Originally Posted by Ol Grey Mare
This is a fairly common worry - all I can say is that in all my years of having chickens and avid hunting cats I have not lost a single bird to a domestic cat. That's not to say they don't like to indulge in some practice stalking, but that's as far as it has ever gone - now, chickens stalking, attacking, chasing and bullying cats is another story, lol. When they are small and not under the care of a broody hen you need to take reasonable precautions and provide supervision, but once the birds have some size on them (or from day one with chicks under the care of a good broody hen) it's generally not the problem most anticipate it to be. That being said, it is always wise to keep an eye on things at first just to be sure your flock and kitties are able to be trusted together.
The two cats in this photo are some of the best hunters I have ever had - the hens have them TOTALLY bullied into submission:
If you do some looking you'll find tons of photos of chickens that are eating out of a cat's dish while the cat sits to the side, sulking and waiting for them to let him/her have whatever they leave behind......
HaHa, that's funny about the cats. This spring is the first time for chicks. They have been fun so far! My cat could care less about the chicks, she just wants to share the heat lamp with them! My dog, however, is too interested in them. Every time we get the chicks out to hold, he wants to sniff and lick them, so we generally mess with the chicks while he is contained elsewhere.
4-H sounds like a fun project for the kids. My son is 8 and I think he would enjoy the project of raising show chickens. His little chick is a white Japanese bantam that was mixed with an Amerucana. She's White but developing a lot of black spots all over her body. Ironically, she had one black spot on her head as a week old chick, so that's her name: Spot.
I live in Eastern WA state where it is much colder that the west side (thinnk Seattle). My little guy and I put our chicks in the coop yesterday. I tried a few different setups to keep the coop warm at night and finally set up two roosts where the heat lamp is facing out across them. They can get up on the top roost to get warmer and go down to the bottom roost or the coop floor to get cooler. It is working very well. BTW, the chicks are about 5-6 weeks old, none have all their head feathers yet.