Mystery of missing chickens solved

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by gila_dog, May 9, 2008.

  1. gila_dog

    gila_dog Songster

    Aug 15, 2007
    New Mexico
    My neighbor is raising some young chickens (about a month old). He has them in a thing like a chicken tractor, made of a frame of 2x12's with 2" chicken wire nailed to the top. He drags the thing around with the chickens in it, to a new spot in the yard every day or so. All was going hunky-dory until he started losing a chicken every day. We were standing nearby talking about it when a tom cat that's been seen around the neighborhood for a while strolled over, hopped up on the chicken tractor and laid down. He then reached his right paw thru the wire and just let it hang there. Pretty soon a chicken came over to check out the thing hanging down, and Mr. Cat snatched it by the head and dragged it thru the wire. It took a lot of strength to pull that chicken thru that small hole, and it tore the chicken up a bit, too. Then off Mr. Cat went, into the bushes nearby, to enjoy his lunch. The whole caper took less than 30 seconds, from the time the cat first appeared until he was munching on his victim! But that was his last victim. He's now in kitty heaven.

    There seems to be a magic age after which cats don't bother chickens. But they are really bad on young ones.
    Last edited: May 9, 2008
  2. gila_dog

    gila_dog Songster

    Aug 15, 2007
    New Mexico
    I think the chicken tractor is being overhauled with 1" chicken wire. I think he originally built it to keep chickens in, without much thought for keeping predators out. He's smarter now.
  3. I wish that so-called 'poultry wire' was unavailable. It might keep an adult chicken in but it certainly is useless for keeping trouble out!
  4. Dawn419

    Dawn419 Lost in the Woods

    Apr 16, 2007
    Evening Shade, AR
    Replacing the chicken wire with 1/2" by 1/2" hardware cloth will keep the cat from getting the chicks! [​IMG]

  5. Sherry

    Sherry Songster

    Apr 8, 2007
    Southern WV
    The owner of the cat should have taken some responsibility too.
  6. mommy9994

    mommy9994 Songster

    Mar 10, 2008
    central VA
    I would absolutely kill a menace, and wouldn't feel a bit bad about it. In this case though, I'd have to say "oh, duh, that's my fault". Absolutely not the cats fault-- he was just doing what cats do. I agree, poultry wire is flimsy, the holes are too big, and just plain useless. We use hardware cloth.
  7. silkieboxerluv

    silkieboxerluv Songster

    Mar 28, 2008
    Wow-Um I love my chickies but accidents happen and its instinct for cats. Poor kitty and poor chicky. Lose Lose situation.:|
  8. BJ

    BJ Songster

    Mar 20, 2007
    Very interesting to read everyone's opinions. It becomes VERY personal when it is YOUR chicks...and, while I may have tried trapping and relocating the cat, it is also likely that the cat is ferrule and in that case the cat would be killed by animal control. If I trapped a cat and it was ferrule, I would definitely have it destroyed, since there is no place decent on earth for a cat like that.

    I would get VERY emotional about any animal that killed my chicks, and if it was a wild cat with no owner, then I would have to agree that destroying it may be a more humane option.
  9. luvmychicknkids

    luvmychicknkids Canning Squirrel

    Mar 6, 2008
    Floresville, Texas
    Quote:I agree, it is very personal when it is your chickens. I lost two of my favorites recently. While I am not certain what it was, I know there is a mother fox and babies coming around. I took it so personally that I literally cried for days then did everything in my power to fox proof the run. I figure it isn't the fox's fault it acts like a fox.
  10. gila_dog

    gila_dog Songster

    Aug 15, 2007
    New Mexico
    I agree that we have a responsibility to protect our critters from threats. And I feel that the cat, just like the skunk, the weasel, the raccon, the owl, the hawk, etc. was just doing what it had been programmed by nature to do to survive. That was a feral cat who made his living by eating birds and mice, mooching other cats' food off people's porches, and just doing what he had to do to survive. He wasn't at fault. My neighbor was, and is trying to do his job better now.

    Animal control here consists of a deputy sheriff or a game warden. They stay pretty busy dealing with human crimes and disasters and major wildlife and livestock problems. I'm not sure what they would do if you called them to come and pick up a stray cat from your neighborhood, but I doubt if they would zoom up to your house in a cloud of dust with red lights flashing. They are more likely to tell you to watch out for it because it could pick up rabies from a rabid fox. And when you can get a clear, safe shot at it, just get rid of it.

    Live trapping a feral cat is a waste of time. What are you going to do with it? Turn it loose somewhere else to become somebody else's problem? Take it to the "animal shelter"? That may make you feel good, but it won't help the cat. It won't be adopted, it will be "euthanized". That cat wasn't going to live a long and happy life anyway. He was going to get hit by a car, bitten by a rabid animal, become weakened by injury or disease and wind up as a meal for some other predator, or meet some other unpleasant end. Instead he got shot. He died quickly and more humanely than most of his victims, actually. I hope he had some fun, had some girlfriends, and didn't suffer when his time was up.
    Last edited: May 11, 2008

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