I live up in south-central Alaska and had 5 good layers (3 reds and 2 buffs) last year. Unfortunately last fall a hawk got two of the hens and the other three didn't produce much after the second bird died. I attempted to keep the remaining three happy over the winter, but the temps were so low that I found the eggs frozen in the coop by the time I returned from work in the evening. I added an electric heater to the coop, but the cost was ridiculous. Needless to say I found a neighbor who has a hearty flock to take the three hens, as I felt that they weren't warm or happy enough in my coop. They are laying again and appear to be very happy in their new home. We are having a mild winter this year and I spent the majority of the last week cleaning and upgrading my coop; sealing the drafts, insulating the walls and mending the coop door. I switched from straw to spruce shavings for matting/bedding to keep moisture down, but still plan on using a little bit of straw for added bedding. I am hoping to get a 4-6 2 yr old hens next week to give it another go. I have a few questions and concerns, and would greatly appreciate any input before I purchase the hens. 1. Should I add a ceramic heat lamp on a thermostat regulated outlet to kick on when temps drop below freezing? I have found mixed responses to this question and do not want to make the hens more susceptible to the cold by supplementing indoor heat. 2. Last year I opened our coop everyday, rain or shine, snowing or blowing, and let the hens roam the 2.5 acres. I noticed that they didn't always venture out, and some days didn't leave the coop. Should I continue to open the coop everyday, even when temperatures are super cold? 3. My coop is approximately 4x6x6 with 4 laying boxes and 2 roosts. I found the best spot for water in the summer is outside of their coop in the fenced off area. In the winter it was tricky. I couldn't find a good location for the water in the coop that they didn't terrorize, and found that I had to clean the water dish nearly daily to keep it clean. From your experience, where is the best place to keep the water inside of the coop. Many thanks for taking the time to read and respond to this lengthy post.