barn cats and chickens, a newbie question!

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Eilene, Oct 27, 2008.

  1. Eilene

    Eilene In the Brooder

    Oct 1, 2008
    This is taken from another thread that I didn't want to hyjack with my question. (Mouse Plague!! HELP

    Quote:I'm curious about barn cats and chickens sharing the same building. When they are made to find their own food, do they ever see chickens as a possible dinner? When we start our flock we plan on having them in their own special area of the barn / yard, locked away from the cats, but I worry that the cats might stress the hens by hunting them.

    Anyone have anything they could share on this subject?

  2. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Our barn cats leave the chickens alone and will steal the cat's catches. The cat's know to grab their food and go where chickens can't get it if they want to eat. However, our barn cats also get about a handful of feed a day each to keep them around in addition to their hunting. They may eye the younger chicks, but I usually have an adult bird around to keep the cats in line if they ever so think they might get chicken nugget. No probelms in 10+ years of free raining adults and chicks.
  3. Eilene

    Eilene In the Brooder

    Oct 1, 2008
    Thank you for that! I did think the biggest issue would be, if any, the babies looking yummy but I never would have left them unguarded. I just didn't want to have to worry that the cats would stress the hens.
  4. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    If anything, the hens will stress out the cats. Although there is a risk so do keep that in mind, as there are some cats who get desprate enough to try for chickens.
  5. chickenannie

    chickenannie Songster

    Nov 19, 2007
    Cats will eat little chicks in a snap. However a half-grown or full grown chicken will enjoy chasing the cats around pecking them on the head. The cats will stay away from adult birds.

    The cats 'might' stress the hens out... hard to say without knowing the exact configuration of your barn. Sometimes when hens see something unknown or that they are afraid of they will squawk at it.

    You can always watch the hens for signs of stress.
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2008
  6. We support a full colony of feral cats in our barn, which also houses our coop. Now the cats and birds don't come into contact because we operate a closed flock (see link below) but we don't have any rodents thanks to them, and if any got into the coop I could lock the birds in the run to give a few females the chance to hunt.

    Do you know if those electronic mouse repellent emitters can be used in coops? I think a comany called Victor makes them. Not sure if the sounds generated by the devices bother chickens. They also have a pricier electronic mouse killer.
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2008
  7. derby

    derby Songster

    Apr 18, 2008
    Boonsboro, MD
    I have never known those electronic things to actually work at deterring rodents (or anything else). We had a mouse problem in our house for a couple of years until a friendly feral cat arrived. After that, I always keep a barn cat around. We are now up to 5 (LOL) adopted cats and kittens. The cats and kittens are more afraid of the chickens than vice versa. The chickens stand on them, walk on them, and will chase the cats away from the catfood.

    I'm not a cat person --- but I do love having barn cats!
  8. Eilene

    Eilene In the Brooder

    Oct 1, 2008
    wow, thank you for all the responses and input! I'm sorry I didn't get back here sooner but we are in the middle of a huge move and this week has been insane.

    My idea is to have a section of the barn for coop use and to have it enclosed off from the rest of the barn with access to a secure run to guard against predators. I do want any future cats we have to live in that same barn but they wouldn't be able to get in or touch the chickens at all. It sounds like the cats and chickens will do fine and we wouldn't be bringing in any kittens until after our first hens are grown, so they should learn their limits just fine. [​IMG]

    I can't wait to get started. Reading here has been fun but I'm ready for some hands-on learning now!
  9. ChickaD

    ChickaD Songster

    Aug 6, 2008
    central Vermont
    It seems everything's been answered nicely, but just to put in my 2 cents' worth, when we got our first batch of chicks years ago, we also added two kitties for the inevitable increase in's worked like a charm! We now have three indoor/outdoor cats, who know better than to bug the chickens. We keep the chicks separate and protected, then when they're good size, they take care of themselves, actually chasing the cats as they please. Everyone gets along in our yard. [​IMG]
    Good luck with your move, Eilene - that sounds like more of a trick than a treat! [​IMG]
  10. Sahara

    Sahara Songster

    Apr 22, 2008
    Keystone Heights, FL
    We just recently moved out into the country and a stray cat has killed three of my chickens so far. I am now in the process of ensuring the coops are predator proof. The chickens the cat got were my younger ones that were born this year. I don't think it will mess with my older flock.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: