Insulating qualities of sand?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by hannalice, May 24, 2011.

  1. hannalice

    hannalice In the Brooder

    Jun 13, 2010
    I'm seeing sand all over the place on the forum for use *in* the coop. I'd love to use it, but how well does it insulate the floor in the winter time? My coop isn't insulated, but I used the deep bedding method over this past winter and my girls came through a rough VT winter pretty well. Just wondering whether or not the sand would get cold?
  2. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    The only thing less-insulating and more "cold" underfoot is water or solid ice [​IMG]

    That is why sand is not such a good material for indoors in the North. It is just too cold on their feeties.

    Not exactly so much a matter of insulation per se as the fact that when they stand on it, it conducts the warmth of their feets away from their bodies very, very effectively. Whereas wood shavings or straw or similar materials are insulating-enough to keep the feet pretty warm when the chickens stand on 'em.

    Good luck, have fun,

  3. Basically zero. It will conduct the cold from outside, inside quite rapidly. But, if it stays dry, it will not freeze solid, but stay loose and fun to play in.
    Last edited: May 24, 2011
  4. elmo

    elmo Crowing

    May 23, 2009
    Maybe you could use shavings for the winter, then sand for the rest of the year.
  5. Farmer_Dan

    Farmer_Dan Songster

    Apr 9, 2010
    Quote:the idea of trying to clean wood shavings out of sand each year makes me tremble. [​IMG]

    What about a heating element under the sand to keep it warm?
  6. BlueBetween

    BlueBetween Songster

    Apr 4, 2011
    Near Seattle
    Quote:oooh! beachy!
  7. Our barn has 4 compartments or pens. One is just sandy gravel, or gravelly sand. Our winters see -30. The frost line goes down 4 feet. Yet, that sandy pen was their favorite place in the winter. It stayed loose and dry and they love to dig, bathe and carryon in it. No doubt, it was not one degree warmer than the air temp.
  8. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    The thing is, there's a big difference between them having a sandy patch where they can *choose* to play til they get too cold, versus HAVING to be on cold sand (or up on the roost).

    Being forced to be on bare frozen ground tends to lead to frostbit toes and toeless or footless chickens. I have not actually known anyone up here who's used sand as indoor bedding -- probably for a REASON [​IMG] -- but I am really pretty darn sure you would get the same result as forcing them to be on bare frozen ground.

    The other advantage of shavings is that they can snuggle down into it to be nice and snuggly warm if they are feeling particularly cold some days, something that is totally not a possibility with sand.

  9. bryan99705

    bryan99705 Songster

    Why not run sand with straw over top, give the birds cause to scratch and clean easy with a pitchfork? Alturnative is, for the winter, throw down cardboard or plywood and bedding when pull it in the spring
  10. Noymira

    Noymira Songster

    Mar 9, 2011
    Chittenden County, VT
    Quote:I was reading on this as well! [​IMG] Nice to see another VT'er!

    I think we will stick with shavings, cheaper than sand and I think it will work better in our 10'x10' coop. We are insulating, but not heating our coop, so any extra help we can get keeping the girls warm in the winter will be appreciated.

    We are using a dropping board under our roost to help make cleanup faster. Plus I'm a gardener, so the used shavings and dropping with be great next year in the gardens after they've composted for a few months!

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: