Newbie's experience with sand in run

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by JennieMae, Jun 22, 2017.

  1. JennieMae

    JennieMae In the Brooder

    May 22, 2017
    Harleysville, PA
    As a new chicken mama, I read a lot on here before creating our run. I thought I had done my research. We ended up going with sand in our run. Now 3 weeks later, I just spent the day shoveling it all out. It was very smelly despite frequent cleanings and rakings; I just couldn't ever get all the poop. We are now going deep litter. I put in a bunch of dirt, leaves from the yard, sticks, twigs, and wood chips. I didn't realize how unhappy my chickens were until I saw them in this new and more natural environment. They have been scratching, exploring, and running around all afternoon. Again-- this is just one person's experience, but it may save someone a little bit of money and a lot of work!!
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Got my Puppy

    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    I use sand inside of my turkey shed where it works wonderfully. I would not want to use sand in a run unless I'm in a dryer climate. Deep litter works better where rain falls regularly.
  3. RonC

    RonC Songster

    Feb 28, 2012
    My run is sand and haven't have a problem except the hole they dug dust bathing filling with water when it rains. I saw a video of someone that put all his compost material in the chicken run and let the chickens "mulch" it for him and add their secret ingredient. I tried pine shaving in mine one time and it all blew all over my yard. I guess different methods for different climates.
    JennieMae likes this.
  4. TalkALittle

    TalkALittle Songster

    Dec 15, 2014
    Yes, yes, and yes! This was my experience as well. If the moisture and odor control ability of deep litter hadn't been enough to convince me it was better than sand, the mental enrichment it offered my birds would have.
    Ol Grey Mare likes this.
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    We've tried telling them....
    Folly's place likes this.
  6. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. .....

    Mar 9, 2014
    My Coop
    Pine shavings are generally a poor choice for dlm and that is likely where your experience with it went off track.
  7. ChickenMammX4

    ChickenMammX4 Songster

    Mar 17, 2015
    SW Ohio
    I think many time there is confusion when it comes to Deep Litter vs Deep Bedding and which materials to use.

    We do Deep Litter in our run. It consists of straw, hay, grass clippings, leaves, pine needles and landscape weeds. The hens love picking through the material for bugs and worms. No odor or fly problems. We clean it out once a year.

    We do Deep Bedding in the coop. It's about 4 or 5 inches of pine flakes. We clean it out twice a year. There is a poopboard under the roost which gets cleaned every day or 2. No odor or fly problems.
    JennieMae and aart like this.
  8. Usrudd

    Usrudd In the Brooder

    May 1, 2016
    Thanks for those comments, everyone. I am also a newbie chicken mom and I also started with sand in the Run. I am not happy about that decision thus far. No way to clean it. I've tried that contraption which uses the stall muck rake covered with hardware cloth and find it useless. Does anyone have any suggestions regarding a way to migrate from this sand mess to a composting system in the Run? I was thinking of adding grass clipping, and some clumps of soil...mulch hay...I can get all those or have them around the garden. This sand thing was not a good idea. Thoughts anyone?

    I live in Vermont!
  9. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Got my Puppy

    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    Start small and just start tossing some organic matter in. With fall coming make use of all those leaves, grind them up with a mower and put a bunch in. Use hay over winter for your chickens to stand on and leave it in place to compost next spring. Throw in pulled weeds, and small amounts of grass clippings, spent mulch, and anything edible. Toss scratch out to get your chickens working the soil. Hopefully your sand isn't too deep.
    ChickNanny13 likes this.
  10. leighks

    leighks Songster

    Apr 15, 2017
    Western New York
    My Coop
    I use sand in both the run and coop. I scoop the waste daily and weekly or so I sprinkle in some Sweet PDZ. It's commonly marketed as a horse stall freshener, but it works amazingly for chickens as well. It's completely safe to use with any animals and the coop does not smell at all when I use the PDZ regularly. It used to stink a lot when using pine shavings! I throw branches and grass clippings, etc, in their run regularly and they have a chicken tractor to get some grass time.

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