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Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by JennyDill, Jun 19, 2017.
What kind of sand do you guys use for the ground in the coop?
I use washed masonry sand. It is very clean and easy to work with.
I use dried grass clippings / leaves about 6-8" deep. I just turn over the litter daily - no smell and don't need to change it for 6 months or so.
I agree with this - deep litter done properly is the best way to not have the coop smell. (I've had folks come through and actually say, in a shocked voice, "it doesn't smell!".) If it does, then you need more dry stuff. You can turn it daily or you can throw sunflower seeds into the litter and have the chickens turn it for you.
In some of my coops I do have sweet PDZ under their roosts, and use a scoop (like a cat litter type) to scoop out the poop. The PDZ controls the odor and keeps it dry. But in one of my coops they refuse to roost where I want them to, and roost out on a perch in the (secure) run. With the deep litter I haven't had a smell issue. (I just like being able to see the droppings to know if anyone is having watery poop).
(I should add that deep litter works best if it's over a dirt floor - and so you need to be sure the coop is secure from digging predators/pests. I have an apron of hardware cloth extending 2 feet out from the entire wall.)
Welcome! Deep litter is the best! I've noticed that posts from people who use sand seem to include these details; new to chickens, very few birds, daily poop scooping, and a mess after a year, at best. Maybe more successful in very dry climates, not where it's humid, or freezes in winter. Us old fogies mostly much prefer deep litter! Mary
I've never used sand. But, I can imagine that after a time, it will become a mix of sand and poo particles that have worked down through the layers of sand, which will eventually result in a stinky mess, especially if any water gets introduced into the mix. Even with a dry coop, when it rains for days on end, the birds track a lot of water in on their feet.
I use DL, and have found that when I switched to leaves and grass clippings, it actually started composting. When I tried DL with shavings, it was a miserable failure, with ammonia issues.
I know I've read at least one account of someone putting down a lot of sand and a while later (after it got yucky), having to shovel and cart out ALLLLL that sand. Another described washing it (I think that was someone with ducks, to be fair, and they wanted to wash it and put it back in).
Deep litter all the way. And I agree on the leaves, varied materials, etc. - the few I have that are mainly just shavings (a couple smallish tractors) are starting to have an issue - the shavings are nearly completely broken down (so need more stuff in general), but also there's a little bit of a smell after a year - just noticed it this week. I need to put some leaves in there. The ones that got a big dose of leaves are completely odor free.