Cats in the hen house

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by rbruno, Jan 18, 2017.

  1. rbruno

    rbruno Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am starting to see a number of mice in my feed room where I have my chickens. To keep the story short, in my horse barn, I sectioned off part of the feed room to make a small pen for my chickens. Basically small wooden frame with wire to keep the chickens contained. I am starting to see more and more mice. I have a couple barn cats that visit my other buildings. One is somewhat tame and you can pick her up. The others are basically feral. My feed room is closed so the cats can't get in there to help with the mice. No mice in any of my other buildings. I want to pick up the one cat and put her in the feed room to take care of all the mice, but I am not sure if she will torment or reach through the wire to mess with chickens. She is well fed so it is not like she is starving to eat. I am just wondering what other experience people have had with cats and the chickens especially if they are locked in one room but separate by wire.
    Thanks,
    Rob
     
  2. SunHwaKwon

    SunHwaKwon Overrun With Chickens

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    My chickens did very well with my cat in that basically they were brave enough to walk up on the cat, which is intimidating and he learned not to mess with them, even if my broodies were out free ranging with chicks at a week old. My head honchos are a RIR and BR so they are big enough to intimidate a cat. So, part of it will depend on if you have large or tiny birds, and how inclined they are to not let the cat get away with any harassment. No doubt, the cat will enjoy watching them, but he won't necessarily mess with them.

    Are you putting the feeders away at night and do you have your feed in metal trash cans? I had a lot of mice and a pair of rats last winter and then I started doing that. This winter I have not had a single one.
     
  3. rbruno

    rbruno Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have the feed in a metal can, but the chickens have access to the feed in the coop. I made one of the 5 gallon bucket feeders that I read about here. It is in the coop 24/7. I figured with the cats, they would get the mice at some point because I thought the mice would venture out a little bit, but with food and water and shelter, I guess they never have to leave that room. And, currently the cats can't get into that room. It is either lots of cheese and traps or grab one of the cats and lock her in the room till nature takes its course.
     
  4. SunHwaKwon

    SunHwaKwon Overrun With Chickens

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    If the feeder uses the pvc pipes you can get covers for the pipes and cover them at night so the mice can't get into it.

    Turn over the bedding regularly because I had one make a nest in the bedding. I uncovered it and a half eaten egg one day, with six little naked baby mice. I tried to get the guineas to eat them but all they did was peck and torture them.

    I kept a snap trap in my coop under a mini milk crate with a rock on top of it. I got a few mice that way, close to where they were nesting and such.

    I have a couple of feral cats coming around my run at night now and again. I'd like to encourage them with some cat food but don't want to invite raccoons.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2017
  5. scooter147

    scooter147 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If you have standard breeds put the cat in there. She shouldn't mess with them, although it might be the other way around if she manages to get in there space.

    I'm jealous I would love to have a cat that would hang in the chicken coop. My problem isn't mice its sparrows and starlings. The cat wouldn't even have to catch them to survive, I'd gladly feed it just to have its presence to keep the birds at bay.
     
  6. Finnie

    Finnie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Why not get a coop cat?
     
  7. scooter147

    scooter147 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I did try that a few years ago. I got a young kitten about 10 weeks old (free listing on Craigslist). I built a little cage so the cat could get use to the chickens and vice versa. I would let her out everyday for several hours so she could play etc.

    Well she came into heat, I took her to the vet to have her spayed. I brought her in the house for a week so the surgery wound could heal, WELL that was the end of the coop cat, she wanted to be a house cat and well Miss Kitty is now a house cat. She literally wanted nothing to do with that coop from that point on nor since. She'll go out with me on occasion and when she gets within approx. 20 feet of the coop she stops, will not go any further.

    So the moral is I don't want to do that again. Somehow I need a cat to show up and take residence.
     
  8. thomasboyle

    thomasboyle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Check Craigslist. There are rescue groups who give away barn cats. They were feral city cats that they spay / neuter, and them give away to more rural settings. You lock them in the barn, or coop (assumes a walk in type coop, not the tiny ones built for 2-3 chickens) and give them food, water, bed and litter box After 3-4 weeks they learn this is home, and will return there even if you let them out and about. They are generally not pet cats, and would not make good house cats.
     
  9. rbruno

    rbruno Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I think I am going to try putting the one cat in the room and see how everyone does. I usually feed the cat in another barn, but I can just move her feed into the new space temporarily to see if she can hunt down some of the mice. I was thinking about cutting a hole in the door so she could go in and out, but I don't want to do that because it might invite other predators (raccoon, etc) to go into the feed room where the chickens are.
    Rob
     

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