Sand instead of pine shavings as bedding?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by hcammack, Dec 28, 2008.

  1. hcammack

    hcammack Overrun With Chickens

    Oct 5, 2007
    I am at my wits end because the pine shavings are getting used up really quickly and I am cleaning it out once a month. I have so many dirty shavings I don't even know what to do with them. Is sand a good alternative to shavings? Tell me about your experances with sand a bedding.

  2. davidb

    davidb Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 15, 2008
    north east Georgia
    sand is an excellent alliterative that what most people use around here
  3. snowydiamonds

    snowydiamonds Chillin' With My Peeps

    I use it for their run/pens but cannot for bedding, it is too cold, damp and freezes solid. Can you switch to straw? And then compost it?
  4. hcammack

    hcammack Overrun With Chickens

    Oct 5, 2007
    I have been trying to compost the pine shavings but I am just running out of space for them! I have heard straw leaves places for parasites such as mites and lice to live. Maybe sand would be too cold I am really not sure I guess I might just have to stick to pine shavings and add more every once and a while my coop really does not get dirty I am just too picky about how clean it is the birds are happy and healthy there is just a bit of poop and for some reason I decide to clean in I just need to get better about mixing it I guess. Would sand freeze? I am not sure if that would be an ok alternative I guess I should do more research.

  5. BeckyLa

    BeckyLa Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 11, 2007
    N. Louisiana
    Sand is much harder to clean once it's dirty than shavings. It's much heavier to shovel, in winter it's cold, there's no absorption of poop or dampness, and it gets really smelly. I use it only in the runs or the bottom of a two-level coop where the birds roost up top. I use the deep-litter method with pine shavings mixed with food grade DE. In this winter weather it is hard, I admit, to get out there and stir/shovel, rake it around several times a day so, instead, I toss scratch/cracked corn all around the inside of the coop and let the girls do the stirring. Works very well. I have not cleaned my coop since August or September and it's fine. Yes, there is poop in there, but with the shavings and DE it dries out, settles pretty much to the bottom and acts as insulation against the cold.
  6. hcammack

    hcammack Overrun With Chickens

    Oct 5, 2007
    Today I left the hens in the morning and they mixed it right up exept for right under the roost shelf. I need to stir that more often.

  7. Wildsky

    Wildsky Wild Egg!

    Oct 13, 2007
    I have a sand floor in my coop.
    I do put down shavings, to help absorb the moisture from poop etc... and I have put in some HAY the last few weeks to help the ducks stay warmer.

    In summer time I go with much less of the shavings, and no hay.

    The shavings also help me with clean up - I use a horse pooper-scooper, if there are no shavings most of the poop falls through as well, when I scoop.
  8. angels4

    angels4 Chillin' With My Peeps

    I use wood pellets.....Similar to the type used in pellet stoves, yet made to be used as equine bedding check out although I don't use this particular brand I use one which is very similar purchased at my local feed store for $7.00 per 40lb bag. Initially I bought 3 40lb bags, dampened 2 of them so they would expand (making them more absorbent) and dumped them into the run (which by the way is covered) all I do is go out and scoop out the soiled bits (think kitty litter box on a much larger scale) and top off with more pellets to maintain a depth of about 3-4 inches. I don't dampen the pellets I use to top off with as they break down rather easlily. Initally I though my girls would get confused and try to eat the pellets but I've had no issues. When I went out today the girls were having themselves a nice group dust bath.
  9. junebug7334

    junebug7334 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 24, 2008
    okay so what is the most cost effecitve?
  10. BawkinOnTheBench

    BawkinOnTheBench Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 13, 2008
    I use sand in both coop and run, and I scoop out the poop weekly with a kids sand sifter. I mix DE in with the sand to help keep it dry and fresh. A few things with sand - if it gets wet, it stays wet forever, and then it's cold, so you have to make sure your coop is very weatherproof. You also don't get any extra heat from the compost action they way you can with deep litter - however, this also means you don't get a lot of extra moisture either. I have a remote temp/hygrometer sensor in my coop, and it generally isn't running much above the outside humidity. I haven't had any issues with ammonia, either.

    I buy all purpose sand from Home Depot, since I don't have truck, nor a good place to keep a sand pile. It was something like 2.89 for a 50 lb bag (which sounds like a lot, but isn't). You need quite a bit to start with, but once you've got it down you don't lose a lot of it with the cleaning.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by