Sand or stone?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Sylverfly, Sep 20, 2010.

  1. Sylverfly

    Sylverfly Chillin' With My Peeps

    546
    10
    161
    Apr 29, 2009
    Northeastern Michigan
    Ok another question, my chicken run is devoid of any vegetation, its just mud, and it looks horrible and makes the chickens feet filthy. The inside of the coop is very clean and I’d love the outside to look a little less like a refugee camp. My two thoughts were to either use sand or use pea stone/gravel. I’m not sure where I can get sand around here but I can get a ton of the stone for like $10. I’d rather use the stone because I think it would look better but are my chickens going to gorge themselves on the stones. I know they’d eat a lot of the smaller stones as grit but will they try and eat too big of rocks. Its ok if they eat some I’d add enough that it wouldn’t matter much, so the question is would it be safe for my hens.
     
  2. ADozenGirlz

    ADozenGirlz The Chicken Chick[IMG]emojione/assets/png/00ae.png

    6,115
    65
    281
    Oct 18, 2009
    Connecticut
    Quote:We have sand in our run and pea stone under our deck and around the swingset. The chickens won't eat the pea stone, HOWEVER, that being said, it's not a great run material. Sand provides great drainage, is easy to clean, keeps the smell down (b/c it coats the poop until you're ready to scoop it out just as with kitty litter) and the chickens can use it for grit AND dustbathing. Can't say enough good things about it. Pea stone doesn't stack up to sand in the run.
     
  3. Sylverfly

    Sylverfly Chillin' With My Peeps

    546
    10
    161
    Apr 29, 2009
    Northeastern Michigan
    Alright so sand is better. I’ll have to call around and figure out where I can get a load of sand from. I’m getting the coop ready for the cold Michigan winter and every spring when things start thawing the run is a mess so I wanted to cut down on the mud and poop soup problem. Thanks for the info.
     
  4. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

    8,570
    138
    316
    Feb 24, 2009
    Strasburg Ohio
    I also vote for sand! I got a load of sand this spring in the runs of both of my coops and it is FABULOUS! Sooo much better than dirt, or hay or anything I've ever used. It doesn't get stinky, if it rains, it just drains nicely, and the chickens really love it. I rake mine up every now and again. I also poop scoop it, and clean up the feathers. It looks good and the chickens can scratch around in it.

    Awesome stuff!
     
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

    19,959
    3,125
    476
    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Pat's muddy run page may help you.

    Pat’s Big Ol' Mud Page (fixing muddy runs):
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=1642-fix-a-muddy-run

    Pea
    gravel under sand is usually pretty good. The pea gravel helps keep the sand from sinking into the mud so fast and they can use the smaller stones as grit. The sand is easier on their feet and they can dust bathe in it. Pea gravel is usually round and smooth. Rough sharp rocks can cause bumblefoot but pea gravel should be pretty safe.

    I don't know how big your run is, but talk to your local construction material supply place. I think that is your best bet at getting sand fairly cheaply. You can also talk to your local gardening center. Not a big box store but an actual gardening center or nursery.

    Good luck!
     
  6. Sylverfly

    Sylverfly Chillin' With My Peeps

    546
    10
    161
    Apr 29, 2009
    Northeastern Michigan
    Thanks everyone and I’ll be sure to check out that link ridgerunner.
     
  7. MaKettle

    MaKettle Chillin' With My Peeps

    I have to throw my two cents into this one....

    You may want to search the forums as I just had a really nice thread about this same thing a couple of weeks ago.

    After a lot of research & reading many threads on this topic, I decided to put pea gravel and sand in my run. I would NEVER do that again. 2 things happened--within just a couple of days, my chickens starting scratching the rocks up through the sand basically killing any thoughts I had of using my little pooper scooper to get any of the poo out. When I tried to use it, I got a little poo & a lot of small rocks that wouldn't sift out. You get my point. Also, my sand was a beautiful clean sandy brown color & it quickly turned gray like mud/dirt. So asthetically, I don't think it looks any better than the regular old dirt.

    My plan is to start over again & dig out the rocks and put in just sand. I have found that the sand drains well, without the use of the pea gravel, though I do have a covered run. I'm also going to use more of a construction grade sand & not play sand.

    The pros:
    Its very easy to care for--the poo simply disappears. I rake it every other day or so for feathers, etc.

    The cons: its UGLY! [​IMG] To me, it does not look clean...The pea gravel is the major cause of that, IMO.

    Overall, I think you will like the sand, especially if you have a problem with mud. Sand will definitely fix that. Just don't be surprised if, several months after you put it down, its not as asthetically pleasing as you would like.

    Good luck!
     
  8. ADozenGirlz

    ADozenGirlz The Chicken Chick[IMG]emojione/assets/png/00ae.png

    6,115
    65
    281
    Oct 18, 2009
    Connecticut
    Here are a few photos that show how my run looks after about a year of using sand in it. No complaints here!:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2010
    1 person likes this.
  9. Sylverfly

    Sylverfly Chillin' With My Peeps

    546
    10
    161
    Apr 29, 2009
    Northeastern Michigan
    Ok so I think I'll skip the rocks all together and just go with the sand. ADozenGirlz your coop is beautiful, love the flowers around it. My hens rip up everything around their run and I just assumed that the ground would be too fertilized so I’ve been afraid to plant around it, have you had any problems with having flowers so close.
     
  10. ADozenGirlz

    ADozenGirlz The Chicken Chick[IMG]emojione/assets/png/00ae.png

    6,115
    65
    281
    Oct 18, 2009
    Connecticut
    Quote:Thanks! The chickens trampled about 16 of 20 of these marigold plants just in their day-to-day walking. What remains is, amazingly, just about 4 plants. I had no idea they were going to bloom this way, so I guess I'm lucky they demolished what they did! They don't bother the boxwoods, they dusty millers or the ornamental grasses at all. They DO eat one variety of my hostas though as you can see in this photo, taken 2 days ago (on the right of the photo, just hosta stems!)
    [​IMG]
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by