Sand for Bedding questions

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by jdoane, Aug 18, 2013.

  1. jdoane

    jdoane Songster

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    OK now I'm more confused. I thought putting straw or pine shavings down on top of the sand would nullify some of the benefits of the sand (not keep it as dry, etc)??????
     
  2. ivan3

    ivan3 spurredon

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    Utility of adding straw/wood chips over sand is dependent on how/how often one cleans the coop. Some folks like to rake out poop. Some of us just remove the pooped up top dressing of wood chips. Chooks/turks will dig down in the sand, regardless.
     
  3. jdoane

    jdoane Songster

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    Thanks Ivan3. That makes sense!

    Now my one last big question. [​IMG] I am won over to the sand idea but just concerned that if sand helps keep coop cool in the summer, what about winter. Will the coop be noticeably colder? I live in western Mass and we get some pretty cold snaps. All my chickens are cold hardy breeds but... Had been planning on doing deep litter method due to the benefit of keeping the coop warmer. Not planning on using a heat lamp unless it's a terrible cold spell. I do have a cold weather emergency plan to bring them into the garage but obviously that is less desirable than having them be able to weather the winter in their coop. Please - any thoughts on how much of a difference the sand will make on this???????
     
  4. Hokum Coco

    Hokum Coco Crowing

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    I have used all types of litter for coops.

    I have not tried sand (sand gets good reviews on this site).

    Of all the things I tried to date wood pellets have been the best. They are super absorbent and swell up and eventually turn to saw dust. The droppings just seem to vanish and turn to dust when it comes in contact with wood pellets.

    Replace my litter and clean my coop every October after I harvest my garden.


    Works for me in my deep litter method.

    I do add to pellets from time to time.

    I have 63 trips around the sun so it is not my first rodeo.

    I have anywhere from 10 to 15 birds housed in my 4x8 coop.

    Through the winter months it froze harder than concrete with -40º temperatures. The poop froze before it could be absorbed by the pellets and there was like a crusty layer of poop in certain areas where they collectively took aim (no smell, messy feet or flies @ -40º). Come April things started to look after themselves.

    Oh I might add I do have poop boards 3½" below my roost that I clean every 2 to 3 days (excellent for catching eggs laid through the night).

    In my nest boxes I fold a feed bag to fit (nest boxes are 1 ft³). When a bag gets soiled; fold a new one; pop out the soiled; pop in the new.

    Easy peasy!.

    Chicken coop is salvaged 4x8 metal shed.


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    Edited by Hokum Coco - 8/19/13 at 8:31am
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2013
  5. chynasparks

    chynasparks Songster

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    I use sand as well. I used 2 50pound bags of play sand $3.43ea and 3 60pound bags of all purpose sand $3.53ea from Home Depot. It filled my structure 4x8x6 perfectly. Plus used sweet PDZ and DE. I put a small amount on the in the poop board, just enough for scooping. It stayed real nice, no smell. I scoop regular and only takes about 30 minutes. Lately though we've had rainy days. I'm still happy because its not a muddy mess. But it hasn't dried out due to frequent rain showers. Don't get me wrong, I'm still very happy. It's just they don't have a chance to dust bathe. So I'll probably fill a rubber drain pan with sand and put it in the corner of the run where there is a wall that should help keep it dry. The structure is on concrete and when it rains, water soaks up into the sand keeping all 4 corners moist. So the pan should be dry. Mine is an enclosed run/coop. Ladder leads them to the nest roost area. Thanks to my hubby's wood work skills, the nest house is nice and dry. If there were to be a long spell between rain I would mix up the sand turn it all over and it would dry back out to loose sand. But with chance of showers in the upcoming days I'm not going to bother. Adding the pan of sand should take care of their dust bathing needs. So, bottom line is I love the sand. No hard labor, no odor, no flies.
     
  6. jdoane

    jdoane Songster

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    chynasparks thanks for that info. Are you in a cold climate? If so how does it do with coop temp???
     
  7. chynasparks

    chynasparks Songster

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    I'm in Texas, between Houston and Galveston. We may get a few days close to freezing. It did snow once on Christmas Day 2005. But I've only just started keeping chickens so we haven't experienced a winter yet. I have 2 RIRs and 2 Orpingtons. Both are said to fare well in cold weather. We plan on tarping off an open side on one end if it seems too cold. I can't post a pic here but you can click on my album below to see my setup. I can box them in with an opaque thick plastic but I'm not expecting to have to. I suppose if we had given the run a floor the hand would be dryer but we didn't. The sand is just damp. It's not sloshy in fact it's a little hard. My peeps still dig in it so its not too hard.
     
  8. jdoane

    jdoane Songster

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    Nice set up Chynasparks!!! It looks like you also but a little hay or straw down. Is that right?
     
  9. KatieGB

    KatieGB In the Brooder

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    I am curious -- in MA as well. Will the chickens stay warm in the winter with only sand? We use sweet PDZ, sand, and a layer of shavings. We layer the shavings to keep things fresh, and we clean the coop about once a month.
     
  10. chynasparks

    chynasparks Songster

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    No, my peeps did. I put hay in the 2 nest boxes in the upper level. I guess they needed something to do. I came out one day they were up in their house and hay was flying out into the run. Funny as all get out. Well I had been planning to switch to pine shavings so I took out the rest of the hay and put pine shavings. Couple of days later it was snowing pine shavings. They were kicking and pushing the pine shavings all over the place. It's was so funny. That was the end of my nice tidy looking dirt floor. There was still hay when I took some of the pictures. Well, they've settled down and leave the nest boxes alone. They just go in to roost at night. It sure was a funny sight.
     

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