Hi All - I'm a long time lurker who has finally bit the bait. I joined BYC last weekend and my chickies (4 buff orps) arrive in 2 weeks. You guys are such enablers.... I am currently trying to determine the best coop design for us (and my wallet). As soon as the snow breaks and the ground is thawed enough to dig (next 2 weeks) we will likely begin construction. I say "we" pretty liberally here - I will likely be doing a large amount of this work. And let's just say that I am a mom with a manicure. No building experience. But a lot of determination. I am limited by city ordinances to 5 hens, so I don't need to build for a growing flock. I had originally thought I'd build a walk-in style coop, 4x8. I was told that this is a good size for the least amount of materials waste. My husband thinks that it will be warmer if it's on/near the ground. I also want them to have plenty of space so that on those days that are sub-zero, they can just stay in the coop should they so desire. My worry is that with only 4 hens, a structure that big will be hard to keep warm in the winter. I am planning on putting in several windows, so that will help heat it up as well and we will wire it for electricity when we build so that a heat lamp can be added on those super cold nights (as well as a water-warmer). Would I be better off going smaller, like with a playhouse style coop (4x4 or 4x6 coop plus a run I'm thinking...) that is off the ground? Will the floor get too cold being off the ground? I could insulate the floor when I do the walls, but is that enough? Seems like the playhouse would give them a little more run space, but the coop isn't walk-in style. I need some experienced opinions! Thanks everyone!