Sand litter users - this thread is for you

TJAnonymous

Crowing
Feb 29, 2020
1,983
9,473
461
Central Arkansas
For the past year and a half, I have been using a sand/screenings substrate in my coop. This litter was chosen carefully after doing a LOT of research. I live in the Deep South so this was a great move for my flock. It essentially eliminated odors, decomposition, and cut down on flies by 75% easily. It also helps keep feet clean and has reduced bumblefoot. I have virtually no threat of frostbite but the sand/screenings stay dry in the winter so I'm not too concerned about it. I could always throw down some straw on top if the weather drops too much for an extended period of time.

ANYWAYS, I do have a question for those of you who use sand. I know some people sift the poop daily. I don't have time for that... I *do* clean my coop weekly. The sand absorbs the moisture from the poop,making it easy to clean up with a kitty litter scoop.

I'm interested in hearing how others go about this task.... My coop is 10 ft x 10 ft. I have approximately 35 chickens. It takes me an hour to an hour and a half. I have 2 different scoops... The first one generally gets everything dime sized and bigger and gets about 75% of the waste. The 2nd scoop has very fine screening. I use it to clean out everything missed by the 1st scoop. It is very time consuming but when I'm done, the sand is nice and clean.

On occasion, I use a pitchfork because the girls knock straw out of the nesting boxes and then poop on it which causes clumps. I also use the pitchfork to clean dirty, poopy straw out of the nesting boxes. I compost everything.

As I mentioned, this chore can be very time consuming. I usually throw on some tunes and entertain the girls (who invariably come by to watch and dig through poop in the wheelbarrow) with my singing.

But I do wish it took a little less time. Other than scooping daily, what are some other tricks you are using to clean your coop?
 
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TJAnonymous

Crowing
Feb 29, 2020
1,983
9,473
461
Central Arkansas
Yes! I do NOT have poop boards but I wish I did.... I just built a new coop about 15 months ago. I SHOULD have put in poop boards but I didn't. I regret the oversight! I'd like to make some minor changes to the coop design so I can put some in but DH has been protesting any build honey-dos.... 😂

I'd really like to spend about $50k and do a complete overhaul on my animal pens. I'd like to tear everything out (including the new coop) and rebuild it all, including new fencing that would completely enclose my 135 ft x35 ft run (separated into 3 separate pens). The new digs will also include a walk-in cooler for animal feed and egg storage. I sell eggs so this is badly needed.... It will also include an attached carport for my truck. All in all, it's 2 separate buildings (15 ft x 36 ft and 8 ft x 35 ft) but each building has separate housing for my goats, standard breed chickens, Silkies, and Ducks.

I'm waiting until I get my bonus and taxes in the spring to see if I can hire out the slab, framing, and electrical. We can do the rest. But needless to say... There WILL be poop boards installed from the get-go if I rebuild.... 😂
 
Dec 3, 2021
1
0
8
For the past year and a half, I have been using a sand/screenings substrate in my coop. This litter was chosen carefully after doing a LOT of research. I live in the Deep South so this was a great move for my flock. It essentially eliminated odors, decomposition, and cut down on flies by 75% easily. It also helps keep feet clean and has reduced bumblefoot. I have virtually no threat of frostbite but the sand/screenings stay dry in the winter so I'm not too concerned about it. I could always throw down some straw on top if the weather drops too much for an extended period of time.

ANYWAYS, I do have a question for those of you who use sand. I know some people sift the poop daily. I don't have time for that... I *do* clean my coop weekly. The sand absorbs the moisture from the poop,making it easy to clean up with a kitty litter scoop.

I'm interested in hearing how others go about this task.... My coop is 10 ft x 10 ft. I have approximately 35 chickens. It takes me an hour to an hour and a half. I have 2 different scoops... The first one generally gets everything dime sized and bigger and gets about 75% of the waste. The 2nd scoop has very fine screening. I use it to clean out everything missed by the 1st scoop. It is very time consuming but when I'm done, the sand is nice and clean.

On occasion, I use a pitchfork because the girls knock straw out of the nesting boxes and then poop on it which causes clumps. I also use the pitchfork to clean dirty, poopy straw out of the nesting boxes. I compost everything.

As I mentioned, this chore can be very time consuming. I usually throw on some tunes and entertain the girls (who invariably come by to watch and dig through poop in the wheelbarrow) with my singing.

But I do wish it took a little less time. Other than scooping daily, what are some other tricks you are using to clean your coop?
 

jlwquilter

Songster
Apr 30, 2019
796
1,399
213
West Palm Beach FL
I too live in the Deep South and use sand in my coop, which is about 12’ by 10’. I use a rake (not a leaf rake, the other kind with short hard times) to rake out the clumped dry poop. It takes me maybe 5 minutes. I rake it out a coop door into the run areas and leave it. It disappears pretty quick. I don’t care if I don’t get it all - and I’m not sure why getting it all is so important to you...? It seems from what you said it’s that one thing - getting it all - that’s causing you the huge time cost. What’s left is a small amount, doesn’t smell or attract flies, etc. If there’s straw from a nest box it just gets raked out with the poop.
Once or twice a year I add sand to replace what’s been raked out over time.
I’ve had at times over 100 chickens in a coop - actually a big tractor shed - with sand floors and sold hens out of it. Customers loved that it was clean, didn’t smell, no flies, and super easy to maintain. Most of them declared that they were going to use sand going forward seeing how great it was :)
 
Aug 19, 2020
1,232
4,511
431
Victoria, Australia
My Coop
My Coop
I use sand in my run. It's pretty easy to clean, but the chickens don't seem to forage in it much. Suppose this is one of the downsides of using sand. I have 7 chickens in a 100+ square feet run. To clean it I use a plastic rake this filters the sand out, but keeps the droppings that I then put in the compost. It takes me about 15 minutes. I do this each day or so. Not a huge fan of sand, in a while I might change it to fine mulch and have sand just under the roost.
 

Boise-girls

Songster
May 26, 2021
350
869
178
Boise, Idaho
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TJAnonymous

Crowing
Feb 29, 2020
1,983
9,473
461
Central Arkansas
I too live in the Deep South and use sand in my coop, which is about 12’ by 10’. I use a rake (not a leaf rake, the other kind with short hard times) to rake out the clumped dry poop. It takes me maybe 5 minutes. I rake it out a coop door into the run areas and leave it. It disappears pretty quick. I don’t care if I don’t get it all - and I’m not sure why getting it all is so important to you...? It seems from what you said it’s that one thing - getting it all - that’s causing you the huge time cost. What’s left is a small amount, doesn’t smell or attract flies, etc. If there’s straw from a nest box it just gets raked out with the poop.
Once or twice a year I add sand to replace what’s been raked out over time.
I’ve had at times over 100 chickens in a coop - actually a big tractor shed - with sand floors and sold hens out of it. Customers loved that it was clean, didn’t smell, no flies, and super easy to maintain. Most of them declared that they were going to use sand going forward seeing how great it was :)
I never thought of using a gravel rake.... Good idea!
 

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