Is sand ok?


In the Brooder
7 Years
Jun 30, 2012
I have a small chicken coop with 7 chickens in it (it's not that small). They seem to love the bedding that they have right now but since it's winter right now the stuff that I put in their run just becomes mud each time it snows and then melts. So underneath the coop part of it we put plexiglas glass so it stays dry there but in the main area it is almost always muddy so woul it be alright to use sand in the area that always gets muddy and keep the bedding in the other part or would the sand be to gritty and hurt them? I can't wai till I can figure out a solution and not have to keep trying to clean mud out every day or so. I'm not lazy it's just a hassle and my chickens don't enjoy it either. Thanks so much!!
This article might help you. I highly recommend it.

Pat’s Big Ol' Mud Page (fixing muddy runs):

Sand is great for them. It really drains well as long as the water has a place to drain to. They love taking dust baths in it. And they can eat it for grit. The only problem is that over time it will work its way down into the mud so you need to occasionally add more.
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Wow the website really helped thanks! Tomorrow I am running out to the store to go pick some sand now that I heard all this good stuff about it! I have no problem with cleaning it out over time I was just sick of cleaning it everyday to get rid of the mud that's all. But if they can still dirt bathe, or in this case dust bathe theny chickens will be happy with it for sure! Thanks! :D
Depending upon the soil underneath, I'd put some gravel down first, then sand. If you have clay, or soil that is very compacted the water won't absorb well. A layer of gravel will help that by allowing the water to flow through the sand.
Whatever you put down, try to slope it so the rain will flow out of the run.
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From a practical perspective, the sand will filter down into the gravel. This will tend to leave gravel on the top.

With sand, I found that the chickens will turn the sand over by digging it. Eventually, this will work the sand into the underlying soil. The drainage will improve somewhat because of this mixing.

Overall, the sand will help with drainage because it does not hold water. Even if wet, the sand does not hold the water in puddles for the chickens to have to wade through. Laying enough sand will matter. I put down 4 inches of sand in my run.

Even though the soil where the run is located naturally drained well due to its loamy composition, the chickens eventually dug through it and compacted it enough to where it would not drain well at all. The sand helped.

It was unexpected that all around the coop the water soaked into the soil, but would not in the compacted soil off the run.

I know from my experience last winter.... Soggy Fine Sand + Poop = Concrete!

I have sand inside my coop and in the secure run. Now that I can keep most of the water out it works very well and I love it.

Last winter the run wasn't covered well plus we got runoff from the roadway behind our fence. I dug trenches to try to get the water to run out quickly but the chickens kept kicking sand and clogging the trenches. Even though I scoop poop every day, when it gets really wet it's impossible to do a good job. So eventually I had really smelly sand that became rock hard is some areas that had the highest traffic and the most soaked-in poop.

Over the summer we put on a better roof and replaced all the original sand with MUCH coarser sand, and put boards behind the fence to deflect rain runoff. This month we've had about a foot of rain and yes, the sand gets wet, but only once have we had standing water (which we've fixed already). I'm very happy with the results. So if you use sand, keep it as dry as possible. Getting wet a couple days at a time isn't an issue, but a whole winter of it is bad. The rest of the year it's a breeze to manage.
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