Are my birds cold at night?


9 Years
Mar 27, 2010
Greensboro, NC
I've got 3 RIR. They have a A frame tractor coop. My question is related to nighttime temps. Oh, and I live in NC and our evening temps have started dropping into the 40's this week. I understand that RIR are okay in cold weather. We have two drop down "hatches"/windows (triangular in shape) on either side of the coop w/ hardware cloth that we were keeping open during the summer for ventilation and to keep them cool(er). At what temp should I shut one or both of these? I have started shutting one side and have been leaving one open. I don't want them to get too cold. We're not doing a light in the coop yet for them so there is not that additional warmth. Any ideas, guys? I'm clueless. I just don't want to make my birds uncomfortable. Also, any other hints now that fall is here. Thanks.
i am wondering the same thing. i have my girls in a rabbit hutch at the moment and there is one door with a solid front and one door with a screen. it looks cold, but i am also not a chicken. my birds are bantams. they will be moving into a bigger coop in a week or two but i am wondering if i should close the front door so it is more solid and less chilly in there.
RIRs are not going to have any problems with winter temps in NC. I would be inclined to leave those hatches open year round. The danger of poor ventilation is much more concrete than the danger of them being cold. I would only close them if there was going to be heavy precipitation, and then only for the duration of the storm.

Good luck.
Chickens come with their own down jackets. They can actually handle cold much more easily than heat. Really. Even my cold sensitive Serama crossbreeds were out running happily around their yard last winter during days that stayed in the 20's...I saw them with my own eyes. Birds that are too cold in daytime will sit fluffed up on their roost.

Just make sure you give them housing that is dry, draft free and well ventilated. If your windows are roost level, so leaving them open at night would let cold air blow over your birds as they roost, I'd try to fix it so they have some roost space away from the draft. But be sure there's other, adequate ventilation above roost level if you close down the windows.

I've been closing down the windows and back vent in my new coop here already, and our temps are only dipping into the 50's at night...but I do have tiny bantams. The front vent, high above roost level, is left open, though, and provides sufficient ventilation.
I am wondering the same thing about my 12week old Ameraucanas... They have a small coop that they are in over night. The coop is divided into --half is 1/4" hardware clothon three sides w/ a solid bottom and top-the other half is solid w/ a small door and the roost is in there... Only two actually go in and roost.. the rest are piled into a corner against the hardware cloth --all together in about a foot sq space... keeping them pretty warm--I am sure.. There is a total of 11 but four are leaving this week. Will they still be warm enough?
I have 8 week old chicks sleeping in an old rabbit hutch at night. We have had a couple of frosts already and they were absolutely fine.
Try to reduce draughts, remember that several little bodies together keep warmer than 2 or 3 , feed them well and they will thrive,

Chickens are a lot more cold hardy then people think, just because when you walk outside and its chilly doesnt mean your birds are cold. Yours will be fine.
Cold is a relative thing. We're happy for lower 40's/upper 30's here this time of year since that means no frost yet. I don't even concern myself with whether the chickens are too cold as they don't seem to mind a bit (see below for my types). When it finally gets below 32 at night I'll probably partly close some of the windows--everything is wide open now. For most birds--and RIR's are one--cold isn't going to be a problem, it is heat that bothers them. So the answer to your question is "No".

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