Cat or Rat?

Oct 16, 2020
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Update: No dead rats in the traps this morning. All the feed I left lying around to attract them appears uneaten.

The cat hypothesis is gaining ground.
 
Oct 16, 2020
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Seems to me that open feed would be a rat's first choice. How do you think the cat got in?
I don't think a cat got in. I think a cat figured out a spot where it could get a paw through and "fish" for birds.

I think a cat realized it could catch one of the babies from my nursery coop, and then kept going, stealing 4 babies total, and injuring 2 more birds.

I try to make sure my coops are adequately covered and protected from cats, but... I should probably put chicken fencing on top of the chicken wire. 2 layers of protection.

Also, I shouldn't put babies on ground level until they are big enough to at least hop. It's possible one of the babies squeezed out through the chicken wire and ventured just outside the coop. Which would have whet a cat's appetite for more. :/

(This is, of course, just a theory. I may still catch a rat.)
 
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Evidence against my cat is circumstantial but growing.

I believe I found where he got a paw through.

And he’s been lying around in the backyard, staring eagerly at the coops all morning.
 

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CovidtimeQuail

Songster
Nov 28, 2020
316
630
171
Honolulu, HI
I am so sorry. My cat got one from the brooder once. I came back to see the remaining chicks huddled up in a pyramid and shivering.

That hole looks big enough for a cat to fish something out of, but chances that the birds were just sitting there isn't as great as that something crawled in, then crawled out.
 

ozzie

Crowing
13 Years
Nov 12, 2007
233
63
251
Australia (New South Wales)
@JaeG That’s what happened to our quail a while back. I woke up and found that something had dug under and grabbed the legs off all the quail in a tractor on the ground (it had a wire floor). They were still alive just amputated. I was horrified. I had to cull all of them. Poor things. Most likely a rat. The hole near the tractor was too small for a cat.
 

JaeG

Crossing the Road
Premium Feather Member
6 Years
Sep 29, 2014
7,309
20,636
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New Zealand
@JaeG That’s what happened to our quail a while back. I woke up and found that something had dug under and grabbed the legs off all the quail in a tractor on the ground (it had a wire floor). They were still alive just amputated. I was horrified. I had to cull all of them. Poor things. Most likely a rat. The hole near the tractor was too small for a cat.

How awful. :hugs Rats really are horrid creatures.

We currently have 2 that I have seen around our aviary. They can't get into our aviary (it has a solid floor and sides, though I'm still worried they will chew their way in). We have set out 3 different kinds of traps as well as a bait box but so far they have ignored all attempts to trap or poison them. Unfortunately they are smart little creatures.
 
Oct 16, 2020
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Don't rule out rats just because you haven't caught any. Are there any signs of rats, like burrowing or droppings?
No. there is no evidence of rats. And I'd know, because I had rats all the time when I kept poultry in Seattle. Also, the ranch where I keep my horses is crawling with rats. >.<

I'd just assumed I had secured my coops enough against the cat. But...if it got a hold of one chick, it would have gotten a lot more motivated to figure out how to get more of the pretty tasty, chewy birds out of the boxes.
 

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