The sand floor method-chicken coop might sound a little strange if you're used to using wood chips or straw. However, switching to sand could be the best decision you make about caring for your chickens.
Interestingly enough, this method goes back to the early part of the last century, and has been effective ever since. Let's take a look at how to use a sand floor method-chicken coop to make your chores easier.
First, you need to get the right kind of sand. Beach or play sand isn't what you want, even though that seems like it'd be kinder to your chickens. Instead, you want rough, coarse, construction sand - the kind used by concrete workers and other construction workers.
This is rough sand that you might not want to walk barefoot in, and it's best gotten at a sand and gravel yard or your local quarry. The sharpness is actually better for your chickens.
Sand is cheaper than most other floor coverings, at about six months worth for around twenty bucks. It helps your chickens preen and stay clean, and it helps them keep their feet in good condition, since they're walking on rough sand at all times.
They also won't need to be provided with grit anymore. The small pebbles and sharp pieces in the sand help them digest their food properly, with no grit supplementation. Sand can also help your chickens stay cool in the summer, since it doesn't heat up inside a shaded coop.
A sand floor method- chicken coop has a lot of benefits for you, too. The sand doesn't retain moisture and decay like most cellulose bedding's will. This means that it will dehydrate droppings and make them easier to clean up and less smelly.
You only have to scoop the floor, instead of having to dig out all the bedding and get rid of it. Bugs and mold won't attack your hen house, either. Sand conserves food, keeping it from being lost in the layers of the hen house floor, and it composts more readily than manure mixed with lots of cellulose.
Of course, like any bedding, sand has its downsides. It's harder to transport than cellulose bedding's and it can be dusty when it's dry out. You may want to mist your chicken coop during the hottest days of the summer to keep your chickens from inhaling the dust.
However, the benefits outweigh the problems. Add a pond liner over the floor of the chicken coop and then fill it with sand, or just put sand directly onto a dirt floor.
A layer of gravel beneath the sand will keep drainage issues from coming up. Clean up with a rake or a scoop, and change the sand out once a year. You'll be amazed at the difference.