Is Sand cooler?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by L2fly, Mar 21, 2017.

  1. L2fly

    L2fly Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi All, I'm in the planning stages of my first chicken adventure, and am considering what to use for coop floor-cover and run ground-cover. I'm thinking, pine shavings in coop (it has a slide-out pan under roosts that will help make cleaning easy) and sand (on dirt) in the run. One consideration for the sand is it gets triple digits for several weeks in the summer, a very dry heat, and I've heard the sand can be cooler, letting the girls dig little cool holes in the shade.

    Here is my coop & run:

    [​IMG]


    So, 4 inches of sand, scooped with a long-handled kitty-litter type scoop, maybe mixed with that stuff that makes it smell a little better (PVE? PCE? I forgot what it was called!) and some food-grade DE. I really don't have space for a big compost pile, I'm thinking I might start a small one, but I'll probably throw most of the chicken poop out with the dog poop unless I find a neighbor that wants it. I'll have 3 chickens and the run is about 20 Sq. feet, and I'll probably let them free-range occasionally, but only a few hours a week.

    Thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2017
  2. RichM

    RichM Just Hatched

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    Judging from my own experiences at the beach, sand can get blazing hot. Make sure you're in the shade, or you're going to end up with pre-fried eggs!
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2017
    1 person likes this.
  3. lutherpug

    lutherpug Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This is my 2nd year as a chicken keeper and I used sand in both the coop and run for about 3 months before I switched to straw in the run and pine shavings in the coop. I know that sand works great for some people but I hated it. In my experience it was incredibly stinky, even with constant scooping. I think part of the issue I had was that our ground here is mostly clay so it never drained. I also had a hen that ended up with an impacted crop from eating sand but, in all fairness, I've heard of chickens eating shavings before as well. I thought that straw would be smelly and gross but it hasn't been. A bale lasts me at least 6 months in a 60 sq ft run with 6 birds. I have a tiny rake in the run and toss the straw around a few times a week to prevent buildup of poop under perches, etc and I add a small amount of new straw to the run every week or two or if it has gotten very wet due to rain, etc. I only change all of the bedding 2x a year.

    When I used sand I would spend at least 1-2 hours a week cleaning and there was always an odor. Since switching to straw/pine shavings I spend maybe 15 minutes a week and my coop doesn't smell at all. Use what you're comfortable trying-some people use sand and love it-but don't be afraid to switch it up if it isn't working or if you're killing yourself trying to keep things clean and odor free. It really shouldn't be a struggle. This was probably the most eye opening thing to learn in my first year-I just assumed that cleaning would, of course, be a huge nightmare.

    Good luck! You'll enjoy your chickens-they're a lot of fun.
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. L2fly

    L2fly Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh, lordy, I'm so confused, lol! [​IMG] Seems like its a balance of your exact set up for what works best? Maybe: (weather + # of chickens) (size of coop /
    π)= the correct run flooring? [​IMG]

    Maybe I'll start with straw, then... if it doesn't work for my set up, at least going straw to sand would be a lot easier than sand to straw!

    Thanks!
     
  5. rehric00

    rehric00 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    have you looked into the deep litter method? If not, there are tons of resources for it. I did pine shavings several years ago when I had chickens, but this year I am hands down doing the deep litter method. Seems like the most logical and easiest. Pine shavings alone got messy fast and were a pain to dispose of. People say they break down fast, but the took almost a year to decompose when I had them. I will do a small layer of pine this time, and top with yard clippings and pine needles. We have a leaf vacuum and I cannot wait to use the leaves in the fall as bedding. Good luck to you!
     
  6. L2fly

    L2fly Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've thought of it, but I would need to add some boards around the bottom of my run to get that 12 inches of height, although that is doable... I guess I'm a little afraid of it? Letting the poop settle and decompose seems natural, but somehow counter-intuitive, maybe because I'm so conditioned to pick up the dog poop constantly? But heaven knows I've got lawn clippings, and TONS of leaves each fall!

    Maybe I should try that first... as @lutherpug noted, I can always switch it out if it doesn't work! [​IMG]
     
  7. ScottandSam

    ScottandSam I'm still here. Premium Member

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    x2 i have been to some hot places . I have never found dirt directly under the sun that came close to how hot sand can get.

    Scott
     
  8. KoopersCoop

    KoopersCoop Out Of The Brooder

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  9. KoopersCoop

    KoopersCoop Out Of The Brooder

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    That's a great idea, I am also thinking about doing that as well. I'm still reading up on it.
     
  10. lutherpug

    lutherpug Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I can tell you for sure that switching from straw to sand is easier than the reverse!!! I'm not religious about my Deep Litter Method but that's essentially what I'm doing. I also found the following YouTube video pretty helpful. Stick with it past the first minute or two, it does get better-I promise :)

     

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