Play sand, construction sand, natural sand, etc. So confused!!

PamelaTX

In the Brooder
8 Years
Oct 23, 2011
83
6
31
Central Texas
Hi all! I have a question. I understand that if I were to go to my home improvement store that "washed construction sand" is preferred over "play sand". But here's my question...My ranch in Central Texas was, once upon a time many eons ago, the beach of the Gulf of Mexico and is therefore has many areas covered by lots and lots of sand. It is a beautiful, clean sand that dries quickly and which I use for all sorts of projects around the ranch.

My question is this: Is it okay to use this natural sand in my run? In my coop? It seems silly to pay for, tote, and store sand from town when if I can use what I have right here on the ground everywhere. The sand is very naturally clean without a lot of "junk" mixed in at all. No sticks, twigs, leaves, dirt., etc. The word "pure" comes to mind. Think of the most gorgeous, clean beach you ever saw--that is this sand!

That said, I've read that silica is bad for chickens and I know that there are several companies around here that have the word "silica" in their company names which sell sand to golf courses, outdoor volley ball courts, etc. I know they do process what they dig up here to produce the "silica sand". But isn't all sand silica to some degree? Maybe these companies sift or wash it or something.

I think about the fact that chickens have been living in this part of Texas forever without special "store brought" sand from a fifty miles away. Then I think about the fact that chickens have also been dying of God knows what here forever as well.

So, thoughts?
 

Realtree4

Chirping
5 Years
Mar 18, 2014
236
23
83
Ohio
Hi all!  I have a question.  I understand that if I were to go to my home improvement store that "washed construction sand" is preferred over "play sand".  But here's my question...My ranch in Central Texas was, once upon a time many eons ago, the beach of the Gulf of Mexico and is therefore has many areas covered by lots and lots of sand.  It is a beautiful, clean sand that dries quickly and which I use for all sorts of projects around the ranch. 

My question is this:  Is it okay to use this natural sand in my run?  In my coop?  It seems silly to pay for, tote, and store sand from town when if I can use what I have right here on the ground everywhere. The sand is very naturally clean without a lot of "junk" mixed in at all.  No sticks, twigs, leaves, dirt., etc.   The word "pure" comes to mind. Think of the most gorgeous, clean beach you ever saw--that is this sand!

That said, I've read that silica is bad for chickens and I know that there are several companies around here that have the word "silica" in their company names which sell sand to golf courses, outdoor volley ball courts, etc.  I know they do process what they dig up here to produce the "silica sand".  But isn't all sand silica to some degree?  Maybe these companies sift or wash it or something.

I think about the fact that chickens have been living in this part of Texas forever without special "store brought" sand from a fifty miles away.  Then I think about the fact that chickens have also been dying of God knows what here forever as well.  

So, thoughts?


I'm not exactly sure, but I would imagine it would be just fine! But I do know that I now want to move there!!!!!!!
 

especk14

Hatching
5 Years
Apr 15, 2014
3
0
7
Do you use just sand in your runs? I am in the process of building our chicken and duck areas and was wanting to do this for at least the ducks if not both. What are your thoughts. I would actually have to go buy the sand though
 

Egghead_Jr

Crowing
9 Years
Oct 16, 2010
7,094
2,836
406
NEK, VT
It would depend on the extend of fines or "dust" in your sand. If scratching about produces a dust cloud then it's probably too fine and would need to be screened. If it is indeed beach sand then the silt has been washed away leaving a fine sand but not easily airborne. A clean sand is without silt, "dust", as for how fine or coarse it is doesn't really matter unless you count on it being their grit source too.

Clear as mud eh?
 
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jenniemig

Songster
5 Years
Jan 28, 2014
675
73
138
Jacksonville, Florida
I got a dump truck load of free sand that i used in my chicken and duck runs. It is from dredging in the Atlantic Ocean it is full of Coquina and sea shells. So far it is working out very well. I have raked it out a few times but lately we've been getting a lot of rain which washes the poo away. I expected some odor after the rain but there is no smell at all.
 

ShockValue

Songster
10 Years
Jan 10, 2010
730
111
178
West Sound, Washington
My parents live on waterfront on the Puget Sound in WA, we're about a mile away. I too was curious if I could use that "beach sand". It's annoying to have to pay Home Depot for it when it's EVERYWHERE!

It would obviously be well washed, but with salt water. Would that be on concern?
 

jenniemig

Songster
5 Years
Jan 28, 2014
675
73
138
Jacksonville, Florida
My parents live on waterfront on the Puget Sound in WA, we're about a mile away.  I too was curious if I could use that "beach sand".  It's annoying to have to pay Home Depot for it when it's EVERYWHERE! 

It would obviously be well washed, but with salt water.   Would that be on concern?
Personally I would not be concerned about the residual salt from the beach sand. I did not wash the sand before i put it in the run, I even left all of the sea shells.
 

bugflipper

Songster
9 Years
Apr 9, 2010
228
20
113
I bet Home Depot sand would be high as well. A cheaper solution would be to go to a concrete place and buy a truck load. I think it was $16 a ton last time I bought it.

No worries with natural sand. When I lived in FL they scratched up and ate all the grass in the winter and had sand. It came back in the spring and they had a yard again every year. Even if you have sandy dirt odds are you could just let them do the tilling of it as long as there's not a whole lot of organic material since they will be adding their own.
 

SeanaL

Chirping
5 Years
Apr 8, 2014
175
7
68
I live next to a beach as well. I was thinking about adding sand to under the coop in the run. But I don't know what is the exact purpose of the sand?
 

jenniemig

Songster
5 Years
Jan 28, 2014
675
73
138
Jacksonville, Florida
I live next to a beach as well. I was thinking about adding sand to under the coop in the run. But I don't know what is the exact purpose of the sand?

We get a lot of rain so for me the sand is the best choice. It drains quickly, so no muddy stinky run, my chickens love to dust bathe in it, and it is pretty easy to rake out and clean. Lately it has been raining a lot and has washed the poo away before I could rake it out. I expected some odor, but there is none at all.
 
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