Using sand in coop in winter

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by wac, Dec 21, 2011.

  1. wac

    wac Out Of The Brooder

    May 3, 2011
    Looking for input on the effects of sand in coop in winter as far the comfort and health of the hens. So far I really like it as a bedding.
  2. Sweetened

    Sweetened Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 14, 2010
    Saskatchewan, Canada
    Ill be following this thread, as I'm redoing my coop. I'm very interest as I live in a really cold are (winters are down to -40, sometimes -50C, at that point its the same either way pretty much on the F scale) and I want to do deep litter with sand.

    Thanks for asking the question!
  3. wava1vaughn

    wava1vaughn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 24, 2011
    Cairo Ga.
    I think you might be better off with flakes or some other organic material so they can generate some heat from decomposing.
  4. ninabeast

    ninabeast Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 10, 2011
    Upstate New York
    I put sand in my coop in the spring and absolutely loved it. So did the girls. They would dustbathe in it in the sun, and it stayed cool when the weather was hot. I even had it in my nesting boxes, and it kept them cool while they laid and kept the eggs clean.

    But, with sand being such a great holder of cold, I just couldn't see them having to stand on it in the winter. So, I put a couple inches of shavings on top of the sand about a month ago (there was only a couple inches left in there), and replaced the sand in the nesting boxes with shavings too. Come spring, I'll shovel it all into the compost, clean, and add all new sand. This is only my first year with chickens, and I am winging it, but I think that's how my yearly rotation will go.
  5. chicken grandma

    chicken grandma Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 1, 2008
    west michigan
    I asked our avian vet about sand and he said that he does see some impactions with sand coop bedding. I used corn cob bedding instead because I am allergic to the wood beddings like pine.
  6. wac

    wac Out Of The Brooder

    May 3, 2011
    Thanks for the input. I sorry I've been slow about getting back on line. I love the sand as bedding it's so easy to keep clean and the girls seem to like it but I am concerned about using it in the winter months I think I will ad some wood shaving. It snow her yesterday and the girls didn't know what to make of it they just stood and looked out the coop door and didn't come out till it was mostly melted off. Thanks again
  7. Zigmont

    Zigmont Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 29, 2011
    I like to have some sand for bathing and scratching, but I think it's too cold in the winter and there are concerns over impaction depending upon the type and amount. I use a ton of pine shavings and soft grass hay.
  8. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2009
    Quote:I have read never to use corn cob bedding for birds because of impaction problems with that! The corn cob pebbles tend to swell with moisture and get stuck inside the intestines.

    One of our young chicks gorged herself on sand the first day she was out in the run and got herself a case of pasty butt, but other than that I've had no issues with sand.

    If you use sand with a low fines content (the stuff that makes sand clump together when wet), I think the potential for impaction would be very, very low.
  9. bluebird

    bluebird Chicken Obsessed

    Feb 4, 2008
    My Coop
    I use both...sand and shavings. Our BirdHouse has wood flooring so I cover the floor with an inch or so of sand and then put 6 to 8" of shavings on top. The girls like to dig down to the sand and the sand keeps any new poo from sticking to the wood. The outside run is a sand/paver base mix. It all stays nice and dry! [​IMG]

    It is really just a 'personal' choice. [​IMG]
  10. swamy

    swamy Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 28, 2011
    I'm in Iowa, we normally see lows in the -10 to -15 degree range in the thick of winter, however, this year has been quite different.

    My coop is on a concrete slab in direct contact with the ground. The frozen ground/concrete/sand contact causes the sand to stay very cold. Earlier this year it felt like walking inot a big fridgerator or freezer. BUT, my coop is large for only 8 birds, so I made the change and removed the sand. The fluffy wood shavings break up the cold contact like insulation would and keep it much warmer in there. We add an inch or so every couple of weeks.

    I think if your coop is smaller and off the ground then the bird's bodies will keep it warm enough if you stick with sand. I thought about adding a tiny tiny bid of heat to offset the large coop and sand, but opted out.

    FYI, if your birds have never been on wood shavings be prepared to have them freak out for a bit. The first morning our hens all flew from the perch right through the pop door!

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