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Sand in run, but what about in the coop?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by beatrixkiddo, Dec 25, 2010.

  1. beatrixkiddo

    beatrixkiddo In the Brooder

    Dec 8, 2010
    my coop/run is almost completed. I am planning on having a sand floor in the run but am not sure if I should use sand in the actual coop? Are shaving or straw better for the actual coop?

  2. elmo

    elmo Songster

    May 23, 2009
    I use sand in the run and the coop as well, and love how it works. I use poop trays under the roosts that I clean out every morning, then I go around and pick up any droppings out of the sand using a reptile litter scoop taped to a long handle. The coop stays very clean this way.

    We live somewhere with a mild winter climate, though. I've read that in very cold climates, using shavings as bedding lets the chickens snuggle into it for warmth, which is certainly something they can't do with sand. And of course sand won't let you use a "deep litter" management approach.

    Oh, almost forgot...welcome to the forum!
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2010
  3. gsim

    gsim Songster

    Jun 18, 2009
    East Tennessee
    A mix of coarse sand is best for run if fairly level. If not, then terracing will be needed. For inside of coop I use grass clippings all season, and I keep them 6" to 8" deep. In winter I add hay to top the litter every 8 weeks or so. My coop is 8 x 16. In springtime I do the annual cleaning of the coop, but not until after the grass has been growing a while. I need to save up a lot of clippings for litter to have on hand after the old litter gets carried out of the coop.

    That being said, if you can get anything suitable for free, then that is what to use. Hay and wood chips or sawdust are better than straw. Not as critical in wintertime tho as bugs are dormant. Two square bales of hay will last me all winter long for adding on top of what I had when mowing season ends in Oct. It will do to last until April, and I have 21 hens.

    My run is 1900 sq ft and I have a 5:1 slope diagonally thru the run. So I am going to have to terrace it at least in two places if not in three places. RR ties will do that job nicely. My run is never mucky no matter how heavy the rain is, but I have lost 1/2 to 1" of topsoil alreadly in the 18 months I have had the run there. If your run is flat, it could get mucky in winter or spring thaw. In that case, coarse sand is likely to be a good bet. They will also get all the grit they need from the coarse sand, and you are less likely to slip and fall on the coarse sand to boot. If your run slopes a bit, then you may not have it get too mucky in wet weather.

    I also have linoleum covered poop boards that are 24" wide and equal to the length of the roost poles. I scrape those every am [​IMG] and put it into a plastic tote in with a lid, that stays under one of the poop boards. I just dump it in the garden all winter long every 3rd day, and under bushes, fruit trees etc all summer long. Point I am making is that is why my coop never stinks, ever. Deep litter and properly designed poop boards, and lots of permanent ventilation. I never pick up poop from the litter. I just grab a handful of litter from the floor and toss it on top of the poop. In a day it is all dried out and will not stink. It all goes out in the spring during my annual coop cleaning. Oh, and also I have a 10 ft long covered roost outside. That gives the chooks a rainy/snowy day hangout so as to help keep the coop cleaner and smelling nice. When I walk into my coop I smell only grass/hay and the little bit of calf-manna I mix in their food all winter long. It has a smell between cinnamon and licorice.

    Visit 'My BYC Page'
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2010

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