Sand as litter?

Cryss

Free Ranging
Nov 12, 2017
3,860
9,405
707
Northwest New Jersey
I've had my 4 young chickens for 5 days now. About 6-7 weeks old. I have a small TS coop with a metal pull out tray for cleaning poop. I laid down pine shaving as litter and insulation against the cold metal. I'm realising I cant pull the tray out to scoop because the flakes are too deep so I end up bending and leaning inside to scoop. I'm thi king about switching to sand. I bought a 50 lb bag of natural sand from home depot to make up a dust bath for the winter months but discovered it is quite wet. How do you use sand as litter? It can't be wet and i cant see how to dry 50lbs of the stuff. I don't have a garage or basement to dry it in but don't really want to dry it in my livingroom or kitchen. Advice?
 

EggSighted4Life

Crossing the Road
Apr 9, 2016
12,109
15,051
762
California's Redwood Coast
I have the same issue with my little coop, too shallow of a pan to really work well.

Sand will get wet fast and soak through to the tray. That's my experience with poo boards in my big coop. Might work better if your stuff dries out fast. Ours doesn't.

I personally have decided to stick with shaving and use a shallower layer and change out more often.

One alternative I have but haven't yet tried is rice hulls. One of my LFS uses it when they have chicks in spring and they swear by it. It comes in bag similar to shavings but heavier I think. I bought some when I was brooding ducklings to see why the LFS was crazy about it. In my brooder, I still prefer shaving... but I might try those rice hulls for the lil coop now that you've got me remembering I have them on hand anyways and actually need to clean it today.

Aside from one of the roost being too close to the nest box and causing poo to hit it sometimes, even though they are Silkie's... the shallow tray is my biggest peve about these cute little coops. Oh wait one more issue I remember, when it raining water pours straight in when I lift the lay box lid. I will remedy that before too long since I'm in the PNW. :)

I will try to let you know how the rice hulls work out though that will be a few days from now when I clean next time.

Best wishes finding a good solution! :fl
 

Folly's place

Crossing the Road
8 Years
Sep 13, 2011
17,131
22,005
906
southern Michigan
Those cute little coops should stay in the store, IMO. It's too bad that they are available at all, and certainly weren't built with actual chickens in mind!
My only advice is to redo the coop to make it all work better, or use something else for your birds. Can you wrap part of the little attached run (if there is one!) to make the whole thing a coop, with shavings on the entire floor?
EggSighted has experience with something similar, and good advice always.
Pictures would help too.
The California climate is less humid than Jersey, would think, and that will make sand more difficult too.
Mary
 

Cryss

Free Ranging
Nov 12, 2017
3,860
9,405
707
Northwest New Jersey
I have the same issue with my little coop, too shallow of a pan to really work well.

Sand will get wet fast and soak through to the tray. That's my experience with poo boards in my big coop. Might work better if your stuff dries out fast. Ours doesn't.

I personally have decided to stick with shaving and use a shallower layer and change out more often.

One alternative I have but haven't yet tried is rice hulls. One of my LFS uses it when they have chicks in spring and they swear by it. It comes in bag similar to shavings but heavier I think. I bought some when I was brooding ducklings to see why the LFS was crazy about it. In my brooder, I still prefer shaving... but I might try those rice hulls for the lil coop now that you've got me remembering I have them on hand anyways and actually need to clean it today.

Aside from one of the roost being too close to the nest box and causing poo to hit it sometimes, even though they are Silkie's... the shallow tray is my biggest peve about these cute little coops. Oh wait one more issue I remember, when it raining water pours straight in when I lift the lay box lid. I will remedy that before too long since I'm in the PNW. :)

I will try to let you know how the rice hulls work out though that will be a few days from now when I clean next time.

Best wishes finding a good solution! :fl
I think I'll stay with shavings for now. I've been scooping every day. I want to keep it dry. I look forward to seeing how the rice shells work for you.
 

