Originally Posted by Fire Ant Farm
Yeah, I do as well, and haven't found any way to exclude them form the yard. Fortunately, all the chickens are now bigger than the cats, and I pity the cat that would try anything. My neighbor had a small bantam house rooster (Francois, the Cochin) that lived indoors with about 7 cats , a terrier and a chihuahua. Francois totally kept them all in line, didn't put up with any funny business. Blood was drawn if they got overly curious - that didn't happen often.
@Kev, I don't allow small chicks out unsupervised (and limited otherwise) - the only little ones I have right now are those Speckled Sussex I got at the feed store - 7 weeks old, and to a hawk's eye, awfully portable. The 12 week old Naked necks and New Hampshires could certainly sustain some damage from an attack, as could the Cream Legbars (heck, as could I), but they are all actually larger than the hawks now (the NHs and NNs are 12 weeks but larger than the ~32 week old CLs now, though the CLs act like grown ups). Not that that would stop a hawk, per se, but I observed a few approaches/aborted dives when they were uncovered this weekend (I was outside but too far away, nothing I could do but watch), and clearly the hawk was having to think more carefully about his approach, and didn't find one he trusted - because he would have to land and commit to the struggle/kill, potentially being vulnerable to attack. Sometimes the hawk would sit and watch for a while, as if trying to figure out a way, before giving up and flying away. If they were little, he could just swoop in and out with a clawful. I also think he's not sure the Cream Legbar rooster wouldn't kick his back side into next Tuesday - and I PROMISE Dozer would do his best to beat the hawk up - he's been strutting around like a little Marine on patrol, or better yet, like a little Cossack, with this funny little high step! I may keep him purely for protection duty, maybe he'll tolerate being paired with Tank, his comrade in arms... (Found a cut on Tank today - he's dropping in pecking order. His tail is really short/non-existant, and I think he's maturing later than the others.)
I went on Amazon and ordered some GREEN surveyors tape (that pink hurts my eyes!!!). Ultimately, whenever I decide on something a little more permanent for their paddocks, I'll put up some actual aviary netting - hawks and owls are far too abundant. I was wondering when they would figure out that there were chickens back there - I guess the open-ranging honeymoon is over...
- Ant Farm