Help with the house cat

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by CBSunny, Feb 15, 2013.

  1. CBSunny

    CBSunny New Egg

    Feb 15, 2013
    Are there any tips for deterring a cat from stalking a flock of hens? The cat refuses to be indoors all day and I hate to keep the hens locked up in the coop; I spray the cat with the hose when I see him near them, but I am pretty sure he's obviously smart enough to know when I'm not going to be there and he will have his chance. Despite our best care, we lost one hen from a horrible wound in her breast, and I am willing to bet it was the cat.

    I know the obvious answer is probably to leave them in the coop 24/7, but besides that....Dumb question but, moth balls around the chicken yard or something? The hens are only about 13 weeks old..he steers clear of our two turkey hens, probably because they are too large?

    Any help or tips would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
  2. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    I have cats who watch the chickens but do not bother them. Usually one good peck and the cat learns its lesson. Then they will tease and stalk the chickens but never pounce. Most people do not have problem with their domestic cat around their chickens. Feral cats can be a problem, but chicken shouldn't be their first choice.

    I suspect that the breast wound was not caused by the cat, if it was on a mature hen.
  3. bj taylor

    bj taylor Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 28, 2011
    North Central Texas
    i have two cats. neutered/spayed. the female likes to stalk them, but has never offered to attack. i've had the chickens a year now & no problem. i did keep them separated until the chickens got pretty big.
  4. Impress

    Impress Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 4, 2011
    Gray, TN
    Okay, this is going to sound like I am a mean person. I supervised the whole ordeal though, and just figured I would share what worked for me. I adopted a somewhat feral cat, she was a sweetheart but determined to kill one of my chickens. I was at a loss, then realized she ignored them in the coop, just went after them when they were spread out free ranging where she could really chase them. So I left everyone in the coop one day and took her out into the coop. The chickens are pretty protective of their coop. So I went in, put my cat down, and left her in the coop. I watched from outside, but didn't want to be in there to possibly stop my chickens protective behavior. She instantly started stalking them, and at her first rush at them they went after her. They didn't injure her seriously, but they chased her into the corner and gave her a few good pecks, and my rooster bounced off her back once. I let her out at that point, and it was a lesson she took to heart, she is terrified of chickens now. Free ranging, in the coop, she doesn't care, to her chickens are now big mean attack machines and she doesn't want anything to do with them.

    Man that makes me sound awful, but I was desperate, I didn't want her to go back to the shelter, I knew she would probably be put down. If they had come close to hurting her I would have intervened.
    3 people like this.
  5. Mygirls20

    Mygirls20 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 20, 2013
    Kudos I would have done the same thing. My friend had a neighbor cat that would come by took out one of his hens so he would wait for the cat and shoot it with a BB gun only took a couple hits for the cat to figure out that chickens were not play things... I think you did right and dont judge you :)
  6. hotrodflash

    hotrodflash Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 18, 2012
    East Texas
    My big chickens taught my cat to leave them alone. They would chase him and peck at him, I don't think they ever hit him, just the threat was enough. I have taught my cat "leave it" and "mine". He knows the chicks are not to be touched, they jump out of the brooder when I am adding food and changing water and he watches but he knows not to touch them.I still don't trust him with them though, he is a predator.
    I accidentally locked him in the coop and run, I was in a hurry and didn't check where he was, and when I checked the chickens when I got home 2 1/2 hours later he was waiting at the coop door and they were all on the roosts. No blood or injuries on either one. I think they have established a truce. Leave us alone and we will leave you alone.
  7. Mattemma

    Mattemma Overrun With Chickens

    Aug 12, 2009
    Build a cat run. Why should the chickens be the only ones locked up? You can make it real nice with woods,grasses,and perches.Put some bird feeders close by so the cat can watch THOSE birds,but no bird will be harmed.

    I have read of birds of prey being tied up and pecked by chickens(China I think),so the lesson with the cat isn't so far off. I think cat runs are the best long term option for felines that attack chickens or native birds.
  8. TheDuffields

    TheDuffields Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 2, 2013
    build an outdoor enclosure for your cat. safer for kitty too...coyotes like to eat cats...chickens aren't the only snack in your yard that need protecting.
  9. blucoondawg

    blucoondawg Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 27, 2013
    Northern Wisconsin
    Cats are also a favorite of fox as well, I have seen many a red fox hot on the trail of a house cat
  10. CBSunny

    CBSunny New Egg

    Feb 15, 2013
    Thanks, Y'all! Impress, I like your approach! That makes a lot of sense. When my girls are a bit bigger, I might give that a try.

    While it does seem to make the most sense to keep him contained in our screened-in porch or in a run outside, we have tried, for many months, to contain Hansel, and he is just not an indoor cat---he always found a way of darting past us or one of my kids who couldn't shut the door quick enough, and I would end up running late everywhere because I would be chasing after a cat in the bushes. We have a large screened-in porch but that does not seem to satisfy his need to be out and roam. Fortunately, he seems to hunt mainly moles (and we have a terrible mole problem) and mice...our native bird population around our property seems to be doing very well, because I would be upset if he were not only stalking the chickens but the wildlife as well.

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