Sand or deep litter method for the winter?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by WickedChicksNH, Sep 15, 2018.

  1. WickedChicksNH

    WickedChicksNH Songster

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    This is the first winter my ladies have had a big coop for the winter (shed)
    What are your opinions on what to use on the floor for the winter
    I live in the northeast

    Sand method i hear is good since it absorbs any moisture

    Or deep litter of hay?

    Thanks
     
  2. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Free Ranging

    I wouldn't choose sand, personally... that moisture it absorbs smells like poo and stays in the sand even once dry in my opinion, making it essentially a nasty litter box. Yes I have used it. Oh and let's not forget when it's dry and you scoop new poops, the left over dry poo dust fills the air! :sick

    Deep litter seems like a good choice... But I'm sure others who face your climate will give better information as to how well it works.

    I use Semi deep litter (I pick up what poo I can see) in my run and sand base (people touted it so) with hay/shaving in my barn to cushion landings for those who don't use the ramp... with droppings boards and just keep adding fresh as it get trampled down.

    When I had just (washed river) sand in my covered run, even with poo removal daily... when it rained the edges stunk to high heaven. Again, from the left behind poo juice now being wet again. When I switched to semi DL... no more smell on the edges when it rains (I live in the PNW).... plain sand is a barren wasteland. At least DL has invited good bacteria and microbes to join the party and combat the nasty stuff left behind from the kitty litter scooper method so many are fond of. And bugs to scratch for are a bonus!

    Best wishes for a smooth winter! :pop
     
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  3. WickedChicksNH

    WickedChicksNH Songster

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    Thanks for the awesome information!! :bow
     
  4. snow5164

    snow5164 Crowing

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    I use sand in coop and nesting boxes . I was concerned about cold feet but our sand is 6 inches deep and wasn’t a problem , infact it was a unexpected blessing because the girls used it as a dust bath as needed when Locked inside .

    Totally disagree with the “ big litter box “comment @ eggsighted4life, healthy hens that sleep on roosts don’t poop on the floor , for the few times I’ve seen a big poop there was bullying or sickness in the coop , and I scooped it up!

    Poop boards are sand /ash and also work great , we’ve never had moisture problems in the coop , deep litter hit moldy on my linoleum floors and we removed it before winter 5 years ago.
     
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  5. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Free Ranging

    Huh... every chicken poops wherever it is sleeping except broody's in my experience. If you don't have dropping board, that's the floor with a lot of dark winter hours coming before long. :confused:

    DL will work best if it is open to the ground than on top of sealed floor is my understanding. I have mold issues here... and don't do full on DL here. The people who do it toss something in to get their birds to turn it for them. The stuff in my run... is more like the forest floor than anything else. Yes it has shaving, pine needles, grass clipping, hay, dry leaves and so on... making something soft and absorbent yet well drained and not muddy, and not too compacted has worked out much better... for ME. :thumbsup

    Plenty of people don't agree with me about the kitty litter statement. That's why it's great that we can share out experiences. :cool:

    But really, where does the moisture go that is in the sand left behind when scooping? Oh, and lots of things will have impact on which method you use. My stock load is fairly heavy, I think topping out at 82 when I was using sand. I know they do use in zoo's sometimes but it didn't work well for me. Honestly over sand I would use rice hulls! Much more renewable and compostable, lighter to move, doesn't just make your dirt heavy like the sand did for me. I like the rice hulls in my small pre fab coops a lot actually.

    It may be a bit of trial and error to find out what works for you. Sometimes our needs change, and we might find ourselves trying another method. I use different things for different coops in different locations. And I like having the (washed river) sand around to be used as grit. But I had it had it brought in by the truck load and it was a lot of work to move. And now it's basically a nice draining base for other stuff or grit. The main reason I didn't leave it alone in the floor of coop that doesn't see many droppings since they only come in to roost (above boards) or lay... is sand is too hard a landing for my heavier birds (for MY comfort 4.5-5 ft) and I can't afford to face bumble foot, injured legs, bruised breasts, body checked eggs and such. More birds you have, more things you see... especially if you process them. :hmm
     
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  6. WickedChicksNH

    WickedChicksNH Songster

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    Thank you for the great advice :hugs
     
  7. blackdog043

    blackdog043 Crowing

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    For the coop, I use pine shavings as a semi deep bedding(dry). I start with a few inches of shavings and add some as needed, when it needs freshening up. I haven't cleaned it out yet, it's been about 15 months and doesn't smell. I do use a poop board that gets scooped daily, so that takes care of all the poop while they are roosting. I have a covered run that is deep litter, they spend most of the day in there. With this set up, I hardly ever see a fly either.
     
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    Ditto Dis^^^ works great for me too.

    Sand does not actually absorb anything...it's rock, not wood or paper.
     
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