Barn cats?

Fuchsia

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Premium Feather Member
Jul 19, 2020
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Hello :frow

I am thinking about getting a barn cat, mostly to keep down rats, but my cousin has one and it ate almost half of her chickens. So how do you keep a cat from eating chickens or ducks? Is there a certain breed to get?

Any advice or tips would be great . Thanks, Anna
 

SBFChickenGirl

Free Ranging
Nov 12, 2018
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No clue about breeds, but our cats do fine with our full-grown chickens. We have to keep them away from our chicks. We had a couple of bantam roosters that would stalk and then attack the cats (it only happened once or twice) and then the cats learned that they needed to steer clear of the chickens.
So keep the cats away from the chicks, but they should be fine around adult birds. Then again, everyone has different situations and animals, so what works for me doesn't always work for you.
 

Barredhen

Songster
6 Years
May 3, 2015
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I have had many barn cats over the years who have all gotten along great with all sorts of other critters! From rabbits and chickens to goats and horses!

Until now :D
From the shelter we recently picked up a very friendly cat, who is extremely energetic. He is quite hilarious and makes great company, he takes walks and hikes with us, he chases the dog when she fetches the ball, he tries to fetch the ball... anyway, he also LOVES to chase the chickens. My youngest five chickens were hatched in July so everyone is plenty big enough to get out of his way. I keep hoping they'll turn on him and give him a good peckin' but they just flutter and run which ads to his amusement. Through a serious of cat tossing, chasing, shooing & scolding events I've been able to get him to understand not to go in their coop (I need them to lay in there, not be terrified to use it!) and he is getting better about leaving them alone in the yard. We've only had him for maybe 6-8 weeks. He is a 10 month old, so fairly active teen years. Him in particular, I don't think he'd kill one, he just loves to cause them chaos. But he is 1 cat out of maybe 12+ ? and his personality really lends itself to the behavior, he likely ended up in the shelter for being an impossibly destructive indoor kitty lol.

I say all of that to say that yes, there may be problem cats. But I CERTAINLY think that they're the minority. Many farms have cats. You can try to work with the cat a bit if its posing an issue or rehome the cat and find another! Noone says that cat has to stay with you if it isn't working out.

Some advice would be, 1) get a kitten. That way its small and raised around the hens.
2) I would NOT suggest getting a feral cat! Personal preference, I want a friendly social animal. Secondly, a feral is used to eating whatever presents itself and I would think that would raise the chances of you have an issue with the chickens.
3) Females in my experience are the better mousers and calmer. I would suggest a female. I would also suggest that you plan to spay her :)
4) Do note that whatever cat you end up with, chicks and rabbit kits are snack sized. Though I would say that it is rare to have any cat to full sized fowl issues, unattended week old chicks are fair game. I keep our chicks in something with a cat proof lid on it, or in the tack room away from cats etc.. until they're big enough to go outside. Basically, if I think that they're to small to be dumped in with the hens and fend for themselves then they are to small to risk with a cat who is employed as rodent patrol. Though I've never had any cat/chick casualties myself!
 

Fuchsia

𝒜𝓃𝓃𝒶
Premium Feather Member
Jul 19, 2020
6,616
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NY
I have had many barn cats over the years who have all gotten along great with all sorts of other critters! From rabbits and chickens to goats and horses!

Until now :D
From the shelter we recently picked up a very friendly cat, who is extremely energetic. He is quite hilarious and makes great company, he takes walks and hikes with us, he chases the dog when she fetches the ball, he tries to fetch the ball... anyway, he also LOVES to chase the chickens. My youngest five chickens were hatched in July so everyone is plenty big enough to get out of his way. I keep hoping they'll turn on him and give him a good peckin' but they just flutter and run which ads to his amusement. Through a serious of cat tossing, chasing, shooing & scolding events I've been able to get him to understand not to go in their coop (I need them to lay in there, not be terrified to use it!) and he is getting better about leaving them alone in the yard. We've only had him for maybe 6-8 weeks. He is a 10 month old, so fairly active teen years. Him in particular, I don't think he'd kill one, he just loves to cause them chaos. But he is 1 cat out of maybe 12+ ? and his personality really lends itself to the behavior, he likely ended up in the shelter for being an impossibly destructive indoor kitty lol.

I say all of that to say that yes, there may be problem cats. But I CERTAINLY think that they're the minority. Many farms have cats. You can try to work with the cat a bit if its posing an issue or rehome the cat and find another! Noone says that cat has to stay with you if it isn't working out.

Some advice would be, 1) get a kitten. That way its small and raised around the hens.
2) I would NOT suggest getting a feral cat! Personal preference, I want a friendly social animal. Secondly, a feral is used to eating whatever presents itself and I would think that would raise the chances of you have an issue with the chickens.
3) Females in my experience are the better mousers and calmer. I would suggest a female. I would also suggest that you plan to spay her :)
4) Do note that whatever cat you end up with, chicks and rabbit kits are snack sized. Though I would say that it is rare to have any cat to full sized fowl issues, unattended week old chicks are fair game. I keep our chicks in something with a cat proof lid on it, or in the tack room away from cats etc.. until they're big enough to go outside. Basically, if I think that they're to small to be dumped in with the hens and fend for themselves then they are to small to risk with a cat who is employed as rodent patrol. Though I've never had any cat/chick casualties myself!
Thank you!!
 

CHlCKEN

🍂 Chicken Herder 🍂
Premium Feather Member
Jun 21, 2020
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Tennessee
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Great question! My barn cat is scared of chickens. She is a bit like their guard cat though, when they wander off she jumps at them to scare them where they’re supposed to be. This surprises me and I have no idea why she isn’t driven to kill them.

But not every cat is like that. Some WILL try and kill your chickens. The best bet would to do as I did. Get a very friendly social cat (not one of those “adopt a barn cat” ferals) like what Barredhen says. Smaller cats are built more for the outdoors, and make better barn cats AND because they’re about the same size as the chickens, they aren’t always to interested in going near them! This obviously does NOT apply to every cat, but it’s how my cat is.

Even though Shadow is a rescued stray, she’s actually been socialized since before I got her. Some animal rescues and shelters have surrendered barn cats (I almost took one home before Shadow came to me!) at least the ones near me.

I hope it goes well. I’m sorry I don’t have much information on training them around chickens! But if you do have questions, I can help with almost everything else!
 

Abriana

Spicy Sugar Cookie
Apr 26, 2017
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Midgard
My family and I are also thinking of getting a barn cat. Our neighbors that we left our birds with have two cats and they were both very good with the chickens, sometimes they accidentally got in the pen and just hung out until they were let out. They are not tame cats and don’t let anybody touch them. I am very nervous about getting one because I’m worried about the chickens. We have an electric fence though, and would probably allow the cat to be shocked once or twice to get the message across (it’s not very strong). I’ll be following this thread!
 

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