Domestic cats

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by birdfreak1831, Mar 16, 2016.

  1. birdfreak1831

    birdfreak1831 Out Of The Brooder

    20
    2
    24
    Apr 6, 2013
    I have read a bunch about those felines here and whether or not they will kill adult chickens.
    Opinions seem to be divided - half the folks say yes, the other half no.

    Being a birdfreak and a former rehabber for many years, my knowledge about cats relates primarily to birds.
    Well fed and cared for cats still have the hardwired hunting instinct and they are super efficient killers of birds and other animals. If they eat any parts of a killed bird it will usually be the liver, they leave the rest of the body.
    Not so with truly feral cats who need to kill to eat and survive - they eat what they kill.
    There are dozens of semi-ferals roaming around 24/7 where I live. Those "belong" to humans but are left outside by themselves with just food and water.

    Recently, one of my neighbors had his 15 hens killed by a cat I know, who is a young, pretty mellow tom, friendly too. This cat`s humans also have chickens.
    I have watched him make a run for the hens and being attacked and scared off by the rooster.
    Something doesn`t jive - the killed hens were a breed about three times the size of those the cat lives with. Plus their three roosters did not protect them.
    On the other hand, I have watched two burly at large/semi-feral tomcats sneak up on adult turkeys and try to catch them.
    Yes, some folks here say cats are solitary hunters. Maybe some are, maybe many are.
    But I believe what I can observe, and that is at least some cats will do teamwork.
    There are lots of big kitties/cougars where I live, said to be solitary hunters too.
    However, some evidence is beginning to emerge, proving that is not necessarily the case. What convinced me is pictures taken by a friend of five cougars having taken down an adult elk bull in her driveway! Shades of African lions....

    The question I have is this :
    Can and will [at least some] domestic cats climb fences and tear out double layered deer netting covering a chicken enclosure/run?

    My fence consists of three layers : a very heavy horse fence [8X6" "mesh"], lined on the inside with 4X2" mesh field fencing which is lined inside of it with chicken wire - all is 5 feet tall.
    The dimensions of the enclosure are 45X16 feet, half is shaded with dense cedar bushes, the rest is open, all is covered with aforementioned deer netting.

    What do y`all think??
    Thanks for your time and input,

    birdfreak
     
  2. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

    5,387
    916
    291
    Dec 25, 2012
    I agree, on cats, 1/2 of cats will kill chickens if they get the chance and the 1/2 of cats that don't kill chickens only need or want a chance or reason to kill one. Un-escorted baby chickens however are two legged cat bait.

    The truth is that all so-called domestic cats are at best feral if not by training wild.
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2016
  3. AncientMariner

    AncientMariner New Egg

    4
    0
    7
    Nov 13, 2015
    Western Colorado
    Our last house was in an area with dozens of feral cats in every block. True ferals - they didn't belong to anyone. Our chickens free-ranged around the neighborhood and were never bothered by the cats, although the cats did stare at them quite a bit.

    That said, cats are efficient killing machines. I'm sure they're capable of killing chickens within an enclosure such as the one you described. I just think most cats would find easier, more accessible prey elsewhere.
     
  4. DTSchele

    DTSchele New Egg

    4
    0
    6
    Mar 22, 2016
    My entire flock (11 Isa Reds and 2 Barred Rock laying hens) were killed last night not a single one was eaten or torn up just 13 ckns killed n left laying in the coop. Any idea what would do this? My son is devastated. I live in Southern Mi. There were a few cats @ but we eliminated them. [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  5. AncientMariner

    AncientMariner New Egg

    4
    0
    7
    Nov 13, 2015
    Western Colorado
    Very sorry for your loss.
     
  6. Eggsoteric

    Eggsoteric Chillin' With My Peeps

    795
    162
    176
    Nov 25, 2010
    Maryland
    I'm so sorry for your loss. Dog is my first thought or perhaps a weasel or mink. Do you know how it is the predator was able to gain access?
     
  7. bigoledude

    bigoledude Chillin' With My Peeps

    434
    64
    156
    Jan 16, 2011
    SE, Louisiana
    You have not given enough information here to determine what killed your chickens. I'm not saying you have more info. Just that there are many chicken-killers out there that will do what you describe. It just doesn't sound like a cat.

    The family dog, a fox or coyote will get caught caught-up in the frenzy of a kill and destroy every chicken in a run or coop. Just about everything in the weasel family will kill every chicken you have, without eating one!

    I've said many times, it's really hard to determine what the culprit is, since so many animals that prey on chickens will kill in very similar ways at one time or another.

    Get a cheap gamecam. Someone just posted here that there is some brand new but older models of gamecams on ebay for as little as $20-$30. Hunters are like cell phone and computer nerds. They must have the latest-greatest version of trail cam there is. So, that makes it very affordable for those of us who just need to see what's killing our chickens.

    Hope you find the culprit. Are you gonna get more chickens?
     
  8. DTSchele

    DTSchele New Egg

    4
    0
    6
    Mar 22, 2016
    The door was pried open about a foot or less. Don't have a family dog an no roosters.. [​IMG] Have seen a cat @ in the past but not recently. Have never seen a weasel but they are native to Mi so perhaps. Have some skunks @ but never have seen them by the coop. Have had this flick for almost a year with no issues.

    I do live in the country but it just doesn't seem like the MO of a coyote. None were eaten and there is very little bloo.
     
  9. bigoledude

    bigoledude Chillin' With My Peeps

    434
    64
    156
    Jan 16, 2011
    SE, Louisiana
    We spend a lot of money on our chickens over a period of one year. A $30.00 game cam will not stop an attack. But it can tell you what is killing your birds. Whatever killed your chickens will come snooping around again, hoping you bought more. Find out what it is and kill it!
     
  10. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,238
    458
    151
    Feb 18, 2016
    Missouri
    In addition to the trail cameras, I'll mention this as an option:

    http://www.amazon.com/Chamberlain-CWA2000-Wireless-Motion-System/dp/B002ISVJL6

    We live a bit off the road and cannot see our driveway from the house. As such, can't see people coming up it and don't like to be surprised when they walk up to the front door. We put up two of these and they not only work for cars, but also for dogs, cats and other wildlife. Our second one goes off all the time when the feral cats go by. The motion sensor is triggered by infrared heat.

    You could put up one of these and aim the sensor at the place where any breaches are likely happening, or simply point it up the side of your coop. On this unit, you can have as many as 8 sensors........each has it's own alarm. It will ding twice, three times, four times, etc, so you know which sensor it is. Range is at least half a mile.

    With one of these, you know real time when the intruder is present and can do something about it.

    If it is safe (and legal) to do so, you can dispatch intruders at night using a bright spotlight and a scoped rifle. Same principle the illegal deer hunters use. With a bright spot, you can see the crosshairs in the scope at night almost as well as during the day. Intruders, on the other hand, are blinded by it and can't see anything......so they just look back at you......as in stop moving so as to give you a stationary target. A rifle allows you to stand off at some distance if you are unable to approach the intruder before it flees. It need not be an elephant gun. Even a single shot .22 is lethal if it is a well placed shot. Back in the day, that is what we used to bring down the raccoons and possums the hounds treed.

    Or......if you can work in closer, another option would be the simple, plain Jane little single shot .410 shotgun. At close range, a properly placed head shot with a load of #4 shot will put the lights out on just about anything short of a bear. With a shotgun, there is less to worry about behind your target on the horizon.

    Just saying...............
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by