Sand in chicken coop

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by jsz2009, Jan 27, 2015.

  1. jsz2009

    jsz2009 Out Of The Brooder

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    Hi, I was doing research online about putting sand in the coop instead of pine shaving
    How well does this work ?
    Thana
     
  2. WNCcluck

    WNCcluck Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We have a sand / PDZ combo in our coop and have found it marvelously easy to maintain (a few minutes every couple of days with a small rake and a kitty litter scoop). The PDZ is a desiccant and really helps control odors. One thing to remember is that sand is not a good insulator. As long as your hens are cuddled up on roosts at night instead of sleeping on the floor, the insulation (or lack thereof) shouldn't pose a problem.
     
  3. TalkALittle

    TalkALittle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I too use sand in my coop and love it. I've kept 7 birds on it since this spring. It is very easy to keep clean--especially if you also have droppings boards under your roosts. It makes the poop so easy to just rake and sift out. Because it is so easy to remove the poop, my coop stays nice and dry and odor free. The floor of my coop is wood covered with large flexible plastic trays (actually two SUV cargo area mats from vehicles we no longer own). The sand stays very dry all year long.

    My coop borders on being too small for the number of birds I have, so staying on top of the moisture and ammonia is essential for me. Deep litter method wouldn't work in my small coop as they would produce too much poop to maintain the correct ratio of wet to dry material needed to compost. If I used shavings, I'd have to change them weekly and the coop would be nowhere near as clean as it is now.

    Many posts mention the fact that sand isn't a good insulator as a reason for not using it, but my birds all use their roosts at night so would be up above any bedding/litter anyway. I would rather use the sand that helps reduce moisture and lets me keep it virtually poop-free than use another material. If I had a dirt floor, I would probably have an issue with moisture wicking up from below and the sand would probably need to be added to frequently in order to prevent it from just becoming a solid frozen surface.

    I use a light dusting of sand on the droppings boards and I just rake the poop off into a bucket in the morning. It takes me less than a minute to clean the coop. Some moisture from the poop does wick into the sand a bit and sometimes the girls trample through the droppings board or poop on the floor of the coop breaking the poop into bits too small to sift out. Poop does not decompose in sand so I opt to change the sand out periodically. I did a complete change of the sand right before winter and will probably do it again when I do a spring cleaning. I've just started adding some PDZ to the sand and noticed it makes cleanup even easier and I see even less of the moisture of the poop wicking into the sand.

    My coop is small (about 4'x7') and some of that is taken up by nest boxes, so 4 bags of construction sand gives me enough of a layer. Cost is $2.79/bag. An added bonus of having nice dry sand in the coop is that my flock always has a place to dust bathe and access to grit.
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2015
  4. jsz2009

    jsz2009 Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 22, 2015
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    Great thanks !! Where would I get some of th pdz ? Thanks
     
  5. TalkALittle

    TalkALittle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Tractor Supply seems to have the best prices, but both of my local feed stores carry it also. It is marketed as "Stall Refresher with Sweet PDZ". If you have a choice, get the granular version versus the powder. The granular is less dusty and easier to spread/sprinkle around.
    http://www.sweetpdz.com/
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2015
  6. papaandnana

    papaandnana Just Hatched

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  7. kmpcfp

    kmpcfp Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have looked into using sand instead of the shavings I use now, but I have noticed on really cold nights some of the hens decide to nest in a deep pile of shavings instead of roosting. Something to keep in mind if you have sub-freezing nights.

    I may try using the sand in the summer though. In theory it seems like a great idea.
     
  8. papaandnana

    papaandnana Just Hatched

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    our coop is 14ft.x16ft. and is an old stall in our barn. The floor is all cement so do you recommend the sand on the whole floor or just under the roost. Also we are using it in the outdoors run and how thick should both be. Would appreciate any help or tips. TY
     
  9. TalkALittle

    TalkALittle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'd probably err on the side of using a thicker layer of sand since you are putting it over concrete. That way they have a nice cushion as they are jumping off the roosts. You probably wouldn't need to go as deep in other areas of the coop. I wouldn't try and do sand just under the roosts and a different material in the other areas. It'll never stay separate and you'll just end up with a mixture of the two everywhere. If you were using droppings boards with a lip on them under the roosts, however, I suppose you could use sand just on the boards and another material everywhere else.

    If the soil in your run is already pretty sandy, you might be able get away with spreading it a little thinner. For me, a 4 inch deep layer seems to be working pretty well.
     
  10. WNCcluck

    WNCcluck Chillin' With My Peeps

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    :goodpost:

    I definitely agree on using enough sand over the concrete to provide a little cushion (though sand isn't exactly soft). You're also very much in target about not trying to have two separate types of flooring in the coop. You'd end up with a rather messy conglomerate. Since sand makes for a pretty rough landing from higher roosts, you might want to be sure your birds aren't having to jump down too far from roost to floor.
     

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