All you lovely folks here at BYC (I'm especially looking at you, @azygous , @henless and @Blooie ) have helped me SO much with getting my chicks living out in the coop, and with finding a system of FF feeding that worked. I hatched them inside the house at the beginning of November (100% hatch rate and no deformities or losses....woohoo!), had them in a brooder inside for about a week, then moved them into the garage under the heat lamp, then ditched the heat lamp for a MHP, first in the garage for 2 days, then out in the coop by 2 weeks old. At first, I had them in a bottomless chicken wire cage up on bricks so they could go in and out but the 3 adult hens I have couldn't get in. Then as they got bigger, I ditched the cage and put up a chicken wire "wall" with a hole in it, small enough for them to get in and out but not big enough for the hens to get in. As they are getting older and bigger, and it is getting much colder, I need some help with transitions...... 1. How and when do I get rid of the MHP? They are now 5 1/2 weeks, and most of their feathers are in, just their heads are still a bit scraggly looking. The MHP is still out in the coop, and is about as tall as I can make it. They are about 9-10 inches tall but can definitely still fit under there, just not a full standing position. I haven't gone outside after dark to see if they are sleeping under it still because it's been so cold! Later in the week, though, it is supposed to dip into the teens and single digits, and they are saying it will feel like 10-15 below zero. Obviously I will keep the MHP in there for that, but it's supposedly to be a pretty polar-vortex-y winter. At what age will they be ok without it out there, even if it gets frigid? Here in NJ we don't often go below the teens in the winter, but wind chills frequently make it feel much much colder. The coop door stays open unless it is a blizzard, because the run is secure, and the chicks' "panic room" and MHP are on the other side of the coop from the door. The coop and run are blocked on 2 sides by a 6-foot vinyl fence (the coop is 1-2 feet from the fence), and the 3rd side faces the house, so there is a little buffer from the wind. The coop is not insulated and I have no supplemental heat other than the MHP. 2. 2 days ago, it started getting cold enough to freeze the water outside. Not only is the hen's waterer outside the coop freezing, but the chicks' waterer inside the coop is also freezing. By 10-11 am, the water in the coop has still been frozen. My hose is no longer working because it is frozen, so I have to bring water outside in gallon jugs from the house. Last winter, I just put the water in a rubber bowl and kicked out the ice twice a day and refilled it, but I still have the chick water in the coop. The hens chase them about a bit in the run, which is where the big girl water is hanging. I'm likely going to break down and buy a heated waterer, but I hang it under the elevated coop and the chicks aren't tall enough to reach it yet. Should I be concerned about the hens not letting the chicks drink from the bowl? They haven't actually hurt any of them, I think they are just trying to show them who's in charge, but I don't want to put the babies in danger. Also, I don't know how long it will take them to go outside when they need water, after being used to having it in the coop. 3. I am feeding them FF once a day. I usually put it out there around lunchtime. I've tried earlier, but I find they don't really eat as much and a lot sits for hours (maybe because they've been picking all morning at what was leftover the day before?). First, is once per day enough? Also, should I still keep it in the coop? I tried once to put it in the run, away from the hens' food, but the hens came over to the chick food and chased them away. Also, should I consider feeding dry during the winter, or do most FFers feed FF all year round? 4. Finally, at what point do I no longer need a "panic room" for the chicks? When can I feel confident that they will be ok without having a getaway? Thanks so much for all your advice!