Introducing family cats to chickens

One Lucky Momma

Chicken Kisser
Premium Feather Member
Apr 25, 2020
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Madison Co, NC
I’m hoping someone can offer experienced guidance for introducing our two indoor/outdoor cats to our 7 week old chicks.

These cats are loving pets and great mousers and earn their keep many times over, but left to their own devices they can be good (bad) birders, as well. We’re fortunate to have a number of songbirds nesting close by and have found it necessary to keep the cats inside during the day during fledging season, much to the cats‘ displeasure.

The Storey’s guide to raising chickens illustrates this subject with a line drawing of a gentleman sitting on the floor holding one of his chicks fresh out of the shipping box; he’s showing it to his cat and appears to be chatting with the cat about how this is HIS chick and for the cat not to get any ideas. To be honest, I haven’t tried it yet but I’m willing to give it a shot. This tactic seems to have worked well with our two dogs, so far, though it will be a long time, if ever, before I trust them with the chicks without supervision.

I’m more than willing to continue keeping the cats in during the day if that’s what we have to do, particularly until the chicks are closer to full grown (they are in a tight coop at night), but would prefer to have them learn that the chickens are not fair game. We have great opportunity for fairly protected somewhat free ranging but the area is not cat proofable.
 

25chickens

Crowing
Nov 19, 2019
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NW New Jersey
You could show them the chick, but I doubt it would work. A 7 week old chick is easy game for a cat. Cats don't usually bother hens, unless they are starving, which I doubt your cats will be. Some cats are scared of full grown chickens
 

Willow2253

Crowing
Dec 6, 2019
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Eastern Oregon
My cat didn’t meet the chickens until they were full grown. At that point they were too big to be seen at prey, and they don’t bother her, so she’s indifferent to them. She learned from the big ones to leave the chickens alone, so she doesn’t bother the younger ones either. However, I would never leave a cat alone with small chicks. You can let the cats see the chicks with no contact so they can get used to each other, but be careful about not giving the cats the opportunity to try anything. Once the chickens are big enough to not be seen as potential prey there shouldn’t be a problem.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
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Nov 27, 2012
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My Coop
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I’m more than willing to continue keeping the cats in during the day if that’s what we have to do, particularly until the chicks are closer to full grown (they are in a tight coop at night), but would prefer to have them learn that the chickens are not fair game. We have great opportunity for fairly protected somewhat free ranging but the area is not cat proofable.
Having a decent sized secure run is good even if you free range most the time.
 

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