Are cats a danger to chickens?

turbodog

Songster
9 Years
Feb 21, 2010
537
12
131
Independence, La.
As I'm wanting to have chicken around the new place, in considering predators (we have enough of the wild varieties around) I started to wonder if cats are a threat too. I have several cats, some of whom have been active outside hunters. None have ever seen a chicken before (which might make for an amusing encounter...or not). There are one or two ferals running around here that might have seen them before though.

I wouldn't think a housecat is a real threat to a full grown chicken, but then maybe that depends on the size of the chicken.

I want to let my girls free-range during the day, whether I can keep an eye on them or not, and certainly don't want one of my cats deciding they might make fine sport, so I figured I'd ask about others experiences with cats and chickens. I do recall seeing a thread where someone's birds were killed by a cat and wondered if that is rare thing or not.

Thanks!
 

stuckinthecity

Crowing
11 Years
Apr 25, 2009
1,026
119
261
There's 2 well known stray cats that wonder around my yard daily and I've never seen them even try to come after my girls. Cats love baby chicks though, and younger birds. I wouldn't worry about big hens but I'd watch out for the bantams.
 

slightlyscrambled

Songster
10 Years
Mar 30, 2009
562
1
139
Nebraska
I personally dont trust any of my cats with my chickens, I have seen them kill a full grown rabbit and am sure if they caught a chicken off gaurd they would kill one of them also.
 

FortWorthChicks

Songster
10 Years
Nov 21, 2009
1,221
4
149
Fort Worth
I have alotttt of big stray cats that come through my yard. My chickens chase them away.

My cats thought they were gonna have a big chicken dinner and all my girls ran after him. Now he runs off if they come too close.

I wouldn't worry with standard size chickens that are grown.
 

elmo

Crowing
11 Years
May 23, 2009
4,907
264
336
DFW
A lot depends on the chicken's attitude, I think....but of course size is a factor. The bigger the chicken is, the more likely it is not going to see a cat as a threat and fight back. A friend of mine keeps Aseels; even though they're pretty small, they have a lot of fight in them. He lost one of his Aseel hens who refused to back down and fly away when a raccoon attacked her nest. She probably could have scared away a domestic cat (who, after all, is hunting for fun and not for survival).

Yesterday morning when I was out taking care of my flock, the cawing of crows made me look up. I noticed two crows harrassing a red tail hawk and chasing it out of the neighborhood. The hawk was more than twice the size of the crows, and there were only two crows. The hawk could easily kill either crow, but the crows were not acting like prey, they were acting tough. Attitude does seem to make a difference.
 

ranchhand

Rest in Peace 1956-2011
11 Years
Aug 25, 2008
13,295
78
291
SC
I'd be more worried about other predators if you are going to free range with NO supervision in Louisiana!
 

ScoobyRoo

Songster
11 Years
Aug 21, 2008
1,996
9
174
Land of OZ
Quote:
The thing that comes to mind about the rabbit, it really does not have a way to defend itself but run. So, it would be easy for a cat to make the kill if it isn't being flogged with wings and pecked. I have three cats and they do not bother my hens or banty. They will go for the chicks though. If they have a mama they are protected but not 100%. I catch my cat napping in the coop all the time and it upsets the hens because the cat curls up in one of the nesting areas
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ranchhand

Rest in Peace 1956-2011
11 Years
Aug 25, 2008
13,295
78
291
SC
I did have a feral cat get a claw in the wing of a BA hen once- the ensuing infection killed her. That and are feral dogs are why my chickens don't free range unless I am standing right there. Usually taking pictures of them!
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gritsar

Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!
13 Years
Nov 9, 2007
28,906
325
661
SW Arkansas
IMO, most cats no. My cat, that often kills (or used to kill before she became an indoor only cat) lots of things larger than herself, yes. She'd kill a chicken in a heartbeat. I took the cat out of the feral, but I can't take the feral out of the cat.
 

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