Holding their own with Cats?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by ClareScifi, Nov 14, 2011.

  1. ClareScifi

    ClareScifi Songster 7 Years

    Mar 30, 2011
    At what age can chickens hold their own with cats? I've heard that cats can kill chicks, but what age chicks? I read that rats can no longer kill chicks once the chicks are about 6 weeks old, but cats are bigger than rats. My adult chickens hold their own with the cats, and scare off the cats, but I'm wondering at what age I won't have to worry about the chicks getting killed by the cats. My chicks are now 7 weeks old.

  2. SteveBaz

    SteveBaz Songster

    Aug 6, 2011
    Pacific North West
    I have never heard that a chicken could hurt cats or would get more than puff up and hiss and charge but if there was an aggressive hungry cat that is clear its going to get a chicken. I may be wrong but a cat has the upper hand when it comes to it. JMO
  3. ClareScifi

    ClareScifi Songster 7 Years

    Mar 30, 2011
    I have several rescued feral cats who are always hungry, but they've never harmed my adult chickens. My chickens, on the other hand, charge the cats, with their big wings outstretched, and the cats run for their lives. The chickens mean no harm. They wouldn't hurt the cats; they just find it highly entertaining to scare them and eat their catfood.
    Sometimes, they put a twist on it, and shake the dust off their wings after dustbathing, showering the cats with a huge storm of dust. It's so fun to watch.

    But I'm worried about the cats killing the chicks.
  4. workinnanie

    workinnanie Songster

    Apr 26, 2009
    I think it depends on the cat! if the cat is interested in the chickens at all I would want those chickens to be plenty good sized! If the babies are raised by the moms they will usually take care if them. I have a couple of silkies I purchased that are 3 months old & I am just starting to let them out with the other chickens. My cat is in and out of the barn when they are out. I do keep my eye on them. better safe than sorry!

  5. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Crowing 7 Years

    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT
    These are your house cats right? I'd think the cats "get" that they are your livestock though for a good mouser like our Moses I'd not leave them unattended with chicks. I've only lost one pullet to a cat, a stray we didn't know about, sprang out from under our back shed to maul a 5 week old pullet and dragged her back out of sight in a heart beat. Startling how fast and efficient it was in this ambush maneuver.

    BTW- the stray was "ambushed" the next time it left it's lair [​IMG]
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2011
  6. ClareScifi

    ClareScifi Songster 7 Years

    Mar 30, 2011
    Ooh, this does worry me. I let my chick out to play during the day and worry about cats jumping out of the bushes to get him in a second. I don't think any of my cats would do this-- they are skittish and wouldn't get that close to me, I don't think, and like you say, I think they get that the chick is a pet to me like they are. But I suppose a new stray could be lurking. I never leave my chick unattended for even a second, though. So sorry about your 5 week old.
  7. btxchick

    btxchick In the Brooder

    Mar 7, 2011
    I think a cat got one of my 5 week olds last week too, from the coop! ( more secure now of course). I have lots of friendly "feral" cats and a couple that I got on purpose and I don't trust them in the least when it comes to my baby chicks. I have seen them ambush other birds and know too well their skills. I wouldn't allow any opportunity for the cats to get them. They are animals and above all instincts tend to win. All they need is a moment of opportunity to jump and we can't do a thing about it. I wouldn't release them until they are at least half the size of the cat or you have other big chickens to fend them off!
    The cat's and dogs have NOTHING to do with my big girls but they are equally sized with the cats and the dogs know the consequences would be less than desirable if they touched my chickens [​IMG]
    Good luck!!

  8. Arielle

    Arielle Crowing

    Feb 19, 2011
    Massachusetts, USA
    I trust my cats--had them a long time and have watched like a hawk to see how they treat other animals.

    Outside rodents are free game; inside the house the mice are my problem!!

    THe cats look at the chicks, peering over the rim of the cardboard box, then mosey on their way. Outside the cats have tried to stalk the hens, but then after a few times stalking even that quit. THe cats are more inclined to move out of the way of the hens. [​IMG]
  9. debtrag

    debtrag In the Brooder

    Mar 13, 2009
    North Central, Indiana
    Chicks are guarded here until they are about 1/4 - 1/2 half the size of the cat if they have momma/pappa present and guarding them.

    If no momma/pappa, they are guarded here until they are juvenile/adult and have developed an attitude.

    My cats sit in the pens and pick off some of the birds that eat their feed. Helps save a little on the feed bill.

  10. 123ChickieLou

    123ChickieLou Chirping

    Nov 14, 2011
    I love cats! But never trust a cat when it comes to chicks. Cats will be cats and hunting is their thing. You can't blame them for doing what they were built to do but you CAN protect your chicks [​IMG]
    If there's no reliable mother to watch out for the babies, I would not leave them unattended until they are at least 1/2 the size of the cat(s) and close to the height of a cat. If the cat is well fed and has plenty of easier, smaller prey to kill, you shouldn't have much of a problem as cats are fairly lazy too.
    Just be careful [​IMG]

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