Newbie's experience with sand in run

JennieMae

In the Brooder
May 22, 2017
6
10
34
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!!
 

oldhenlikesdogs

Moderator
BYC Staff
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Jul 16, 2015
41,312
65,846
1,392
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.
 

RonC

Songster
7 Years
Feb 28, 2012
1,510
129
196
D/FW
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.
 

TalkALittle

Songster
5 Years
Dec 15, 2014
1,661
708
191
Massachusetts
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

One egg shy of a full carton. .....
6 Years
Mar 9, 2014
20,622
14,920
761
Oregon
My Coop
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.
Pine shavings are generally a poor choice for dlm and that is likely where your experience with it went off track.
 

ChickenMammX4

Songster
Mar 17, 2015
1,044
241
161
SW Ohio
Pine shavings are generally a poor choice for dlm and that is likely where your experience with it went off track.
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.
 

Usrudd

In the Brooder
May 1, 2016
16
2
28
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!
 

oldhenlikesdogs

Moderator
BYC Staff
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Jul 16, 2015
41,312
65,846
1,392
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.
 

leighks

Songster
Apr 15, 2017
515
854
231
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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