Sand Maintenance

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by capebird, Aug 8, 2011.

  1. capebird

    capebird Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 13, 2011
    Cape Cod
    I've been using sand in the run and coop. My hens have been in the coop
    now for about 2 months.....I started using sand just in the coop,
    using hay in the run. After seeing how easy it was to keep the coop clean and
    maintained, I discontinued using hay in the run and loaded the run with sand.
    It's really great, easy to care for and the hens seem to get along just fine with it.

    My question is.... over time should the sand be changed.... do you just add more
    sand to the existing... any type of annual or semi annual maintenance needed??
    Thanks for the suggestions.
  2. welasharon

    welasharon Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 28, 2010
    North Florida
    That's the beauty of maintenance. I did change some of mine out this summer as I let them have hay in there and they mixed it all in.
  3. Chiefs Mess

    Chiefs Mess Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 1, 2007
    I always had sand in my run. Once a year I laid down lime and till it in good then add some if I need to. I do this with the dog pen too.

    I myself found it help keep the smell down a bit with the hot muggy days we get here. (mostly in the dog pen)
  4. Capvin

    Capvin Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 13, 2011
    Lake Placid, FL
    Occasionaly I will add more sand and just rake it in with the old. Once in a while I will hose the area down but I generally just rake it to keep it maintained.
  5. MakNugget

    MakNugget Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 31, 2010
    Portland, OR
    I'm 15 months into my sand run, 8x12, and I'm in the process of amending it. Up until now, I've added new sand/gravel/DE and rinsed off just fine. This summer it's clear that doing this alone will not be enough as droppings dissolve, but the solids contained do not.

    The composition of sand/gravel makes it next to impossible to scoop in one piece, since by the time I get to it it's already breaking apart.

    What I'm getting ready to do is to set up a washing chute where I can dump poopy sand in and spray down. Toward the end of the chute will have fine mesh to allow sand to get through and let gravel come out at the end. Something like this except maybe shorter:
  6. farmerinKC

    farmerinKC Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 5, 2011
    Kansas City, Missouri
    I have been wondering about this as well. We have sand in our run and because I have the time and since our coop and run is right next to our house I scoop the run 2-3 times a day and then before we let the chickens out in the morning. I really don't want it to smell. I sprinkle Food Grade DE a couple times a week and Sweet PDZ daily in the run. We bought the bags of play sand from Lowes and Home Depot which ended up being quite expensive. That alone makes me want it to last as long as possible.
  7. MakNugget

    MakNugget Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 31, 2010
    Portland, OR
    As is, it's not that bad.

    It no longer rinses/drains as fast as it used to due to all the undigested solids incorporated into the sand. If the ground is moist and the temp is warm enough, there is a detectable smell, but it's not anything like straight chicken droppings. Just smells a little off, but not strong enough to carry over to the neighbors.

    I just know that if it gets any worse, I'm going to get an earfull, lol.
  8. mcostas

    mcostas Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 2, 2010
    I have a kennel pen that I put sand down. I put leaves on top of that. I just got whatever sand was easiest at the time. Very little poo gets picked up, I guess it just falls apart. The leaves break down as well.

    The pen is covered, I imagine as long as it's nice and dry there won't be a smell. I don't know where the poo goes, I guess it just becomes dust, so my babies are scratching in there own poo dust?!?!?

    When I changed the leaves out teh other day they were so thourghly scratched into the sand they will never come out. I wonder if I should remove the cover and let the floor of the pen decompose or something.

    The girls like to dig around teh edge of the pen. The sand and whatever else dust there is remains fluffy.

    I'm not sure what I should do, it seems like I should do something to ensure the pen remains fresh but I'm not sure what. I have been adding a few bags of sand every now and then, I didn't have enough resources to get a bunch dumped when I made the pen. I scrape up a little sand when I change the leaves. I wonder if I should change the sand every few years. I don't know what I should do with the poop dust sand. I have a garden but don't need any poop sand in it.
  9. RunnerWhisperer

    RunnerWhisperer Chillin' With My Peeps

    I use sand but rake mine every evening to get the bigger peices of poo. I usually get most of it out of their pen. I rake it out the door and then use a cat littler scoop to scoop up just the poo and throw it in our fire pit. So far there is no smell but I do have to add more sand since I rake some out. They seem to like it just fine and it is so easy to keep their pen clean.
  10. mcostas

    mcostas Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 2, 2010
    Welp, I through caution to the wind and hosed the pen down. I am glad to report no smell! I was worried that a year of dried droppings would instantly putrify but it didn't. I didn't realize how dusty the pen was till I hosed it down. My origional plan was to keep adding sand until the pen is a little higher than the surrounding ground. It seems to drain well.

    I used the pressure setting on my hose to really clean off the leaves and sand as much as possible. I have 4 large breed hens that really like to dig, I'm not worried about it getting packed.

    If I made a frame so I could put even deeper sand in the pen I'll bet it would drain even better! My girls like to dig around the circumfrance though, I have to fill in the moat every now and then!

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