Straw on sand, will this work?


10 Years
Feb 5, 2009
Unfortunately, the space between the boards of my chicken coop have widened enough to let rain in (I will be fixing that this summer), and the ground has sunk far enough that water pools inside easily (I have a dirt floor). I take great pains to keep it dry, but it's a lot of work, so I'm trying to find the most cost-effective way of permanently solving the problem (concrete is out of the question, unfortunately). Here's what I was thinking:

What if I put in enough sand to level out the surface, then put straw over that and clean out as need be? Would this work? Should I put gravel beneath the sand or will just sand work all right?

Also, for those of you who use sand in your coop or run, how often does the sand need to be replaced?

Thanks for any advice! I'm just sick of the coop getting wet all the time and I know that it isn't healthy for my birds
Boy, you should read my post from this morning in Managing Your
Flock section...I have been fighting with my wet smelly runs most of the day and I can tell you NO straw or hay in your runs or you will be extremely sorry because it only adds to the problem as the straw breaks down and starts to rot along with the chicken poop and uneaten feed-Yuck! And then the flies come visiting only they intend to stay,believe me, it's terrible. I've had a lot of good advice about adding sand to the runs, it is a bit expensive if you need a lot of it to cover a lot of space like I do.

As for the coop, (you say you are going to fix it where the rain can't get in so easily, which will help 100%) and the floor is a dirt floor, I should think if you layered with gravel and sand mix and pack it real well it should take care of the holes but I would not put straw down on it. Have you considered using sawdust on the floor instead? That is what I have in my coops and it is easy to scoop up the poop and it stays nice and dry, which your coop will too once you get it fixed so the rain can't get into it. Hope this helps!
Thank you very much for your input!
I read your post from this morning, and, wow, that's how it is every time spring thaw comes around! It's nasty. Ugh, yes, I learned the no-straw-in-run thing quite quickly, and will never ever do it again, it made things twice as bad
I just let the sun do the work now (when it decides to come out, that is!)

On another note, I have considered wood shavings and sawdust, but it's so hard to clean out, unfortunately. Straw is so much cheaper, too, and I can just rake it out. I can get about five or six coop cleanings for a fraction of the price it would take to fill my coop once with pine shavings. The straw is really nice, too. There is so much less dust than when I used shavings, and my chickens love picking up the little bits left over. I can see why shavings work really well for some people and I'm not trying to say straw is better, but for me it's much cheaper and is really good quality.
Yeah, I know what you mean about keeping costs down, it seems like I am at our farmers co-op every other day here lately. And to be truthful, I can get all my sawdust I need for free because me husband's uncle owns a sawmill. If your coop door is flush to the ground and you can just rake it right out, then that is the way to go. I do prefer the shavings for the nesting boxes as opposed to the straw that my husband wadded up in there for them to nest on. I think that the shavings make a more softer nest and not so bristly sticky feeling, but then I am not a hen and they probably don't notice that sort of thing in the least.
Best of luck keeping that rain out!

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