I recently bought six fine laying hens from friends in the Valley where we buy goat shares and fresh organic eggs - best goat milk EVER. We had them one month and last weekend the biggest hen (my favorite) acted very sluggish and did not dash to the corner of the run when I came in to change out the water and fill the feed. Two days later I saw one missing from "the girls" and hoped maybe she tarted laying for us (finally) but found her dead on the nest instead. The coop has been scraped and cleaned, and I added fresh straw. I keep an oil-filled heater running (enclosed) at the lowest temp setting. and add light in the early evening hours until about 8pm to extend their Alaskan winter day. Yesterday found the first bit of ice in the galvanized 3-gallon watering can, despite the 50-watt oilpan heat pad purchased at NAPA. I took the upper ceramic tile off the pad to put it in direct contact with the water tank. I switched from the 20percent soy-based feed to a non-soy organic feed at twice the price and it is only 16percent. My better half does not want me to feed them corn - believes there is no such thing as un-altered corn grown anywhere nowadays - and I'd have to agree (any other ideas?). Some in AK say salmon meal is a good choice, others think it "flavors" the eggs (what eggs, I ask?) I got these grain-scarfin', feathered friends to provide a local source of breakfast food, but no luck, so far... I also bought the best electrolyte, probiotic powder I could find at AK Mill & Feed - did the math and added slightly less than 1/8th teaspoon to the 3-gallon can to improve their health and durability in the cold weather. Figure the 8-oz bottle should last two years past the stamped shelf-life expiration date at this rate. One (tiny) dose every month, I figure. I welcome good advice, and please don't flame me or I will just never come back. I am over fifty and have no patience for those kind of folk...I believe my granddad was the kindest person in the world, and I want to be like him.