Cat ate our chicks!

Bouncing Beatni

Hatching
May 7, 2015
1
0
7
We are brand new to raising chickens. We put together a nice 3-4 chicken coop with a run, and brought 3 baby chicks home, mostly pets for our kids, but hopefully eggs eventually.

We let them run around the yard eating bugs and pecking at the dirt. Monday, one of them turned up missing. Thought she had just run away, but Tuesday, my wife saw a big black cat run off with another one. We have kept the third one in the coop at all time, but we saw the cat pacing outside the coop yesterday, until we scared it off. We're getting a humane trap to get the cat and take it to the shelter.

We have three new chicks now to go with the older one, and they all seem to get along great. Unless someone is in the yard with them, we keep them in the coop, and put them in the nesting box at night with their heat lamp.

Question is, how old do chicks have to be before they can protect themselves against cats? I know to lock them up at night (raccoons, possums and such), but can we ever just let them run around the yard during the day?
 

needlessjunk

Crowing
6 Years
May 19, 2014
2,601
2,460
347
Georgetown, TX
We are brand new to raising chickens.  We put together a nice 3-4 chicken coop with a run, and brought 3 baby chicks home, mostly pets for our kids, but hopefully eggs eventually.

We let them run around the yard eating bugs and pecking at the dirt.  Monday, one of them turned up missing.  Thought she had just run away, but Tuesday, my wife saw a big black cat run off with another one.  We have kept the third one in the coop at all time, but we saw the cat pacing outside the coop yesterday, until we scared it off.  We're getting a humane trap to get the cat and take it to the shelter.

We have three new chicks now to go with the older one, and they all seem to get along great.  Unless someone is in the yard with them, we keep them in the coop, and put them in the nesting box at night with their heat lamp.

Question is, how old do chicks have to be before they can protect themselves against cats?  I know to lock them up at night (raccoons, possums and such), but can we ever just let them run around the yard during the day?
Usually once they are fully grown cats lose interest not that they can protect themselves. I'm not quite sure when that is because this is my first set to chicks, usually I do ducks and they grow faster than chicks.
 

lazy gardener

Crossing the Road
7 Years
Nov 7, 2012
27,615
26,997
917
CENTRAL MAINE zone 4B
I wouldn't trust chickens with cats until they are full sized. And even then, it's a matter of the chicken calling the cat's bluff. I had a cat when I was growing up that would routinely drag home rabbits that were as big as him.
 

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