The Complete Guide to Using Sand for The Chicken Coop

There are many coop beddings out there, with straw and wood shavings being a few of the most common choices.

Today, we will be talking about an uncommon choice – sand. If you are interested, then read on! This is the complete guide to using sand for the chicken coop. Let’s go!

This article will cover

  • Why Should You Use Sand in Your Chicken Coop?
  • How Much Does Sand Cost?
  • How Much Sand Do I Need?
  • What Type of Sand Should I Use?
  • Where Can I Get Sand?
  • How Do I Prepare My Coop?
  • Utilizing
  • Cleaning and Maintaining
  • Things to Consider When Using Sand

Why Should You Use Sand in Your Chicken Coop?

sand in chicken coop

All beddings have pros and cons. Sand might be an uncommon choice, but it is undoubtedly one of the best choices. Here are some of the main reasons why:

  • Easy to Clean– Sand is easy to clean. You don’t have to replace it often. With sand, you only need to spend a few minutes each day to keep your coop at its best state.
  • Reduces the Smell– One of the challenges in keeping and raising chickens is the smell. Not only is it unpleasant, but it is also bad for you and your chicken’s health.
  • Reusable– You’ve read that right. Sand is reusable. We’ll talk more about this later.
  • Does Not Rot– Unlike other beddings, sand does not rot.
  • Lower Bacterial Count– Compared with some other beddings, sand has fewer things to offer to harmful bacteria. If the bad bacteria can’t start, it can’t spread. If the bacteria can’t roll out, there’s a lesser chance for your chickens to get a disease and get sick.

How Much Does Sand Cost?

Sand is both expensive and budget-friendly.

It is possible to get inexpensive sand, but it is generally known to be expensive.

To add, sand could be more challenging to find than the other types of beddings. Also, it is heavy. With that, you might have to worry about shipping fees as well.

On the other hand, sand is budget-friendly because buying sand could be a one-time thing. As we’ve said earlier, it is reusable. Used properly, you won’t have to get it again.

A tip, if you could, it would be a good idea to buy sand enough for two coops. We’ll tell you why in a bit.

How Much Sand Do I Need?

Of course, it would depend on how big your coop is, but you would need to cover the chicken house with at least 4 to 6 inches of sand.

Again, it is a good idea to get more than you need, if possible.

What Type of Sand Should I Use?

sand chicken

Unfortunately, finding the right kind of sand is not easy. It goes by many names, like river sand, coarse sand, and construction sand. However, these names don’t really help. Sometimes, these names even create confusion!

You want coarse sand. It should have different-sized particles instead of it looking fine. In other words, you’re not exactly looking for something too dusty. You don’t want the type of sand you see on the playground or the beach.

There is an ongoing debate in the chicken community when it comes to using sand. One side is all for it. On the other side, not so much.

Both sides have a point. However, those who usually have nothing but bad things to say about sand are talking about the wrong sand.

As a chicken keeper, you want what’s best for your chickens. That’s why you might want to look at the points of both sides, but beware of the opposition talking about the wrong kind of sand in the first place.

Where Can I Get Sand?

You can probably get some sand from your local home improvement or hardware stores. The thing is, they may not have the type of sand you need.

You might have a better chance of finding the correct sand from construction supply companies.

Again, the sand you’re looking for goes by many names. It is possible they’re not selling it under that name. It is also possible they’re selling something else under that name. It would be a good idea if you go and see the different types of sand they have.

How Do I Prepare My Coop?

sand for chickens

There are a few things you need to check in your coop before you use sand.

First, you need to make sure your flooring can hold the sand in the first place. Remember, you need to place 4 to 6 inches of sand in your coop. That could be heavy, and your floor could break down.

Next, you need to make sure there are no wide gaps in the floor. If not, the sand could all fall out. Still, you also need to make sure to have good drainage. The sand won’t be able to show what it does best if there is poor drainage.


Using sand for the first time could be challenging because it is heavy. You would need to stretch some muscles to put it to use. However, it is worth it, and this should not stop you! Take your time and do it little by little.

