hello all my back yard friends, My names Kristen I'm a mother of 3 crazy little ones ages 6, 4, and 2. we live in New England so it snows here in the winter and i have questions about that too though, Just recently we decided we were going to get chickens for many different reasons. get back to our roots, fresh eggs, etc. As we are a one income family our budget is tight so we cant afford those amazing looking chicken coops so we have to build with scraps and odds and ends. i have been looking on Crigslist too but with no luck As i am surfing the Internet and pintrest i am over whelmed with ideas for what to do. still unsure of how big it really needs to be. we want our chickens to be able to wonder the yard and put them in at night so they stay safe. we don't have a lot of wild life that would eat them we have a bear we see once a year maybe a fox here or there. but we also have a dog that keep animals away too. so I'm not to worried and i keep a watch on our dog he dosent get to leave my side. i just want our chickens to be happy, and be a good owner. but boy do i feel a little lost dose any one else? i notice most are off the ground is there a reason why? what about the base of the cage i see some people use wire wouldnt that hurt their feet they say its so their droppings fall threw and the hut stays cleaner? What about the snow? i have no power for a heat lamp out in the middle of my yard how do others heat where there is no out let? i have also read that chickens dont need heat, how can this be it gets cold here LOL i will keep reading up but i wasent sure if any one else had the same questions i did.