Cryss

Free Ranging
Nov 12, 2017
3,860
9,405
707
Northwest New Jersey
Those cute little coops should stay in the store, IMO. It's too bad that they are available at all, and certainly weren't built with actual chickens in mind!
My only advice is to redo the coop to make it all work better, or use something else for your birds. Can you wrap part of the little attached run (if there is one!) to make the whole thing a coop, with shavings on the entire floor?
EggSighted has experience with something similar, and good advice always.
Pictures would help too.
The California climate is less humid than Jersey, would think, and that will make sand more difficult too.
Mary
I have to agree in hindsight. Very poor design. Priginallt planned for chickens in spring but the breeder had lavenders about to batch so I figured this would work for now. I bcame more concerned with predator pdotection and invested more into that aspect. We jave raccoon, fox, fishers, bear, and according to a neighbor, cougar. I have closed off a small part of the run to keep it dry for feeding but had to block it off on an efgprt to make them go into the henhouse at night to roost. Trying to catch them when they huddle under there is impossible. My cell is currently to full fore to take ictures, time tp upgrade. I might try using my tablet to show pictures.
 

Cryss

Free Ranging
Nov 12, 2017
3,860
9,405
707
Northwest New Jersey
20171124_142403.jpg
Front view. 10ft x 10ft x 6ft chain link dog run. I'm still tworking on the fencing especially the door as it has gaps.
20171124_142658.jpg
The top is 1inch x 2inch x 2ft x12ft wire strips, 6 of them I wired together.
20171124_142541.jpg
The entire thing is wrapped with 1inch x 2inch x 2ft wire on the top 2 feet while the bottom 4 feet is wrapped in 1/2inch hardware cloth.
20171124_142436.jpg
The apron is around the run AND the coop has its own apron which you cannotsee because we buried
20171124_142421.jpg
South/right side shows scrap plastic siding from an old hot tub covering the
20171124_142757.jpg
bottom of the coops attached run. North side, bottom covered only under hen house. Another view.
20171124_142807.jpg
20171124_142819.jpg
East side, nesting door and the covering. This covering was all done to prevent rain making the feeding area wet.
20171124_142901.jpg
I blocked access to that covered area under the hen house because they go there instead of in the roosting area of hen house.
20171124_143027.jpg
The clean out door with pull out tray below it. Wood strips are blocking drafts from gaps. Did the same thing insde nesting door.
20171124_143056.jpg
Looking into clean out door. They prefer to sit in shavings over sitting on roosts.
20171124_143102.jpg
Blocking the nesting area to prevent starting bad habits of kpooping in there. I'll open it when they get to the age of laying eggs.
20171124_143135.jpg
The one good thing on this coop...the vent at the top which you see here as a bit of light.
20171124_143238.jpg
The vent as seen from the outside.
 

Cryss

Free Ranging
Nov 12, 2017
3,860
9,405
707
Northwest New Jersey
I have the same issue with my little coop, too shallow of a pan to really work well.

Sand will get wet fast and soak through to the tray. That's my experience with poo boards in my big coop. Might work better if your stuff dries out fast. Ours doesn't.

I personally have decided to stick with shaving and use a shallower layer and change out more often.

One alternative I have but haven't yet tried is rice hulls. One of my LFS uses it when they have chicks in spring and they swear by it. It comes in bag similar to shavings but heavier I think. I bought some when I was brooding ducklings to see why the LFS was crazy about it. In my brooder, I still prefer shaving... but I might try those rice hulls for the lil coop now that you've got me remembering I have them on hand anyways and actually need to clean it today.

Aside from one of the roost being too close to the nest box and causing poo to hit it sometimes, even though they are Silkie's... the shallow tray is my biggest peve about these cute little coops. Oh wait one more issue I remember, when it raining water pours straight in when I lift the lay box lid. I will remedy that before too long since I'm in the PNW. :)

I will try to let you know how the rice hulls work out though that will be a few days from now when I clean next time.

Best wishes finding a good solution! :fl
LFS...PNW....I'm too new here, I don't know the lingo. Is there a post somewhere that has a glossery?
 
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