Sand for the chicken run

Annalyse

Crowing
Mar 24, 2020
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New Jersey
The chickens run is dirt and when they dust bathe there crest mounds of dirt and then I have to fill them in by taking the dirt in every hole. They dustbathe by the food so the food gets covered with dirt and rocks and the water turns mud. I know sand won’t help in those ways but it’ll cut down some time with raking. It’ll also cool them down on hot days right? What kind of sand should I use? I heard something about river bank sand or whatever it’s called but idk where to buy any.
 
Some are very successful with sand. Others are not. I live in a very wet climate with clay soil such that sand brings stagnation and misery in the chicken coop. However, if you like to rake, climate is on the dry side, and don't have clay soil, it could work for you.

I've been told to avoid playground sand and stick to river bank stuff at home depot.

Personally, I put pine shavings in my run. It holds down the smell (from the carbon in the pine), prevents mud, and keeps the pot holes down.

my 2 cents
LofMc
 
Some are very successful with sand. Others are not. I live in a very wet climate with clay soil such that sand brings stagnation and misery in the chicken coop. However, if you like to rake, climate is on the dry side, and don't have clay soil, it could work for you.

I've been told to avoid playground sand and stick to river bank stuff at home depot.

Personally, I put pine shavings in my run. It holds down the smell (from the carbon in the pine), prevents mud, and keeps the pot holes down.

my 2 cents
LofMc
On hot days I make mud for them with cold water from the hose. I figured wet sand would cool them off but also less mess. I think I’ll put some sand in certain areas of the run just to see how it goes.
 
I think sand works best where the soil is naturally sandy.


I support test areas for any substrate.

I agree with the test area wholeheartedly and sand being good for sandy or loamy soil.

In my Pacific Northwest clay pot soil, I add sand...I get Portland cement with NO drainage.

Try a small portion to see if it works...but again...I find pine shavings the best all around. It produces excellent deep litter that is wonderful for the garden.

LofMc
 
It's 100% normal behavior for chickens to dig holes in their run. Unless they're digging next to the fence and threatening to undermine it there's no harm to it and very little point to attempting to fill the holes back in.

They dig for dustbathing and they also dig down to reach cooler layers of the ground under the surface as an important part of their heat-management on hot days.

If they are flinging dirt into their food and water you probably need to raise the feeder and waterer. It's usually appropriate to have them at the level of the chickens' backs.

I am NOT a fan of sand because even if you scoop the poop out every single day there is still some amount of poop dust that accumulates. Then, when it gets wet, it REEKS.

I strongly prefer some form of litter, deep litter being my personal preference, because the natural composting reaction digests the chicken poop -- yielding valuable compost for my garden while keeping my chicken area odor-free.
 
On hot days I make mud for them with cold water from the hose. I figured wet sand would cool them off but also less mess. I think I’ll put some sand in certain areas of the run just to see how it goes.
that is what I plan to do. Instead of putting the recommended 3-4 inches on the whole run - I am going to put like 2 inches on half. That way, if it doesn't go well it is less stuff to have to take out and deal with
 

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