravel dealer you could probably save by having it hauled in a truckload. Those places will load it in your truck also, reducing the cost.

  5. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Crowing

    May 8, 2007
    For larger amounts of sand, a sand and gravel dealer is definitely the way to go. It's a lot cheaper than play sand. I've used play sand when I just need a small amount of sand for a project. For large projects, we've taken our pick-up truck over and bought a load.

    Using deep litter and sand are different methods of managing a coop.

    With sand, you scoop the litter every day like a cat litter box and every once in a great while change it out to clean sand.

    With deep litter, you use a litter that's organic matter and compostable, usually wood shavings. Instead of cleaning out the entire coop weekly or on some other frequent schedule, you usually clean it out once a year. In between, you manage it by adding additional clean litter as needed.

    You allow the litter to start breaking down and let the healthy microbes like those in a compost pile or on a forest floor work on it. You basically manage the litter like you would a compost pile, although usually not as hot as some compost piles are run. The coop shouldn't be stinky or something is out of balance.
  6. bluebird

    bluebird Crowing

    Feb 4, 2008
    My Coop
    We have a wood floor in our coop and I have been using both. I put a thin layer of sand down first and then several inches of shavings on top. Sand keeps poo from sticking to the floor when the girls dig thru all the shavings.
  7. LiLRedCV

    LiLRedCV Songster

    Aug 25, 2010
    Land of the Rain
    We have linoleum floors in our new coop and are using the deep litter method. It's our first time... we mixed pine shavings and shredded paper into it and have about 3" in there. So far, so good. But then we're only about a month (or shy of a month) into it. We'll see how it goes and if it doesn't "work", we'll be switching to sand.

  8. ontimeborzoi

    ontimeborzoi Songster

    Nov 13, 2008
    Northern Neck of Va
    Been keeping chickens for about seven years and until recently have used deep litter and was happy with it. But my newest coops are quite close to my house and I noticed that I could smell the litter...not bad, but enough that I would expect visitors to notice. So I switched to sand in the larger of the two coops to see what I thought. The sand performs exactly as others describe...poop dries and is easy peasy to scoop out. No smell and also no tracking of shavings out of the coops and into my house, a big perk. But I must say, walking into the coop and treading on sand is strange. I liked the fluffy soft footing. : ) Sand is gritty sounding underfoot and psychologically cold. The girls used to love to hunker down in the shavings and lounge about and they don't do that in the sand.
    So I haven't decided yet which I prefer. Maybe sand in summer and shavings on top of it in winter? Would that work or will the shavings mix irretrievably with the sand and defeat the whole sand thing? No question that the sand is cleaner.
  9. marlene

    marlene Songster

    Aug 17, 2011
    Thanks for the replies and suggestions, i am doing the deep litter with straw at present but have heard so many positive comments about the sand that i was interested in trying it, but if its warmer with the straw i might keep that for now as winter is coming and supposed to be very cold here in uk this year.
    Going back to the sand, some of you suggested buying in bulk from dealers as it works out cheaper, it would definatelly be cheaper but the only dealers i know of in uk that sell sand in bulk is builders merchants and i think builders sand has chemicals in it so i would assume this is no good for chickens is it?

  10. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Crowing

    Mar 31, 2008
    Grifton NC
    builders sand has chemicals in it

    There are no chemicals added to anything sold as "sand"

    It's approved for use in growing ORGANIC plants

    Sand. Sand in a growing mix can make a difference. Coarse sand — called builder's sand — is best​

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