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Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by chickitty, Feb 23, 2012.
what kind of sand should i get for my baby chicks?
I use playsand for my chickens. And i spread some pigeongrit over it for the small chicklets and normal grit for the older birds.
Use All Purpose Sand, you can get it at any good hardware store. It runs around 3.00 a 50lb bag and is better for the chickens than Play Sand.
I just get sand from the lake, it's free (and my daughter loves the playground when we go.) how come no one uses that?
Just my two cents after raising birds for twenty-five years. If you have a free source of sand it might be worth it, although that does not count your shoveling time. Otherwise, it cost a little too much and in my experience is not optimal for poultry bedding. I did try sand for quite a while and in the end chose to go back with pine shavings after gaining some experience. I will explain the reason I don't like sand as bedding for chickens. Think about it this way, the purpose of any bedding is to create an environment which will not harbor odors, fly larvae, flies and disease. The key to creating this environment is lower moisture content and that is where sand as a bedding fails. Likely, you will agree that if you stick your hand down into sand you will note it is cooler and slightly moist. The top layer of sand protects the lower layers of sand and holds moisture in. This is one of the problems with using sand as a bedding, not reducing moisture in the bedding. Remembering the purpose of any bedding is to create a dry environment, sand responds in just the opposite way. When bird feces lands on the sand, the sand in effect encases the feces preventing the feces from drying out quickly. Then when the bird steps on this sand encased fece pile it flattens out revealing preserved wet sticky feces which quickly adheres to their feet/feathers. Whereas if the feces had landed on wood shavings, the shavings would have immediately absorbed the moisture from the feces causing the feces to dry out. Using shavings creates a drier environment which reduces the flies, odor and disease possibilites. Some might say, "Well sand is great because you can take a cat litter scoop and scoop the feces out every day." I tried doing that everyday and trust me it gets very old scooping wet sticky poop out daily; I am not a high maintenance kind of guy. In my experience wood shavings do not require constant attendance, wood shavings are more absorbent, expel the moisture and dry the chicken feces out. That is the goal. When poop is dried out then when it is walked on it will turn to dust and disintegrate into the lower levels of the shavings.
We roll peat moss into ours to give is some softness/loftiness and it's BONE DRY. The sand was wet from when it was delivered and kept covered. After rolling peat moss in, it's actually a bit too dusty. The girls love to dust bathe in it.
Sand will always be our No. 1 choice for chicken bedding. I actually think wood products are among the worst unless you're going replace the whole floor or pick them out like a horse stall you will ALWAYS have wet material left behind.
Our chickens are worth the 10 minutes it takes to "kitty litter scoop" the sand every day.
Bantam Cochin, I would NOT want to be a chicken living in your coop. You let it sit so long that is "turns to dust"?! In the meantime, they are piling more and more fresh wet manure every day. Chicken manure doesn't dry up on contact with the wood shavings, it takes a whole day for the outside to dry and that's in arid dry weather.
Our animals live the way we'd want to live if we were in their place. That means sand as the bedding and it gets cleaned daily in the least, sometimes a second spiffing up in the evening. We owe them that much.
I don't use sand as bedding.
I use chopped straw as bedding and a box with sand for them to play in.
I do dry the sand before i give it.
It is just an extra in the brooder.
In the run i use riversand and in the coop and nests chopped straw.
Any thoughts on shredded newspaper?
Shredding has the same issue as sand it doesn't absorb moisture. Just makes a sticky wet poopy mess which is subsequently transmitted to the birds feet/feathers. It is a good thing we live in America so we can decide what bedding works best for us, "it is a free country" last time I checked. I keep my birds up off the ground in large flight pens. Therefore, I don't have any issues with water absorption coming up through the ground making the shavings wet, so the chicken feces and wood shavings are dry as a bone. The method I use does not require daily maintenance. Without removing old litter, just simply keep adding litter to the top every once in a while until it is approximately six inches deep. This method is nothing new and is clearly discussed and recommended in forums and websites. By experience I can tell you this works well. Also, to the user "ReikiStar" I would appreciate it if you did not use this forum to attack others personally when you said in the above post, "I would NOT want to be a chicken living in your coop." All BYC'ers would be happier if we cordially & reasonably explained why a certain method works well for us. None of us has all the answers and by being willing to try new things I have always learned something. I look forward to learning from the experience and reading the comments of "ReikiStar". Peace out.
Oops, I thought this thread was about sand as grit for chickens to eat... I don't put my chickens on sand they have hay. I throw some sand in their pen for grit, and I get it from the lake sorry for my misunderstanding!