This is a mock up of our new paint choices (from Behr.com website). The walls and trim are about right, but the door color looks more brown than it should. It's more a deep red in real life. The darker blue will be for both the shutters and the deck (we don't have a picket fence).
So, we've decided to do the siding work before winter. We have been able to make the necessary funds available and we have set up an appointment to get our siding project on the schedule for this fall. The company will complete the siding job (including the weather proofing) and then we will do the paint job immediately afterward. We are also going to keep the old siding that is in the best condition to use on our little garden shed. There are boards that are rotted and a few walls need replacing. The old siding on the addition part of the house is newer than the rest of it, so hopefully it'll be usable. The remainder of everything they remove from the house goes to recycling. We will generate as little trash/landfill as possible in this process.
Keep your fingers crossed for us that opening up these walls does not reveal dry rot or missing insulation that will cost us even more to remedy!
Yesterday I discovered that we were making a few rookie mistakes when it came to our chickens. The first is that when we went to buy additional feed (after we finished the first bag), we bought 'layer crumble'. They were already eating 'crumble' (as opposed to pellets) so we figured that was ok. The 'crumble' part was not the problem. 5 week old chicks should NOT be eating layer feed! Ooops!! We made an emergency run to the feed store last night and picked up another bag of the grower/starter feed. The layer feed has added calcium and other ingredients that are not necessary for chicks and that can actually harm them if they are not producing eggs yet. I hope that a week of the wrong feed won't do long term damage. We put the balance of it into bins and will save it for later. They shouldn't go on layer until we've seen the first eggs...
The other rookie mistake was adding perches to the 'run' part of the coop. By putting them outside the coop, I am encouraging them to roost outside and that is not a habit we want them to pick up. Once they get to free-range, we want them to WANT to go back into the coop at night. It's safer from predators in there than in the run part. Plus, if they get used to roosting outside, they may end up roosting in trees and we can't have that.
The things we are doing right? Keeping them locked in the coop/run/tractor all the time for the first couple of weeks. This allows them to feel safe and it makes this spot 'home' for them. This way, when we do let them out, that's where they will naturally go when it gets dark or when they get scared. We are also doing right by the heat lamp. Basically, we turn it on only on the nights where it'll be cold (less than 65 degrees). The chicks are almost fully feathered, so they are close to not needing it at all. I've noticed that when the light is not on, they tend to sleep all in a pile in the corner of the coop. That's normally ok except that our coop has no bottom, so they are killing the grass in that one spot. We are going to put some type of bottom on it eventually, but until then, I want them to sleep on the perches!