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Chickens, chicks and cats

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Flock Leader, Feb 17, 2016.

  1. Flock Leader

    Flock Leader Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We have two resident cats in our yard, and a few strays that pass occasionally. Normally my cats and chickens get along great, eat from the same dish etc. However, egg season has started here already and I know chick season will start soon. Though my cats are lazy and spoiled, they do go after little birds - and though they've never actually caught one, chicks are much easier prey and I'm under no illusion that the cats won't go after them.

    Mother hens are usually very protective of their brood, but can I count on them to keep the cats away? It only takes a second to snatch a chick. Therefore it seems I had better have a separate enclosed space for the mother hen and chicks, right? Up until what age are chicks in danger from cats? We only got the kittens at the end of last summer so it wasn't a problem then - we didn't have chicks, only bigger pullets who were fully feathered and quite good at looking after themselves.

    We could also consider giving the cats away, but our children would be heartbroken, and besides, then we might have a lot more strays (our cats are territorial, so mostly they keep strays away) who wouldn't be this nice to our chickens.
     
  2. Chicken Egg 17

    Chicken Egg 17 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    U should be able to relive on her to protect them and my apps sister she had chickens and one on the hens hatched chicks and a hawk was trying to get them and she fluffed all up and sat down on top on her baby's to protect them from the hawk and I would keep an eye on those kitties those is there any way u could lock up the chickens for a while if they were to hatch chicks and just because of a few chicks don't mean u have to give away your poor spoiled cats away and end up in a shelter and get put down
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. Flock Leader

    Flock Leader Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Roada Red, thanks for your reply - I don't think we'll give our cats away, because as I said I think that if it weren't for our cats our yard would be overrun with stray cats, there are so many in our area. It's a lot better to keep our two cats who are nice to chickens in general and also keep mice away.
     
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Not sure I'd count on the broody keeping chicks safe from cats....I'd have a safe enclosure for the chicks and mama.
    Are your cats house cats or always outside?
    Maybe keep cats inside during day...share alternate 'free ranging' time with chicks?

    Be a shame tho to have to keep chicks and mama separated from flock.
    Might just be another free range 'risk'?
     
  5. Flock Leader

    Flock Leader Chillin' With My Peeps

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    aart, my cats are always outdoors and bringing them indoors is not an option.

    You know, there's a wise Russian saying that states, "don't count your chicks till the autumn" - which is very right, literally and figuratively. I realize that at the end of chick season, I'll always end up with a lot less chicks than I started out with in the spring. Chicks are vulnerable... but I do like to maximize the number of those who survive. Leaving them out for the cats seems awfully risky to me, at least up until a certain age. Which age, I'm trying to determine. Will cats (spoiled well-fed domestic ones, not feral ones) go after a 6 week old chick? A 3 month old pullet? Or does it depend on breed and size?
     
  6. Chicken Egg 17

    Chicken Egg 17 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    As I agree with u there @Flock Leader but I just want to mention this as I had my favorite cat her name was Maddy and she was quiet the hunter and she will had try and bring her finds into the house and she even killed snakes she would find snakes and fling them up in the air and catch them she got squirrels ground hogs I am serious she would take her stuff under our front porch and she had a possum under there birds squirrels rabbits ground hogs and she never even touched the ducks or the chickens but yet again not all cats are like that but it's your choice and I miss her every day as I was typing this I was crying [​IMG][​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2016
  7. Flock Leader

    Flock Leader Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Wow, your cat sounds like she was quite the hunter! I've never seen mine get anything more serious than a grasshopper and a few bugs. The mice mostly stay away out of apprehension, I think. But a day-old chick is such easy prey (if not watched over by a protective mama) that I don't dare to trust them.
     
  8. Flock Leader

    Flock Leader Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I wanted to update this thread and add that now we have some newly hatched chicks, and so far our cats exhibit zero attempts to hunt them. I'm not sure whether this has to do with the chicks being protected by their mama, or our own signals that they are out of bounds, but the fact is, today we sat at the chicken coop with the kitties and they behaved extremely well. I still l don't trust them 100% but it's amazing how they try to go for birds but not the chicks.
     
  9. Chicken Egg 17

    Chicken Egg 17 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes my cat takes stuff under the porch but he don't mess with the chickens or the new addition of the turkey hen and more turkeys on the way i still wouldn't let my gaurd down no matter what as I don't know ur cats so I can't say if I would let my gaurd down. Good luck hope all goes well
     
  10. Flock Leader

    Flock Leader Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've taken some cute photos of my kitty peacefully co-existing with little chicks, but for some reason the reply window has no option of adding photos! :(
     

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