Sand and Silica

Kat4011

In the Brooder
8 Years
May 24, 2011
16
0
22
I'm new here and have been reading a lot about different methods of keeping your run mud free (I live in rainy Seattle). I keep coming across sand. However, It seems that most sand has silica in it. Personally, I don't use commercial cat litter since it contains silica and can harm the cats lungs when they scratch. I don't see how a chicken would be any different. IS there sand without silica in it or are chickens not affected by it? Same with DE, contains silica and I get if you use human grade its less, but its still there.

Am I just too much of a city girl and care about things that I'm sure most others don't?
 

patandchickens

Flock Mistress
12 Years
Apr 20, 2007
12,520
292
341
Ontario, Canada
Um, sand pretty much IS silica -- sand is generally leetle small particles of quartz (and to a lesser extent other minerals), which is mainly composed of the element silicon. (So is glass, btw!)

Silica per se is not poisonous in any way.

What you are probably thinking of is that DE, which is also composed almost entirely of silica, comes in two forms, the food-grade having nearly all of its silica in amorphous (non-sharp-crystalline) form which is basically safe or anyhow as safe as any other mineral dust, the NON-food grade (and more common) form being composed mainly of crystalline silica which is highly irritating to the respiratory system and is a known carcinogen with large or chronic exposure.

But that is not because it is silica per se, that is because it is sharp pointy needlelike *crystals* of silica, you know?

Pat
 

Pharm Girl

Songster
9 Years
Jan 6, 2011
802
28
156
Quote:I'm down here in Portland and haven't found anything that works better than sand for me. I do where a mask when cleaning/raking sand or DE and I put straw over the sand in the dry run, but I figure nothing is without risks. Pine shavings are just as dusty and straw/hay can have bugs or mold. I have a friend who uses the horse pellet bedding and loves it but I've never tried it. I love my sand too much.
 

Bear Foot Farm

Crowing
11 Years
Mar 31, 2008
5,543
292
288
Grifton NC
Am I just too much of a city girl and care about things that I'm sure most others don't?

Silica is the most common element in the Earth's crust.

It's pointless to worry about it​
 

Kat4011

In the Brooder
8 Years
May 24, 2011
16
0
22
Thanks Pat, your post really makes sense!

So what kind of sand would you recommend? I've seen everything to child play sand to river sand mentioned on here. Do certain sands work better for different climates? I keep reading about sand becoming a rock in the winter, but Seattle doesn't really have a winter. I'd just been upset at myself if I bought a ton of sand and it didn't work out, but I guess there are lessons to be learned, I'd just hate for an entire run to be ruined.

I should probably be add that I do have asthma (another reason silica kinda scares me), so really dusty sand probably won't be my best friend, even if it means less work. Decisions decisions!
 

Bear Foot Farm

Crowing
11 Years
Mar 31, 2008
5,543
292
288
Grifton NC
I should probably be add that I do have asthma (another reason silica kinda scares me), so really dusty sand probably won't be my best friend, even if it means less work. Decisions decisions!

Buy the cheapest you can find, because in the end it's ALL the same thing

Wear a dust mask, since the birds create more dust than the sand ever will​
 

Pharm Girl

Songster
9 Years
Jan 6, 2011
802
28
156
I prefer a mixture of bark chips and sand. The sand dehydrates the poo, but the chips are nice if puddles form. I just kick a bunch of chips into it. Just a thought. I use only sand inside the coop though.


 

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