Sand on top of pavers?

Talullah

In the Brooder
May 5, 2020
11
41
33
Livermore, CA
I live in Northern California where it only rains in the winters (if we're lucky!) and the summers are dry and hot. I am building a coop for my first flock, and from my research I would like to use sand in my run instead of wood shavings. I will be housing 3 hens in a 4 x 4 hen house with an attached 4 x 8 run. I'm confused about how to set up the foundation for the coop and run, however. I have some leftover pavers from my pool deck that I thought I could put under the entire coop and run. They are large, thick, heavy Belgard-brand pavers that a predator wouldn't be able to move. Starting at ground level,would I put the pavers down first, pea gravel on top of the pavers, and then several inches of sand on top of the gravel? Given that approach, what does one to do to keep the sand contained inside of the run? I'm assuming I would need to put boards or something around the bottom few inches of the run to keep the sand from spilling out of the hardware cloth. And on the topic of hardware cloth, with the heavy pavers on the bottom of the coop would I still need to put a hardware cloth apron under the pavers? I live near vineyards so want to secure my coop against rats, racoons and other predators that frequent my area. I truly appreciate the wealth of information from this forum and any help would be much appreciated!
 

dawg53

Humble
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
Nov 27, 2008
27,736
14,069
906
Glen St Mary, Florida
I use sand in my pens and inside coops. For raised coops, I put sand under them as well. I usually put a box fan under a raised coop for those hot and humid summer days and turn it on for the birds.
I use chicken wire on all the pens and overlay 1/4" hardware cloth 36 inches bottom up from the ground over the chicken wire all the way around the pens, except the entrance to the pen where a wooden screen door is mounted on the frame. Hardware cloth is placed over the screen inside and out.
I lay field fence flat on the ground as an apron. Half of it is on the outside of the pen and the other half is on the inside of the pen. Nothing can penetrate nor dig through the field fence.
I stack pavers to put either feeders or waterers on them as birds grow. Sometimes I'll hang them, just depends on the situation.
Sand doesnt wash away like dirt or mud, doesnt make nasty mudpuddles, dries much quicker than dirt or mud, helps deter parasites and bugs and it's easier to scoop poop. Think beach.
thQQJ79NAH.jpg
 

Talullah

In the Brooder
May 5, 2020
11
41
33
Livermore, CA
Thank you so much for the detailed response. I am sold on the benefits of sand! How many inches of sand do you typically put in your run and does the hardware cloth/chicken wire frame do a decent job of containing it so you don't have sand spilling out all over the place?
 

dawg53

Humble
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
Nov 27, 2008
27,736
14,069
906
Glen St Mary, Florida
This is just for your information: I order a 16 yard big dump truck load of sand. I have the driver dump it in the middle of a big tarp, then cover it with another tarp. I try to keep the sand as dry as possible, it's lighter in weight than wet sand.

It depends on the size of the pen. I have 2 pens that are 10'x20' and I start out at about 3" deep in both pens. About 4 months later I'll add another 3 inches. You can count on at least one inch was removed during that time period ie, scooping up sand with poop in it.
However if it rains frequently, like here where we live, the hard rains beat the sand down into the soil. it can add up another 2 inches of sand, just depends.

I also have a carport pen that is 12' x 40'. Initially I put 3 inches of sand in the pen and it contained 11 birds. I slacked off adding sand due to a shoulder injury which required surgery.
This past week I was able refill the pen. I added about a 6 inch layer of sand over what sand was left in the pen, maybe 1 inch. I started at 7am and finished at 1:30pm non stop. Next time I'll alot 2 days to do it. I was one hurting dawg after all that hauling and shoveling.

The sand doesnt spill out. However the chickens can kick the sand out if they're dust bathing, much less if there's hardware cloth in place. Here's a pic of the chickens inspecting my work lol.
IMG_0787.JPG
 

RebelChief

Songster
6 Years
Mar 7, 2014
430
934
206
Brownsville, TX
I have sand in mine and it doesn't "leak" out. I do have 4x4's around the bottom which might help. I love it. The chickens love the sand. I just added a bunch of new fresh sand today to both their run and their poop boxes. Makes cleaning up the poop in both places a breeze.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Nov 27, 2012
95,262
126,417
1,807
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
About 4 months later I'll add another 3 inches. You can count on at least one inch was removed during that time period ie, scooping up sand with poop in it.
What exactly do you use to scoop the poops out?
How often do you do that?
The sand never gets stinky?
 

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