Finally figured out how I am going to take care of my 4 little hens this winter. I thought I would post about it incase anyone had any other suggestions or if anyone is still debating how they are going to handle this winter. I got 4 little bantam cochin chicks this spring, on Mothers Day actually. I remember this because chickens were not exactly my wife's idea of a Mothers Day present. Oh well. I built them a rather small coop and run. There are things I would have done differently but I am happy with it for the most part. Everyone I know that has chickens says I went way overboard and that my chickens are spoiled. I take it as a compliment. The coop has double doors on the front for access, and a nest box mounted on the side. I have been keeping there feed inside the coop, and there water outside in the run. With the winter fast approaching I have decided to make some changes. I live in Iowa and the winters can be rather harsh. I realized the water is going to have to be relocated to the inside of the coop. I was still worried about the water freezing inside the coop. I had a couple different ideas. My first idea was to get a heated dog bowl and throw a little mason jar type waterer inside the bowl. I think they are pretty cheap, I've seen small ones at Walmart but never really payed much attention to them. I am not sure if would of worked, but I figured it was worth a shot. My next idea was to hang a heat lamp in the coop. It is such a small area I think it would put out plenty of heat. I wasn't really excited about leaving a light on out there all night though. I saw some red heat lamp lights, I don't much about them, they might have been ok. I don't know if it would bother the chickens to have a light on all night but I figured I wouldn't want to try to sleep with the lights on. I searched the internet a bit this morning and I found these ceramic heat bulbs. They radiate heat but no light. They are kinda pricey, 30-35 $ On top of that, I couldn't find them anywhere. I don't really like ordering stuff online, and none of the farm supply stores around here had them. I got back online and realized that pet stores sell the bulbs, apparently they are used for reptiles, turtles and stuff. Every pet store around here had them but I couldn't find them any cheaper. I went ahead and bought one. My next concern was regulating the temp in such a small area. I have a thermometer but I never bothered to hang it in the coop. My little coop is pretty well built. I have caulked everything and have decent ventilation at the roof line. I do eave the pop door open all the time though. I don't think I will need the extra heat all the time, but I don't want to constantly monitor the temperature out there either. I got back online and found a "thermostatically controlled plug in". Basically, you plug your heat lamp into it and it will turn your lamp on and off for you. Turns on when it drops below 35, and turns off when its above 45. It was $13 at Tractor Supply I think. The only bad part about it was the temperatures cannot be changed. So my winter plans are to wrap the run with some plastic to cut down on wind and keep most of the snow out. Then I am going to run a heavy extension cord from the house to the coop. I am going to hang the heat lamp with the ceramic bulb from the roof with the thermostat. I think it will be enough heat to not only keep my hens cozy but keep their water from freezing as well. My fear is that even with the thermostat the heat bulb will be running all the time. I don't know how much impact it will make on my electric bill if the thing runs all winter but I guess I will find out. The heat lamp cost me $10 at Tractor Supply The thermostat was $13, also at Tractor Supply The ceramic heat bulb was $32 at Petsmart, it might have been Petco, I'm not sure, I cant remember now. Anyway, I thought I would post my plans and see if anyone had anything to add. I figured there is a lot of people like me scrambling to get things down before winter. I haven't actually got anything installed yet, It was almost dark by the time we got down shopping. I figure if their water is not frozen there is no hurry to get the lamp out there. Hopefully the weather stays decent in till I get everything hooked up this weekend.