Sand in the Brooder = Bad Experience for Me

Mtn Laurel

11 Years
May 18, 2012
Northern Virginia
My Coop
My Coop
I know that many have had great luck with sand in the brooder and I have used it in the coop with success in the past. I decided to try it in the brooder with my 6 two week old chicks. Unfortunately, my experience wasn't as good as others and my husband and I have spent the past hour moving chicks, dumping sand, and re-setting up the brooder. As so many have had good luck, I wanted to give an alternate point of view for those who may be searching for info on chick bedding.

I don't have either allergies or asthma so I wasn't expecting any problems. I got washed playground sand. It came in 40 lb. bags. It was wet when I opened the bag so I let it dry before putting it in the brooder. I only put about an inch in the bottom and will admit that the chicks loved it. Lots of rolling and scratching going on!

By day #2, I thought that pollen was bothering me as my eyes were burning and stinging. I then noticed a fine, white talcum-powder like dust on everything in the room. I turned on the ceiling exhaust fan and could actually see the fine particles in the air. I thought it was dander from the birds. I wiped everything down with a wet cloth.

By day #3, I thought I was getting a cold and began taking benedryl and ibuprofen. My nose burned so badly that I had to irrigate with saline spray. The white talcum-powder dust was back as though I'd never touched it.

Today I was in with the chicks when they decided to play "Chase Me, Chase Me" in the brooder. It was then that I saw this fine talcum powder dust was coming from the sand. With every chase, a puff of this fine dust would come up from the sand. We actually have 2 brooders side-by-side and the smaller brooder still has pine shavings. No such dust was coming up when the birds were running in the pine shavings.

We removed the sand this evening and I had to use a construction face mask to be able to stand it. Maybe I got the wrong sand. Maybe I had too much in the brooder. I'm not sure where I went wrong but my experience with sand in the brooder certainly wasn't successful. I still say that I had good luck using it in the poop tray of my chicken tractor but that was a different environment and different use.
Try less fine sand like construction sand. Play sand for kids is pounded to a powder- I sometimes think that is why kids love it and parents go 'uhhhhh, not again' when they see a sandbox! :) Not sure if 'washed' construction sand is available but the grittier stuff should work much better.
I wondered if it had to do with the type of sand but I got that type as I read it was what I should get. Guess different people had recommended different types. I was having good luck with the bedding I was using and only tried the sand as it was so highly recommended. I do plan on using it in the tractor when they're moved into it and will sure go with the larger construction sand then.

I'm still so clogged up and my nose feels like someone shoved a lit sparkler up each nostril so I think I'm going to wait a while before trying any sand in the house again!

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