Free range with working cats on the ranch?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by PamelaTX, Mar 1, 2012.

  1. PamelaTX

    PamelaTX Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 23, 2011
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    I have a question for all you experienced folks out there.....I have a good number of working cats here on the ranch. They do a good job catching rats, mice, and the occational mole. But as all cats do, they love to sit beneath the bird feeder and do, once in a while, catch a bird and kill it. It's regretable but it's in a cat's nature. My question is, can I have free ranch chickens with cats around? And I also have some daytime raccoons. Should I just plan on a big run and keep the chickens inside it all the time? Thanks in advance for any insight! [​IMG]
     
  2. Chicks on DL

    Chicks on DL Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Wish I had an answer for you. We do have a cat that also catches rats, birds and things. We just recently got the chickens and haven't let them free range. They stay within a moveable netting to protect them. Well they are smarter than they looked and got out last night. I thought for sure that the first chance she (the cat) got she would get herself a chicken dinner. Nope. Last night she was in the back just sitting there watching the chickens as relaxed as can be. One got right into her face and she didn't even flinch. Whenever we want to train her not to do anything just shooting her with a squirt gun always does the trick. Cats hate getting wet! My mother trained the dog to stop playing with the chicks (the dog would play with them to death) with a shock collar. Good luck!
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2012
  3. PamelaTX

    PamelaTX Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for your answer! I'm not sure training would work as we have feral and semi-feral as well as domesticated cats "join" the ranch with frequency (and move on too). I am just curious whether cats in general hassle or attack or (gasp!) eat the chickens. I don't mind not free ranging if that's what it takes to keep the chickens safe. But I've never had cats until the volunteers here (they really are sweet) and so I'm not only a newbie to chickens but also to cats. Any other cat owners raising free range chickens out there?
     
  4. Azriel

    Azriel Chillin' With My Peeps

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    i've never had cats bother full size adult chickens, if they can they will kill and eat chicks. most hens will gard their chicks for awhile, but a cat would still be able to kill a 4-5 week old chick when the hen isn't watching them as well.
    I've never had banties, so I'm not sure if they would be safe from the cats.
    If you have raccoons, they will take any chicken any time they can. and will wipe out your flock in short order. the best way to keep them out is an electric fence or a good LGD.
     
  5. DCasper

    DCasper Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I also have never had a cat bother a full size chicken, especially if you have a good rooster. I once saw a rooster train a cat to stay away from chickens...it only took once.
     
  6. Chicks on DL

    Chicks on DL Chillin' With My Peeps

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    A good protective rooster is a must with free range chickens. They help keep everyone safe. Love them roosters, so its too bad I can't have one! Do you have a rooster?
     
  7. thecluckcrewcam

    thecluckcrewcam Out Of The Brooder

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    the best thing to do is when you get your chicks you need to put them with the cats and watch them if the really don't show interest then i think that you would be fine i know that when i got my chicks i thought that my dog would eat as she is a breed that is made for that kind of stuff but if they try to do something i would keep them in all the time but if it make you feel better then keep them in all the time but if you do that then you could get a big run a big as you have the room for and then if you do that fill it up with just the right amount of chicken's and also make it tall and clip there wings
    hope that helps
    win
    thecluckcrewcam.com
     
  8. PamelaTX

    PamelaTX Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 23, 2011
    Central Texas
    I'm still in the coop planning/building phase. I hadn't planned on a rooster. I guess I just sort of liked the "romance" of chickens in the yard. I think with what Azriel says about racoons, perhaps I should just make a nice big run that is super secure. I have plenty of space to build as large as I like and plenty of reclaimed wood as well. I think I would feel better with the chickens safe and secure at all times in the coop or run. Do you think a tightly built run with 1/2 inch hardware cloth all the way around and on the floor and "roof" is enough? Or is the electric fence a must for safe chickens in a high pred area? (We have racoons, coyotes, stray/wild dogs, bobcat, fox, and more....) Thanks for any input from you experienced folks! I really appreicate your help. [​IMG]
     
  9. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    So much to think about! Where to start? Um, cats. Let's start there. We live on a farm, have semi-feral barn cats and don't have any problems with them with the chickens. A cat will rarely take on a full-grown chicken. A rooster is a good "trainer" that way. I absolutely would NOT "put a cat in with chicks to see if it shows interest" in them. Any good farm or ranch cat wouldn't hesitate to take advantage of that situation. It can work with a dog, but I wouldn't try it with the cat. The biggest problems I have with the cats is when they get the eggs before I do. OK, on to raccoons - I would think that a raccoon would have a hard time catching a free range chicken in the daytime if the chickens are alert to their surroundings. Not saying it CAN'T happen, just not sure that it would be a common thing. I think they'd be more likely to harrass your chickens in a run where they can't get away. My chickens have a coop and run, but rarely use the run. That's more for when I'm going to be gone for a few days and won't be home to lock the coop up at night. I don't have electric and have yet to have a problem. Do you have a dog or dogs? If so, train them to be out with your chickens and your daytime predation issues will be minimal. Personally, I prefer to let my chickens free range, and am prepared for a loss now and then.
     
  10. suebee

    suebee Speaks Silkie Fluently

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    [​IMG][​IMG] Sorry, this thread struck me as funny. I can just see cats with little hats, guns, holsters roaming the ranch. [​IMG][​IMG]
     

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