Sand for bedding?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by calamarie, Nov 20, 2015.

  1. calamarie

    calamarie Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 15, 2015
    Hi,
    I want to use sand in my coop I've been using shavings but I like the idea of being able to easily scoop out the poop. I'm wondering if anyone has done this and my biggest concern is if the sand will make my coop colder in the winter? We live in the north west so we get cold winters
     
  2. Mahlzeit

    Mahlzeit Chillin' With My Peeps

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    How big is your coop with how many birds?
     
  3. bluema

    bluema Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Many here have tried sand and it has both pros and cons. I keep going back/forth between using pine shavings and sand in the coop. Sifting sand isn't all that fun and it creates dust. You should wear mask when scooping sand. The sand retains smaller poop particles and odor, but maintenance can be cheaper and easier than replacing pine shavings regularly, as long as you scoop often. There are different school of thoughts on whether sand help to insulate - some think it does better job with its thermal mass, and others don't believe so. The biggest issue you'll need to battle is to keep the sand (or any bedding) as dry as possible to battle humidity that can cause frostbites in cold weather. Be sure you have enough ventilation. You can even mix in some sweet PDZ to help control the ammonia odor. As long as your temps don't regularly dip below negative 20 degrees, sand is worth a try. You can even combine using poop boards right below roosts.
     
  4. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    My concern with using sand in an area that sees subzero temps is that sand holds moisture...that's it's job in the coop. It absorbs the moisture from the droppings and that's why they are dry enough to pick up easily - well, except for the little poop crumbs that build up. Anyway, that moisture is going to freeze and when it does it makes for a pretty hard landing zone for the birds. I'd rather let my chickens land in a deep layer of litter than on a hard layer of frozen sand. And mine love to scrunch up little hollows in the litter to snuggle into. It doesn't take that litter as long to absorb their body heat as it would with sand. Putting my hand in one of those hollows after a chicken has left it makes me smile - it's so warm in there!

    But you know your setup and situation far better than I do, so do what you think will work best for you! [​IMG]I dunno....there is no "perfect" solution - just the one you and your chickens like!
     
  5. calamarie

    calamarie Out Of The Brooder

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    My coop floor is 4x8 and I have 22 birds
     
  6. calamarie

    calamarie Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 15, 2015

    Yeah I'm thinking maybe bedding is better. When you say litter what kind of litter are you using?
     
  7. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    I use whatever I can get my hands on....pine shavings, dried leaves, weeds and garden trimmings, corn stalks, a little straw, once in awhile a bag of grass clippings during the mowing season. and any scraps that they somehow manage to overlook. I just toss whatever I have in there and let them do the mixing, which they do in very short order!

    I think I'd be a little more concerned about your ratio of birds to space...22 birds in a coop 4x8 seems pretty tight. Do they have a run they can use as well? Not being critical...just hate to see someone make the same mistake I did with overcrowding. Hard to get a handle on the amount of poop they put out so ammonia seems to build up faster even with decent ventilation. Also with shorter daylight hours they spend more time in the coop so bullying and pecking can become issues.
     
  8. Mahlzeit

    Mahlzeit Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Personally I have gone from using pine shavings to using fallen leaves. I have so many oak trees around it saves me money since I don't have to buy shavings and in my opinion I feel it keeps the smell to a minimum better than pine shavings. It also breaks down faster into compost than shavings.
     
  9. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    Oh, I agree completely! I thought I was doing deep litter before....bags and bags of pine shavings with a little bit of other stuff tossed in now and then. Turns out I was really just doing deep bedding - and not doing that very well either! So after a good cleanout at the end of the first year, and seeing little if any decomposition of the pine shavings, I started paying more attention to things the folks who got it right were doing, most especially Beekissed. I now just add pine shavings on very rare occasions, if the litter needs a little freshening and I don't have anything else on hand at the moment. Where I used to go through bag after bag, I now have about half a bag of the shavings left from a purchase I made in June. Go figger! We don't have the lovely big leaves of oak trees (a little envy creeping in here) but we do have tons of leaves off our giant willows and the chickens don't really care what species they came from as long as they can crunch them to smithereens and grab any little bugs! [​IMG] I use DL in both the run and the coop.
     
  10. Mahlzeit

    Mahlzeit Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You are welcome to take some of my oak leaves....I have waaaay too many!
     

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