You want to put your sand in the chicken coop on a sunny day or a dry day at the very least. That’s because your sand could take a long time to dry if it gets soaked.

Cleaning and Maintaining

sand bedding for chickens

Cleaning the coop is easier if you’re using sand.

With sand, you don’t have to go take out and replace the bedding each time you clean the coop. Unlike other types, sand allows you to pick the poop out of the bedding. You can use a litter scoop or small shovel for this.

It is easy to find chicken poop in small coops. If you have a big one, you can also use a broom to help you search.

Also, a rake would be a fine addition to your set of cleaning tools. Ideally, you would want to rake your sand from time to time to make sure it won’t stick together. To add, you can also use a rake if ever a part of your coop gets wet.

Earlier, we mentioned that it would be a great idea to buy enough sand for two coops.

It is a good idea to clean your coop on a daily or weekly basis. However, yearly clean-ups would also be great, and the extra sand would come in handy for this. What you want to do is to take out all the sand in your coop every year and change it with the extra sand.

Don’t throw the used-up sand, though! As we’ve said earlier, sand is reusable. You can place the used-up sand somewhere where it can be washed by the rain and heated by the sun. The rake would also come in handy for this. Rake this sand from time to time.

After a year, you can use this sand again as you do the same thing with the sand you’re going to take out of the coop.

Things to Consider When Using Sand

river sand for chicken coop

Does Sand Freeze?

Some have said that sand can freeze up. As you might have guessed, this could end up hurting the chickens when they jump from a high place like a perch or a roost.

Well, sand can indeed freeze up if soaked in water. However, I think we would all agree that that can happen with anything that gets soaked in water.

Earlier, we mentioned that sand wouldn’t be at its best if there is a drainage problem. In other words, it won’t be able to perform if the stage is not ready.

It might be a good time to say that sand is a good bedding. It is not fairy dust. It doesn’t do magic. It can be a great bedding only when used correctly.  

Sand will not do much about the temperature in the coop during the cold seasons, but it is not bad for such times.

Does Sand Heat Up?

Well, yes, it does. It will heat up if directly exposed to a heat source (e.g., sun).

However, it will not just magically heat up as some make it sound. Other things will take a longer time to heat up, but almost everything exposed to a heat source would most probably heat up at some point.

If the sand inside your coop will not be directly exposed to a heat source for a long time, it won’t heat up.

Sand is actually good when the weather outside gets hot. It can make the inside of the coop cooler.

Can I Use Sand in the Brooder?

It is advisable to use paper towels for the first few days of your chicks.

The little ones don’t know what to and not to eat yet. Using any other type of bedding runs the risk of your chicks getting a crop impaction because they might eat it. Learn about crop impaction here.


That’s the complete guide to using sand for the chicken coop!

Using sand as a coop bedding might sound odd, but that only makes it a hidden treasure! It is an uncommon pick, but it is undoubtedly one of the best choices out there.

Now that you know some of the secrets behind this gem, it’s time to let your chickens experience this great coop bedding!

chicken sand

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12 thoughts on “The Complete Guide to Using Sand for The Chicken Coop”

  1. My coop has a concrete floor. I covered the floor with masonry sand. In the corner I put up 2 wooden perches. Every morning when I go to feed my girls I have a kitty litter scoop I attached a small rack handle to it. A small rake and a bucket. I pick the poop under the perches every morning then spread the poop in the field or the yard. I also put up fly traps inside the coop and by the chicken yard. This keeps the coop clean and very few flys.

  2. How do I create drainage in my coop. I have a plywood floor that I plan to cover with sheet linoleum for easier cleaning. I am ordering sand for the coop and run.

  3. I’d love to do sand in my run but do i have to put a floor down? Cant i just level the dirt, put retaining blocks or pavers around it and pack the run with several inches of sand?

  4. I have a concrete rat slab in my coop covered with plywood, to prevent snakes or mice or rats digging in…can I still add sand? I love the idea over all the other beddings I’ve tried!

  5. Can you compost the poop that has been scooped out? Or will the little bit of sand that is stuck to the poop not work for composing?


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