Shavings vs. Sand in brooder

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by imaleomom, Sep 4, 2008.

  1. imaleomom

    imaleomom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 4, 2008
    We are anxiously awaiting the arrival of our chicks next week (provided hurricane Ivan doesn't come our way).
    We are getting all of our stuff ready to go, but wanted some input on the shavings vs. sand for brooder question.

  2. jadude

    jadude Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 22, 2008
  3. ChickenToes

    ChickenToes Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 14, 2008
    NE Wisconsin
    You know, I've never actually heard of using sand in a brooder. Maybe someone else will chime in on the topic.

    I would go with shavings. It's what most people use.

    There are two downsides I can think of with sand - the chicks will probably peck at it and eat it, and they would kick up a lot of dust.
  4. LindaN

    LindaN Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 28, 2007
    I used sand first and then added shavings later.

    My reference book (Gail Damerow's Storey's Guide to Chickens) said that shavings were better than sand, however it also noted that chicks can eat the shavings and get pasted up from them.

    So, for the first few days to a week I used sand. I used a cat litter scoop to clean up inside the brooder, which was easy with the sand. After the first week, I added shavings over the sand.

    I figured if the chicks ate sand, it was about the same as them eating fine grit, and they would need grit eventually anyway.

    They did fine on the sand base and the shavings. It was dusty around the brooder, but that seems to come with the territory. This little chicks are constantly growing and adding new feathers; that creates a lot of dust, too.
  5. Akane

    Akane Overrun With Chickens

    Jun 15, 2008
    I was told not to use sand because most important the chicks eat it far more than shavings and can end up eating more sand than feed. It also supposedly smells more and is harder to clean out than shavings. I haven't tried it though so I don't know first hand. I usually put mine on papertowels for a few days to a week depending how many there are and how much time I have and then after they are eating their chick starter well start slowly removing the paper towels until they have no choice but to stand on the shavings. They spend the first few days trying to all crunch on the paper towels and avoid the shavings until they realize it's safe.
  6. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

    Nov 18, 2007
    My Coop
    I'll vote for the shavings. Worked well for me, but never thought about sand.
  7. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

    Nov 18, 2007
    My Coop
    I vote for pine shavings. I agree with "LindaN". I used shavings when my birds were in their brooder but I used a wire brooder very similar to the brooder in Story's Guide. The only pine I used was originally a shoebox lid, and later a plastic storage box lid. I put several layers of newspaper in a space unser the brooder and every day I would pull out the top poopy piece and trash it.

    Gail Damerow's 'Storey's Guide to Chickens' is an excellent guide. [​IMG]
  8. imaleomom

    imaleomom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 4, 2008
    Thanks for weighing in guys. Seems like shavings are the clear favorite.

    I know that shavings are more popular, but I talked to some other people who swore by sand; reasoning that it was easier to clean out and it wasn't a big deal if a baby had a nibble.

    So what about the coop/run? Shavings or sand?? [​IMG]
  9. Three Cedars Silkies

    Three Cedars Silkies Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 17, 2008
    Gainesville, Fl.
    Brooder...I don't use anything but puppy pee pads or paper towels for the first 2 weeks. By then they know what feed is. Then I put in shavings...but by this time you could also use sand. Sand is much cleaner and will dry easily if water is spilled. I'm talking about the bagged white play sand.

    For the coop/run....last weekend we completely cleaned out all the old shavings and replaced it with white sand. Watching them try NOT to stand on it was hysterical. It took a while for them to get used to it. It is soooo much cleaner than the shavings. Poop can be sifted out. You can also add DE to the sand for fly/mite control. Ours free range during the day. There is a courtyard in front of their pens that is fenced for the little ones that don't free range yet. We are putting sod down in it this weekend. Right now it's just dirt.
  10. ravenfeathers

    ravenfeathers Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2008
    i vote neither and go with peat moss. you'll never smell a whiff of chicken and it doesn't seem too palatable, although it's not harmful if eaten. it's all i used from day one with my babies. i was so happy with it, i'm now using it in the coop.

    i'll second sand for the run. it drains well, cleans well, and is easy on the feet.

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