Chicks and Cats

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by herdingcats, Apr 3, 2018.

  1. herdingcats

    herdingcats In the Brooder

    Apr 3, 2018
    Hi all, I just posted an introduction in the New Members forum. We have 3, 2 year old Black Australorp Hens and 1 4 year old Red SexLink (I think) hen, adopted from a friend. 2 girls aged 8 & 10, a very sweet and friendly chick snuggling border-springer mutt, and 2 feisty outdoor cats.

    For an Easter surprise and to build our flock, we have 11 3 week old chicks in a brooder in our garage: 2 Silky Bantams, 1 Blue Polish, 2 Easter Eggers, 3 each Buff and Black Orpingtons.

    1) I've read about slowly introducing chicks to the hens once they are around 6 weeks old and it's warm enough outside to pen them in the main run. Does anyone have advice/things NOT to do as the flock integrates? Especially since we have some bantams in the mix, I want to make sure that everyone gets through the "pecking order" hopefully without casualties.

    2) Any advice about cats? I am not a huge cat person but they do a good job controlling the mouse population and my family doesn't want to rehome them (which might easily change if they hurt a young chicken). Due to family allergies they simply cannot be indoors. Aside from keeping the chicks safe/separated in a covered chicken run, is there any advice from cat owners out there about how to help the cats understand that the growing chicks are off limits? I know this sounds naive and of course we'll do everything to just keep everyone apart...but at some point, when the chicks are grown, should I worry about the bantams defending themselves, or will the flock mentality be of help?

    Thanks so much for any insight.
    Better Than Rubies likes this.
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Waiting on a Fresh Garden Salad

    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    I would rethink adding silkies and polish to your other breeds. That often doesn't end well. They also may be bullied and pecked by their clutch mates as the birds mature because of their odd behaviors and crests. I always recommend keeping these breeds with like breeds.

    I personally haven't had any troubles with cats bothering my chicks or chickens.
  3. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Crowing

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    ^^ is a good point, those fluffy, darling small chickens often are at a severe disadvantage with full size dual purpose breeds.

    Cat generally won't bother a full grown chicken.

    As for integration to your flock, the sooner the better. Full grown chickens do not see chicks as threatening, so the soon they start hanging out together, the better it will be. Keep them in a see but not touch for several days, then make it so the chicks can go through the fence, but a full size chicken cannot called a one way gate. This allows the chicks to explore on their terms, they will leave the safety zone as they get curious, learn some chicken manners, but if an older bird truly goes after them, they can escape back into the safety zone. This works much better that letting them out, putting them back on human terms.

    A great deal of space, and hideout also help a great deal. You have more than doubled your flock, and while small now, those chicks will grow up.

    good luck,

    Mrs K
    herdingcats likes this.
  4. herdingcats

    herdingcats In the Brooder

    Apr 3, 2018
    Thanks for the advice. We bought the Silkies and Polish from a local chicken guru, who has all sizes living happily together. I know I can always give them back to her if I need, but my hope is that all will get along as hers do.

    Fingers crossed about the kitties...

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