Does sand in the run get too hot for their feet?
One of the most popular options for chicken runs is sand, but there’s a common concern about whether sand gets too hot for chickens’ feet. In this article, I’ll explore this issue and share my personal experience and research on the topic.
Is Sand Safe for Chickens?
The answer is yes, sand is generally safe for chickens as long as it’s the right type and depth. Chickens are used to walking on various types of terrain, including sand, dirt, and grass. Sand is a great option for chicken runs because it’s easy to clean, provides excellent drainage, and helps control odor.
However, there are some important factors to consider when using sand in a chicken run. Firstly, the type of sand matters. It’s crucial to use coarse or medium-sized sand, also known as builders’ sand or play sand, as opposed to fine sand or beach sand. Fine sand can compact too easily and retain moisture, which can lead to bacterial growth and cause respiratory problems for your chickens. Beach sand can contain salt, which can also be harmful to chickens.
Secondly, the depth of the sand is important. The sand should be at least 4 inches deep to provide enough cushioning for the chickens’ feet and to prevent it from getting too hot. If the sand is too shallow, it can become compacted and hard, which can cause foot injuries and discomfort for the chickens.
How to Keep Sand Cool in the Summer
While sand is generally safe for chickens, it’s true that it can get hot in the summer months, especially in areas with high temperatures. However, there are several ways to keep sand cool and comfortable for your chickens:
- Provide shade: The easiest way to keep the sand cool is by providing shade in the chicken run. You can use shade cloth or plant trees around the perimeter of the run.
- Add water: Sprinkling water on the sand can help keep it cool, just like a sprinkler cools down a lawn. You can use a hose or a watering can to add water to the sand.
- Use a misting system: A misting system is an excellent option to cool down the sand and the chickens. It’s easy to install and can provide a refreshing mist in the chicken run.
- Use deep litter: Deep litter is another option to consider if you’re worried about the sand getting too hot. Deep litter is a combination of straw, leaves, and other organic materials that provide cushioning and help regulate temperature and moisture in the chicken run.
Other Options for Chicken Run Flooring
If you’re still concerned about using sand in your chicken run, there are other options to consider:
- Grass: Grass is a natural option for chicken runs, and it provides a soft surface for chickens to walk on. However, it can be challenging to maintain, especially if your chickens like to scratch and dig.
- Wood chips: Wood chips are a popular option for chicken runs, but they can retain moisture and attract pests. It’s crucial to use untreated wood chips and replace them regularly to prevent bacterial growth.
- Concrete: Concrete is a durable and easy-to-clean option for chicken runs, but it’s hard on the chickens’ feet and can be slippery when wet.
Sand is generally safe for chickens as long as it’s the right type and depth. While it can get hot in the summer, there are several ways to keep it cool and comfortable for your feathered friends. If you’re still concerned about using sand, there are other options to consider, such as grass, wood chips, or concrete. Ultimately, the best flooring option for your chicken run will depend on your chickens’