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Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Mountain Peeps, Jan 7, 2015.
What are the pros and cons for using sand in the coop and run?
I have sand in the coop and run. I clean the coop out like I would a cat box about once a week. I think a big pro to this method is cleanliness. It cuts back on tons of health concerns that no other method does. In the run it also drains really well.
Sand is no good in cold climates. It might drain well, but it is really no fun to scratch in or find bugs. It is good for only in a box for dustbathing. It does not compost, and you cannot plant in it. It also has a tendency to stink and cause diseases like Coccidiosis. It just really is not natural.
I have sand in my coop and run as well as my dust bath area. Currently it is mixed with a ton of other stuff. PDZ, DE, leaves, pine needles, wood chips, hay and who knows what else. It's great. They dig all day and find goodies. I also mix peat Moss in. They go nuts. It's like an ongoing compost pile. It smells good looks healthy and my hens love it.
Easy cleaning - especially when mixed with PDZ
Long-lasting - can be refreshed without complete replacement
Helps with drainage
Doubles as a dust bath
Helps keep feet dry
Heavy - let's face it, wood chips are lighter than sand ... when they're dry
Girls love to kick the sand out of the run
Does not insulate well
We love our sand / PDZ combo in both the run and the coop.
FWI: Peat Moss is currently being harvested in insane quantities from land that has its entire ecosystem based around it. Peat moss takes a long time to make, and we are taking it out of the bogs it belongs in at horribly unsustainable rates. It is destroying the bog ecosystem.
Just in case someone cares.
To me the huge benefit of sand is that it drains well if the water has some place to drain to. That requires the sand to be higher than at least part of the surrounding area. A wet run is a breeding ground for Coccidiosis. Sand, if used properly so it can drain, will keep a run dry and greatly reduce the threat from Coccodiosis.
A wet run will stink. Sand, if used so it can drain, will get rid of the water and greatly reduce the chance of it stinking. The smell comes from the poop or organic bedding in the run decomposing. The microbes that decompose the poop need moisture. Keep the run dry and you greatly reduce the chance of your run stinking.
I have been considering on getting some washed concrete sand for my chicken run because I deal with bumble foot every single year & the run gets very muddy while it rains. The LAST thing I want is for it to stink & overwhelm my chickens with cocci.
Yea, hmm, I'm thinking you will find sand works quite well . I use play sand, not too fine, not too coarse for the girls in the coop. When I get the run reconfigured, I'll use sand, PDZ, peat, etc in that as well. Have a care when choosing your sand, some sand is so fine it will simply compact from moisture and use; such as the ocean beach. Washed concrete sand MAY be to fine, it would probably be great for sand castle building. Take a look at the play sand (40 or 50 pd bags) from the hardware store, buy one it's cheap see what it feels like. Give it a try, that way you will prove or disprove it's application for your circumstance. As much as anything this forum is like a kids coloring book full of many useful ideas, just don't use to big of a brush when you color in the pages.
If you live somewhere warm it would probably be okay to use, but it gets really cold and allows no insulation in the north. I would only use it if they are allowed to free range or have other parts of the run with real dirt to scratch in and get greens and bugs.