Sand in the coop in Alaska (or similar)

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by niccolemo, Sep 3, 2013.

  1. niccolemo

    niccolemo New Egg

    Aug 19, 2013
    Southeast, AK
    I live in southeast Alaska where the temps average the teens at night and thirties during the day, in the winter (although we do hit single digits occasionally) I would like to use sand in our coop, but I'm concerned about how cold that would be vs wood shavings or straw. Any other cold weather chicken owners who use sand?
    I have an uninsulated coop and don't plan on using a heat lamp.
  2. Nutcase

    Nutcase Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 2, 2012
    My Coop
    I can't recommend sand for a coop in cold weather. Sand has a tendency to become cold and damp and can result in health problems. Also, if the weather is very dry the sand can make for a dusty coop making it difficult for the chickens to breathe. Straw would create more heat and besides it is thick and comfortable.
  3. ak rain

    ak rain Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 15, 2013
    Nicco. Look up the deep litter method. I think best
    I'm in southeast ak too
    Ak rain
  4. AK Baha

    AK Baha Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 10, 2013
    Anchorage, Alaska.
    I am in Anchorage and use pine shavings with stall fresh. makes it very easy to clean and almost no smell.
  5. Alaskan

    Alaskan The Frosted Flake

    I hate hay (I have never had access to straw, but I would think it would respond similarly). the hay acts as a solid surface where the poop just sits and stares at you! Wood chips seem to suck up the poop and are easy to mix up and make the poop disappear.

    I LOVE sand. It makes poop disappear almost as well as the sweet PDZ and helps drain all the water, and doesn't mold. so YEAH!

    My problems with sand:
    the rodents tunnel right through it with ease (but then, what do rodents not get into?)
    I can't think of any other negatives

    As to it being chickens don't sleep on the sand.

    I installed poop trays for the first time this summer, and I am now an almost fanatical convert. Why?
    1. the Sweet PDZ almost completely eliminates odor
    2. it is super easy to clean
    3. the rest of the coop stays spotless (compared to how it was before the poop tray, it isn't *really* spotless)
    4.the poop tray makes the perch area much less drafty and much warmer
    5. the poop tray pretty much adds a bunch of extra square feet, which is perfect to help combat cannibalism and other winter nasties

    In years past I have used wood shavings (aren't they free in most of Alaska?????) in my 8x8 coop, and the attached chicken shed has always been sand.

    The wood shavings absorb the moisture in the air and become a solid lump of immovable ice. (I think I am too close to the coast [​IMG])

    The sand becomes pretty solid too, but never seems quite as bad.

    Now, a pile of wood chips or leaves of something, tossed in a usually un-pooped area for them to play in and alleviate winter boredom, priceless! [​IMG]

    I right now have sand everywhere, even in the 8x8 coop (main sleeping area) and I think I might stay with sand there over the winter, but I might switch to wood chips, since they will now be protected from the majority of poops, and are fun to play in. Dunno yet.

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