How to Use Sand in Chicken Run

Sand can help keep your chickens healthy and happy.
Sand can help keep your chickens healthy and happy. (Image: Hemera Technologies/ Images)

Though it may seem like an unconventional material for your chicken run, sand has several benefits as a floor covering. It's inexpensive, pleasing to the eye and easy to work with. Sand stays cool during the summer, and your chickens won't have any problems digging through it to find stray food pellets. Best of all, a sand floor in your chicken run will help keep the area dry, making clean-up and sanitation a much simpler process.

Purchase construction sand from a quarry or a sand and gravel yard in your area. The sharp rocks and large pebbles in this type of sand serve as grit and are beneficial for your chickens' feet. If you don't have access to construction sand, you can try using children's play sand from a home improvement store.

Cover your chicken run with sand to a depth of two inches. Avoid potential drainage issues by applying a layer of gravel to the ground before covering with sand. For plywood floors, place a pond liner over the area beneath the sand.

Mist the sand with a garden hose to prevent harmful dust during hot, dry periods. Protect your lungs by wearing a respiratory mask while you're working with the sand. Clean up droppings with a kitty litter scoop or a vacuum, and change the sand completely once or twice a year.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you live in a cold climate, you may wish to remove the sand during the winter months. You can also try putting a layer of straw over the sand when the weather grows cold.
  • If you're having problems with drainage, don't add wood chips or straw on top of your wet sand.

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