One of the hottest debates amongst chicken owners is: shavings or sand?
The standard wisdom is shavings for coop litter. It’s how it’s been done for ages, and it suits many (even most) chickeneers just fine. But sand is getting a lot of buzz, and I hopped on the sand bandwagon after only one week with my first set of chicks, and have never looked back.
The advantages are manifold. I find it easier to clean, and therefore, cleaner. Can you clean a catbox? You can clean a sand coop. It’s cool in the summer, and cold as Hades in the winter (still working on that). As a side bonus, if sand is your litter, you don’t need to provide either grit or dustbaths. They’re soaking in it!
Heedley’s Hens 2.0 are getting accustomed to my daily sand cleaning routine, and are now attacking the sieve rather than fleeing it. They’ve learned that all accouterments come out of the brooder for cleaning time, and, once the sand has been sifted, it’s pretty groovy kicking around in mounds of clean, warm sand. All that’s missing is some gnarly waves.
Today was the first day I witnessed full-on dustbathing in the brooder, and you can see it captured on video on the Heedley’s Hens Facebook Page. One Australorp girl was really committing to the experience, and some of her sisters were giving her a hard time about it:
They look as though they might just be grooming her here, but I failed to capture the moment when one of the Wyandottes stood on top of her. For, like, a while.
In any event, she didn’t seem to care that she was marching to the beat of her own drummer. Mother Nature was telling her to flail about with abandon in the sand, and she listened. She has great technique, too.
One last shot, as badly focused as it is, to show you that the girls have discovered the camera…
They look rather intimidating, don’t they? No? Just me?