Hi there. I've searched and searched and read and read about this topic, but I feel a little lost. I have four 5-week olds and am completing their coop and run (coop is 4'x4' and the run (in which they'll pretty much always be when outside the coop) is about 13'x4'). One of my questions is: we're in the high desert outside of Los Angeles. The dirt is rocky/sandy/dry. Lots of little rocks, fine dirt, bigger rocks, etc. Can I just use that in the run, taking out big stones, of course). The floor of the run is paver stones I laid down and I want to cover it. It seems a lot of people say sand, but not too fine...so I wonder if the high desert natural stuff is okay/safe? If so, do I also throw in any type of "regular" dirt? I just want what is best for the girls, but also economical and not incredibly complicated. (I live on 7 acres of the type of dry dirt/sand/rock, so it's very accessible!). I put a picture of the type of "soil" that is all over the place. I would keep big rocks to a minimum, of course. There are much less rocky areas, but this is the general idea.
In the coop, I'll use pine shavings for the next boxes. Should I use it for the coop floor bedding as well? or more of the dirt/sand/rock?
Secondly, I feel lost at all the talk of using DE or PDZ (I think). Should they be used in BOTH the coop and the run? If so, how much and how often?
ANY clarification/help would be appreciated!
Thank you (and our four "Golden Girls" thank you!)