Just found this thread and still on page 35.......But here's my setup and some questions.
iwiw60: Are you still using the silver round water heaters you bought last year from walmart? I need two for my plastic buckets with HN.
islandgirl82: Are you still in Maine (as I am) and did your chickens fare well with last year's forever horrible winter?
I have 2 coops.
#1 coop 6x8, attached hardware-clothed run 12x12. 7 hens
#2 coop 6x10, attached hardware-clothed run 16x16 15 hens
In the fall, I'm starting now, I secure polycarbonate panels around the entire runs. On nice sunny days when no snow or wind is predicted, I can remove or replace any or all side, front or back panels. The roof panels stay in place until spring, when I then remove half of them on both sides. This provides them with a run that remains half dry during the summer. With all the snow we got last winter, these panels were unbelievable. Their runs remained free of snow and wind chill, but provided plenty of ventilation and sunlight. I keep all their food and water in the run. It keeps the coops cleaner and drier and I found that the only reason the hens go inside is to either lay or sleep. Regardless of how cold it is outside. I saw evidence of a mouse eating food only once last year. I just installed solar powered, photo-eye sensored auto chicken doors and I love them! Now I can take my time in the winter when I have to shovel to get to them, and in the summer when they're up at 430am. This also makes for a very clean coop. The coops are insulated with 3 windows each and 2 ceiling vents each. I don't really need to winterize the coops as it basically is just a matter of closing the windows a bit. I have tried heating the coops, but I'm petrified of fires and the volunteer fire depts would never reach the coops with all the snow. And the coops are right outside my bedroom window. Besides, one evening while out doing a final headcount, I couldn't find one bantam. After a few minutes, I looked directly over my head and she was perched somehow on the heating lamp cord. That's when I decided that perhaps using the heat lamp would be less than ideal.
I can only free range when I am out with them along with my 2 dogs who patrol the perimeter of woods.
What I would do differently:
1) Replace the permanent roof panels on the south/west side with sun-blocking panels. In spite of the open concept, they are very hot under the clear panels during July-August. (I plan to do this next May.)
2) I would've placed my man-doors inside the runs. I clean the coops every day and when we have so much snow, it takes forever to shovel from the house to each run-door and then around to the back side to both man-doors. Last year was brutal.
3) If I hadn't had property boundary restrictions, I would've separated the structures more. The amt of snow I shovel off the roofs completely fills up the area between them and then there's that much more shoveling to do. Again, last year was brutal.
Spring and winter photos below: