Well, much progress has been made on the new coop! It is now primed and painted…boy, what a job! Erik volunteered to paint it for me, so we picked up a paint sprayer…$99 at one of the big box stores…Let me tell you, unless you plan on spending at least $300, you are wasting your money, as well as your time! Overspray, drips, clogs, pressure losses…We were fortunate to have a neighbor offer us his paint sprayer ($300+), and it worked like a charm…Mind you, it's not fast nor fun (the paint still takes time to dry and cure!),but it is much faster than doing it by hand! Two coats of primer and two coats of exterior latex semi-gloss later, inside and outside, and this is what it looks like now…
Two small easel-type windows will be added this week to both the front and back, to increase air flow inside the coop and to help lower the temperature. Erik cut out the doors (pop holes) for the chickens…the design was his idea. They are high up because the interior cages will be about 45″ off the floor, so Greg won't have to bend to clean the cages and give them water and food. The trim around the outside windows and doors still need to be done; I'm thinking pink to match the Pixie Chick logo! There is a 4', 4 bulb fluorescent fixture mounted on the ceiling, and the wires you see will give me extra outlets mounted under the cages for brooder lights, heaters, etc.
Greg has been working hard on the exterior runs, and Erik has been a big help here, too, with attaching all that wire. The runs are 6' high, and will have fencing wire across the top of all the runs, to deter hawks as well as to keep the chickens in…Seramas fly very well! We'll be able to walk into the runs to be with the chickens, and they'll have plenty of space to play!
Five runs currently, with one more to come, located at the back of the coop for the babies, who are now 6 1/2 weeks old. Out of 10 chicks, I think I have SEVEN roosters…that's right, SEVEN!!! I sure hope I have better odds with my next batch…Speaking of which, I currently have 13 eggs in the incubator! They went in last Sunday evening, and I'll be “candling” them tomorrow to see which ones are fertile. They are mostly from Winston and Walter, who from now on will be referred to as “Carlos”…I just couldn't get the hang of Walter's name, so it has now been changed…and no, he doesn't seem to mind one bit! These two are my “quieter” roosters and will be the basis for my breeding experimentation. I'm not sure if we can capture the candling with a camera, but we'll give it a try!
The incubator I'm using is the Genesis 1588 without the automatic egg-turner. Several Serama breeders have recomended this model for holding it's temperature and humidity well. The others that were recommended were too big for me, and too expensive, actually. I am only turning my eggs twice daily, and adding water to the reservoir to keep the humidity at a steady level. I had a problem intellectually, with the egg-turning apparatus, mainly because the eggs are held upright the entire time. Now, I'm sure that's not too big a deal, but in my head I'm thinking, “How many chickens sit on their eggs pointed in an upright position?” You can see my logic here…So, my eggs are lying in the warm incubator on their sides, being rolled over ever-so-gently (and lovingly), morning and evening. And, since the Genesis was so much cheaper than the other suggested model, I bought two! I'll be incubating another batch of eggs tomorrow night!