Sand vs dirt

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by mendozer, Nov 28, 2011.

  1. mendozer

    mendozer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    There are many threads on using sand and people seem to love it. I don't like how the dirt gets muddy from rain. However, dirt is what hides bugs, which they love. I use an enclosed run and if I put sand down, not only are they never going to get bugs again, but grass won't grow through that. Then again sand is supposedly good for dust bathing.

    Wouldn't you have to supplement with grass clippings, dried worms, etc. Then again, i don't know if grass will ever grow back with the girls stomping around daily.

    Seems like both have their merits and faults.
     
  2. Pharm Girl

    Pharm Girl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I like bark chips over sand. The large bark chips. The sand compacts down in the winter rain, but gets less muddy and falls off their feet at night. The bark chips help absorb the rain and they can kick it all around. They can do without the bugs. Throw them a hand full of scratch or seed once in a while. Mine go crazy for flax seed and they are so small, it takes them a long time to find them. I also use sand inside the coop. They have pine shavings in their covered run, but up in the hut under the perches I have sand which I can use a kitty litter scoop to get the poop out every day.
    I also have a narrow run extension behind my garden which I throw composting leaves and pine needles on. The worms do come up under that, but it gets so slimy and nasty I would hate to have it all over.

    I also overturn gardening trays when the weather permits and grow grass through them. I hope to build a real grass garden for them next year.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2011
  3. mendozer

    mendozer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    that's creative. I suppose I could also cut out sod and throw it in there.

    any sand works or is a particular type preferred? playground, construction, etc
     
  4. BlazeJester

    BlazeJester Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My thoughts regarding sand - you don't know what's been in contact with construction sand or where it came from. Playground sand is child-safe, which means it is most definitely chicken-safe. It's also about $5 for a 50lb bag.

    Looks like I'm about to overhaul my run when it finally stops raining and get a couple bags of sand.
     
  5. mendozer

    mendozer Chillin' With My Peeps

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  6. ivan3

    ivan3 spurredon Premium Member

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    BOCOMO
    mendozer wrote: I recently winterized my coop by tarping over all the wiring. Since no more water can get into the mud, how long should I wait until I top it off with sand?

    You can start amending the soil with sand at any time. Either the All Purpose/Play sand will work (avoid the really fine `tube sand' it simply disappears into most soils without using A LOT). Some folks use pea gravel as a base. As run is covered? Slope of run isn't as much of a concern. If it is a large run think about having the stuff delivered by the ton from a local supplier (cheaper).

    Covering our runs isn't realistic (big trees in chicken run/turkey run surrounded by same). Approx. 8" top soil over clay. First year the turks, during the Spring thaw, were sinking into the goop. Started adding sand and have continued to do so. Turks no longer get muddy.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    (Midwest Zen garden, if I do say so [​IMG] )​
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2011
  7. ChickenAl

    ChickenAl Diagnosis...Chicken-Headed

    Jun 5, 2011
    Putnam cty, NY
    Quote:I buy the washed construction sand. It is a coarser sand and drains much better than play sand.
     
  8. mendozer

    mendozer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    to give you a better idea of what I'm working with

    [​IMG]

    the coop/internal run is 4x8 and the external run (the chain link part on the right) is 12x6 so my total ground cover is 104 sq ft.

    [​IMG]

    this is their dirt now. If it does get muddy, its only by the run door because of lack of coverage.

    I'm just trying to decide whether sand offers a big advantage to me now for these reasons:

    1) i like them having access to grass/dirt
    2) i rent, so sand may or may not be an option (coop is allowed)
    3) cleaning is supposedly easier with sand (although I have yet to rake out the run for poop, it just breaks down)
    4) would i be able to just top off the dirt with say 2" sand or would I have to excavate dirt then fill in 6" of sand?
     
  9. ivan3

    ivan3 spurredon Premium Member

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    Thanks for posting pics. I'd probably go with Pharm Girl's setup (couple inches of sand with bark chips on top). Won't interfere with the regrowth of grass at a later date. Will help speed evaporation.
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2011
  10. mendozer

    mendozer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    ok. does sand prevent bumblefoot by any chance, because of the ground not being soppy?

    4 or 5 50# bags should do it then right? Just a surface coating really. I'll probably mix it in with the grass that's there for fluff and something to pick at
     

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