How cold hardy are Rhode Island Reds?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by hagarwon, Jan 18, 2009.

  1. hagarwon

    hagarwon Hatching

    Mar 11, 2008
    I had 22 RIR in a converted, high roof, 12 x 12 horse barn. It was getting really cold in there, below freezing, so I moved them into a much smaller coop for the winter. The new coop is maybe 8 x 4 with a 6' ceiling and I have a ceramic heater in with them. The temp usually stays above freezing, although it has dipped below freezing the last couple of cold nights. I'm in north-west NJ.

    Does anyone know how much cold the Rhode Island Reds can take?

    Also, I don't let them out when it is raining and cold because I'm afraid that they will freeze when they are wet. Should this be a concern of mine?

    This is my first year with chickens, any advice would be appreciated.

    Thank you
  2. rdranch

    rdranch Songster

    Apr 13, 2007
    They are very cold hardy and will fine with temps well below freezaing. I have three New Hampshires and they do very well here in Eastern Colorado. They are considered a heavy breed and are well suited for cold weather. [​IMG] I think you could put them back in the 12x12 as long as it has adequate ventilation. The space heater is optional in my opinion.

    Our coop is the last 6' of a 12x24 metal barn with a 9' ceiling. There is a vent at each end that measures about 12"x24" and I open a door when the weather permits. Temperatures are around the 20's most nights and it is always 5-10 degrees warmer inside than outside.

    They may not look and act happy but they will be fine. Ours are rather spoiled so we sometimes get attitude but I know they are fine.[​IMG]
  3. Omran

    Omran Songster

    Jul 26, 2008
    Bagdad KY
    I have 6 RIR hens and 1 rooster also RIR, thier coop is not heated at all and it is 10'x10' and thanks God they are doing real well temp was two days ago -5 at night.

  4. moduckman

    moduckman Songster

    Jan 2, 2009
    Cairo, Missouri
    If it is not getting below zero, they should not need a heater. They will do fine.
  5. hagarwon

    hagarwon Hatching

    Mar 11, 2008
    Thanks to everyone for the advice.

    Can you tell me if I'm right in my assumption that if they get wet from rain or snow then they will have a problem in the cold?

    I've let them out when it snowed but some seemed to get confused and not go in at night. I have to pick them them and put them in.
  6. morelcabin

    morelcabin Songster

    Feb 8, 2007
    Ontario Canada
    The cold won't bother them until about -18 or so After that I would definitely add a heatlamp.
  7. Omran

    Omran Songster

    Jul 26, 2008
    Bagdad KY
    Quote:Yes you are absolutely right when chickens get wet and it is already cold then troubles and problems are definite.
  8. PortageGirl

    PortageGirl Songster

    Nov 8, 2008
    Portage County, Ohio
    It sounds like you feel they're too crowded in the smaller area?

    In the larger area, do they huddle and cower together like they're uncomfortable? If they just roost a little extra, and go about their business the rest of the time, scratching etc, they're probably happy in their more open area.

    And yep, they're very cold hardy, and don't much mind snow or rain either, but yes, too much wetness will lower their feathers insulating ability. If they want to go out, I'd let them do so on snowy days if it's not too heavy. Rain, well it might depend, definately in spring/summer, they can figure that out fine, but in either case, only if you're around to check on them and make sure they get in ok towards evening!
  9. claud

    claud Songster

    Dec 12, 2007
    I've had RIRs for years in a 6X10 coop(about 12 birds). They did fine in the winters here that get to 0 at times - no heat.
    Keep them dry and draft free and they will be fine.
  10. greathorse

    greathorse Songster

    Oct 1, 2008
    Northern Colorado
    I really beleive that you are doing your birds a huge disservice by putting 24 birds in a 32 Sqft coop. I am not sure what you are doing for ventilation, but I assure you that they would prefer the colder coop with more space and more air exchange. I live in Colorado with a coop that has windows open to the south for venilation, is not insulated and I use a 60 watt bulb for light so they continue to lay. It gives off very little heat. My RIRs's did just fine in the minus 18 we had earlier this year. My Rooster has a very large single comb and did get a very minor frost bite. On the coldest days they did not spend much time outside but had to go out to eat and drink.

    I worry about chickens in small tight coops more than I worry about chickens getting cold.


BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: