looking to get a barn cat and need help!!!!!!!!

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by java girl 2, Mar 15, 2012.

  1. java girl 2

    java girl 2 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 17, 2011
    OK, I have been talking with my mom and I may be able to get a 1 or 2 cats !!!!!!!!!! [​IMG] the Reason for the cats is we have been having a bad vole/mice and rat problem. our Fields are being taken care of by an old farmer Friend and the fields were hey fields but the last few years he has been growing corn and leaves the corn in the fields to dry, sometimes he can't harvests it till spring. we never had voles/rats till he started growing corn and the voles are eating everything that we are trying to grow!!!!!!!!!! [​IMG] we have tried all kinds of traps and nothing in the traps!!!!!!!!!!!! my dad had to start shooting the rats and got them all, but now they are BACK!!!!!!!!!!!! [​IMG] I tripped over one tonight when I was doing something, not a good site to see and I saw 5 of them !!!!!!!!!! [​IMG] they are getting bolder and bolder every day now. SO I HAVE A FEW Qs, do any of you have indoor/outdoor cats or barn cats??? how did you get them to NOT go after the poultry??? I am thinking of getting one from a shelter because they have up to date shots and sometimes they are fixed, RIGHT?????? and I know there are a lot of cats that need a a good home at the shelters. have any of you adopted a cat form a shelter?? do I need 1 or 2 cats?? I need the cat to stay around so what is a good age for a cat ?? male or female ?? if it's an outdoor cat only, how do I keep the cat to stay around and not have the cat take off ?? or does it need to be indoors first?? I really want the cat to be indoor/outdoors but will have to see what my mom says. that is why I am asking the Qs, to know what I need to do. HELP ME PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!! [​IMG]
  2. naturalfeddogs

    naturalfeddogs Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 8, 2011

    We have an outdoor barn cat, but our chickens are in a fully enclosed coop. I don't know that you can make a cat NOT go after chickens, unless the chickens are considerably larger than the cat. Maybe then.

    Getting one from a shelter would be good, but be sure its a kitten so you can feed it at the barn and teach it that that is home so it will stay around. Shelters usually include spay/neuter with the adoption, but if not BE SURE to get it done ASAP. Otherwise, litters will come as fast as rat litters not to mention toms will wander away.
  3. purplequeenvt

    purplequeenvt Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 9, 2011
    Charlotte, VT
    I'm my experience, females are better hunters. Don't have an un-neutered cat because (besides the obvious population explosion thing) both males and females will wander more if they aren't neutered.

    We have a neutered male (Buddy) and a spayed female (Xena) who are both completely outdoor cats. They have never bothered any of my poultry. I even have a little OEGB that runs around with everyone else. Generally speaking, chickens will be too big for them to deal with. I would make sure brooders are secure though.
  4. NYboy

    NYboy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 12, 2009
    White plains
    Not all cats hunt, or will take on a rat.
  5. Kaitie09

    Kaitie09 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 28, 2009
    South Central, PA
    If your not concerned about getting a pet, you could adopt some feral cats. They normally have a better hunting instinct , and the shelters encourage you to keep them outside. You can also get a cheaper price for them. I know around here, the only requirement is that their shelter be at least 50 yard away from the road.

    Not sure how they would react with chickens, but a rooster might put them in their place.
  6. Skyesrocket

    Skyesrocket Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 20, 2008
    Yes! There are awesome groups that trap ferel cats and spay/neuter and vaccinate them and then place them in farm homes. These cats have been born and raised outside and should be very good hunters!
    Sorry to hear about your rodent problem. A Rat Terrier would be in second heaven at your farm.
  7. Kelly G

    Kelly G It's like herding cats!

    I have 6 barn cats - 3 males and 3 females - all nuetered/spayed. The would definitely kill chicks - no question....But they give my chickens a very wide berth. A grown, healthy chicken can do some serious damage to a cat if it had to.

    Five of my barn cats were acquired for the purpose of keeping rats, squirrels, mice, snakes away from the feed room (I also have horses). The sixth one was dropped off by someon and it stayed...so it got nuetered now, too...I suppose I better name him..

    One really, really important thing is to make SURE that you confine the cat somehow in its new home turf - it needs to learn that THIS is home now. It should be where he/she can look out and see/smell/hear as much as possible of it's surrounding area.

    If you don't do this, the cat will be likely to run off in hopes of finding home.

    When you choose a cat, bring a ttoy on a string or a laser pointer to evaluate its prey drive. watch to see if the cat is super-focused on your toy with its ears, eyes, paws, nose, etc.....or see if it's easily distracted from your toy by noises, movements, etc. It IS possible to increase your odds of getting a good hunter by doing this.

    For the record, I have no small pests getting into my feed anymore!!! Not even one!
  8. blueferral

    blueferral Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 15, 2012
    Simpsonville, SC
    We have always had cats. Currently have 3. Two males and a female. All of them are "fixed". The males are actually the better hunters. All of them are former stray cats. The young male will sometimes stalk the free ranging chickens. However, he stopped when the Roo convinced him that was a bad idea. I don't let the chicks out of the brooder/growing pen until they are large enough to discourage the cats.

    My cats have taken down small squirrels. Tons of mice, chipmunks, moles, etc. Not all that happy when they bring them inside and leave them on the kitchen floor.
  9. zzGypsy

    zzGypsy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 8, 2011
    I'd want ferals - some domesticated cats hunt well, but some do not. most of the ferals have that instinct a little sharper, in my experience.

    spayed or fixed, absolutely yes. cuts down on kittens and fighting with other cats and associated injuries, as well as roaming.

    female: I do think there are better hunters in the female side... but not every cat meets that rule.

    don't get tiny kittens - try to find some that lived and hunted a little while before they were captured - teen cats, or young adults.

    you will want to house them in the area you want them to see as home. the feral cat folk say keep them for 30 days in an enclosed area, no free ranging during that time, something like a chicken-wired horse stall, so they know where they live. if you take a feral and relocate them, they may not stay if you just turn them loose, even if you feed them. I have used the 30-day rule successfully... we've relocated several feral and barn cats.

    if you expect to have 2, bring in both at once so there's no territory dispute between them.

    expect to lose some to predators, if you have coyotes or other big predators. it seems that if the cat's too fearless, they become snacks - for a barn cat, I'd look for one that is not timid, but also is not overly bold and friendly... over the years, that's the type that's done best in the surviving-the-first-year department - alert, and a little jumpy, quick to react to strange sounds or things moving around them, curious, but not too bold. BTW 4 of our barn cats are at least 8 years old so if they make it past the first year, they seem to possess the needed survival skills.

    have to have access to water, and it's good to feed them some - watch their weight to see if they're getting enough on their own. some cats will hunt but not eat what they kill, others prefer the wild stuff to catfood. I've got a couple that will sit on the step and eat catfood and not hunt, if the catfood is plentiful. they need extra support in the winter. they'll need shelter where they can get out of the weather, and a place to escape predators, mine are all quick to get up a tree if needed, and we've got plenty of trees to choose from.

    for training cats to leave chickens alone - no issues on adult chickens, they're the same size as the cats. most chickens will handle it themselves, and a rooster certainly will. for younger kittens and catens who don't know the routine yet, here's a trick...

    teach your chickens to come to treats like a rolled-up bit of bread. something you can throw with a bit of control. toss it out for them to chase and eat it.
    put the kitty and the chickens in the same area... as soon as kitty starts to stalk or focus on the chickens, throw a ball of rolled-up bread at the cat.
    the chickens will go running for the ball of bread, but the cat will think the chickens are comming for a kitty-lunch... doesn't take getting run over or chased by chickens more than a couple of times to teach most cats not to hunt the chickens.
    tiny chicks and young birds may still be at risk and should be housed away from the cats.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by