Cats living with the chickens to hunt mice?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by macdoogle, Jan 8, 2011.

  1. macdoogle

    macdoogle Songster

    Feb 11, 2010
    San Diego
    Have recently set up a new run and hen house. Now mice have moved in. I'm thinking of getting two young cats and having them live in the run with the chickens. The cats would have their own cat house and be well looked after. The run is large, 25 by 20 feet. Is this a bad idea? Would the kittens/cats hunt the hens or would the hens hurt the kittens? I have an image of a barn yard cat working for a living. I already have adopted a 3 mounth old kitten and will pick her up on monday. Only problem is she is too cute and will probably end up a spoiled indoor lap cat.
  2. junglebird

    junglebird Songster

    Aug 29, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    Great question, one that I am interested in, too. Hope some one has good experiences to share!
  3. HHandbasket

    HHandbasket The Chickeneer

    I have never tried anything like that, but I will tell you this. My chickens are better mousers than my cats are.

    Just sayin'.
  4. Teresaann24

    Teresaann24 Songster

    Jul 29, 2008
    Eastern, Kentucky
    A Tom cat killed 6 of my silkies two full grown roosters and 4 hens. Was raised with chickens from the time he was 6 weeks old.
  5. tigerrrrrrrlilly

    tigerrrrrrrlilly Songster

    Mar 27, 2010
    San Diego, CA
    I don't think I would keep them inside the run for the reasons you are worried, one scratch or bite can be lethal to your birds, but I raised my 2 cats with my chickens and ducks free ranging daily and they are fine. A few pecks on the head and nose when they were small taught them to not mess with them but I'm not so sure if it would work out in confined spaces, they may fight it out since they can't run away.
    At night when the chickens are sleeping my kitties wait outside the runs and coops waiting for the mice that my chickens don't manage to catch themselves during the day. The cats have made quite a difference in rodent control. It also helps to put the food away and not keep any inside the coop at night, mice are nocturnal and feed more often then. I always feed the birds in the day and take it away at night unless I have babies in there. I do keep little ones away from the cats just in case but so far they don't even seem interested in them. As kittens they were around chicks in the brooder often though.
  6. Kekko

    Kekko Songster

    Mar 29, 2010
    Western IDAHO
    Three years back during really cold weather I found a very young cat staying in the straw bales that I had in the storage area of the chicken coop. It could climb over the inside gate. As much as I didn’t want stray cats around it was so young that I didn’t have the heart to get rid of her. So we started feeding her a little bit to help her get through the winter. The next spring we gave her shots and had her fixed. We started calling her Barn Kitty and she is the friendliest cat you have ever seen. Last year I changed the storage area into an inside pen so she lost her sleeping spot. Now she sleeps in one of the chicken nest boxes or in the straw in one of the turkey pens. The only problem she ever caused was two years ago we let one of our Appleyard ducks hatch a couple of eggs. Since the cat had never attempted to harm any of our bird I didn’t even think about her and the new ducklings. She got both of them when they were two days old. I didn’t blame her I blamed myself she was only doing what cats do!

    She is so funny though when I want to herd the turkeys into a pen she will go with me and herd them just like a herd dog does with cattle. I tell her “let’s put the turkey in” and she starts rounding them up with me. Once in a while one of the turkeys or chickens will take a poke at her when she is walking through the middle of them.

    We don’t see mice around the chicken house and during the summer she brings in about three gophers a week so she has earned her place to call home. We just have to take precautions when we have young bird now!

    All of our birds free range except during breeding season so she is never cooped up tight with them. I don’t think anyone else has ever even seen her except for the wife and myself. If strangers are around she disappears!


    1 person likes this.
  7. Judy

    Judy Crowing

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Lots of pics on here of cats sleeping in nest boxes or even cuddled up with a chicken. Ferals, though, especially large ones, do sometimes take hens. I think in most cases the cat gets pecked by a chicken and keeps her distance after that. If you are talking about small mice, not large rats, I agree, the chickens will get them if they have a chance. Trouble is the chickens are generally asleep when the mice are feeding.
  8. Indiana hens

    Indiana hens Songster

    Jun 25, 2008
    Pendleton, Indiana
    Our barn cats r not feral. Once pecked they have left the chickens alone. He can destinguish between the bantam Araucanas and sparrows and such. The presence of a male barn cat either deters other cats or the bigger males attack the barn cat 1st. Terrible it happens that way. Our barn cat hunts while the chickens r free-ranging and he gets caught inside every now and then towards dark if they all come in early. He freaks out when cornered by chickens; their house their rules! He is not in the large range of cats though, around 8 pounds.
  9. pharmchickrnmom

    pharmchickrnmom Songster

    Apr 13, 2010
    Kekko--what a beautiful cat! So glad you and she adopted each other. She is obviously a great asset to you and the chickens in keeping the rodent population down.

    One thing to remember is that cats have individual personalities just like people. Some have a very strong hunting instinct and will go after any and all prey. Others can be more selective and still others prefer to have people waiting on them with food and treats and such. I had one big cat, Nuisance, who was a superb hunter and killed everything from moles and mice to rabbits and large birds. She was one tough big female and even the neighborhood dogs wouldnt mess with her! I had another one for 22 years who wouldnt set foot outside the house and preferred to have her food served fresh every day. I would probably not lock a cat in a coop for the reasons that tigerlilly stated. Cats dont like to be trapped for any reason. I definately would not put any kitten/cat with chicks because that is just asking for trouble. I think that you will have to evaluate your new kittens personality to decide whether she will be a good mouser that will not bother the chickens. Introduce her to them and see how the interactions go. If it doesnt go like you want, at least you will have a very nice lap warmer who will bring you lots joy!
  10. Kekko

    Kekko Songster

    Mar 29, 2010
    Western IDAHO
    She is just here on a trial basis "that's what i told my wife" been three years now! Figured she would get out away from the place one day and the coyotes or fox will get her but so far she's doing great!

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