Should I worry about the neighborhood cats checking out my 3 chickens???

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by heathernesbitt, Oct 17, 2014.

  1. heathernesbitt

    heathernesbitt New Egg

    8
    0
    7
    Sep 26, 2014
    Lomita, (Los Angeles), Ca
    Advice???

    I have 3 backyard chickens, we live in the city on a 5000 sq foot lot, we have a coop with a small run. I like to let the chickens out during the day to free range in our fenced suburban yard. I only let them out if I'm home but I don't stay outside with them. They are about 5 1/2 months old, 2 are laying. Anyway, to the point! I heard my smart RIR pecking at my back door and went to investigate and found 2 neighborhood cats in the yard stalking the birds. The cats weren't attacking but they did look interested. Then this morning I looked in the back yard and there was a cat laying down next to the coop door all cuddled up. My gals love foraging in the yard and I'd hate to keep them in the small run all day, but I don't want them hurt either! I just read a long post about chicken predators and cat didn't even make the list. What say you?
    Thanks!
    Heather
     
  2. heathernesbitt

    heathernesbitt New Egg

    8
    0
    7
    Sep 26, 2014
    Lomita, (Los Angeles), Ca
    [​IMG]
    Here's a pic of our setup.
     
  3. heathernesbitt

    heathernesbitt New Egg

    8
    0
    7
    Sep 26, 2014
    Lomita, (Los Angeles), Ca
    oh I just found a great thread on this topic! Sorry to start another one, guess I need to watch out for kitties!
     
  4. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

    16,997
    5,283
    501
    Mar 9, 2014
    Oregon
    My Coop
    Less an overall concern than the cat (*most* domestic cats will not take on an adult chicken - and *most* adult chickens do a good job of disciplining any that try), is the use of poultry netting as your only barrier between bird and beast during the times they are confined. IMO, you are more likely to suffer a loss in the overnight hours from a passing predator (they are just as, if not more in some cases, present in suburban settings as rural) than a daylight loss to a house cat while free-ranging because the overall structure has no real barrier to prevent such an attack (if using only poultry netting a closing "pop" door that is secured at night provides such a barrier)
     
  5. sunflour

    sunflour Flock Master Premium Member

    13,839
    2,706
    416
    Jan 10, 2013
    Macon,GA
    X2. I know too many folks lost chickens trusting chicken wire. Looks like you could attach hardware cloth over the chicken wire frame.
     
  6. heathernesbitt

    heathernesbitt New Egg

    8
    0
    7
    Sep 26, 2014
    Lomita, (Los Angeles), Ca
    You think something could get in through the chicken wire?
    We do get raccoons in the neighborhood. We've had the girls 3.5 months, so far no predator issues with the coop. I'd like to get something a little bigger (and cuter! ha) but this started out as an experiment to see if we could even get away with having them, it isn't legal in our area and there are back houses on either side of our yard, so far no neighbor complaints.
     
  7. sunflour

    sunflour Flock Master Premium Member

    13,839
    2,706
    416
    Jan 10, 2013
    Macon,GA
    Most tell that raccoons can tear thru chicken wire. It's common to hear of them reaching thru and pulling chickens heads, legs,etc. thru chicken wire. Personally, I would not risk it.
     
  8. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

    16,997
    5,283
    501
    Mar 9, 2014
    Oregon
    My Coop
    The honest answer is that anything can get through chicken wire. Poultry netting is designed to and effective at keeping chickens IN, but it does nothing to keep any predators OUT - those that chew through or pull apart the wire can simply reach through the mesh and grab body parts which they pull back through the wire (either while attached to the bird where they remove it, or having ripped it from the bird already). There is not a predator I can think of that cannot handily navigate poultry netting.
     
  9. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

    16,997
    5,283
    501
    Mar 9, 2014
    Oregon
    My Coop
    Generally speaking having poultry netting over or under a heavier gauge wire is effective - hardware cloth is the materiel of choice. For our run I have opted for heavy gauge cattle panels covered over with poultry netting - it is not predator proof, and I am aware of that, so I have chosen to answer that concern by accepting the risk of possible daytime breach and adding the layer of security of a closed coop at night with a pop door that is latched in a way to make it as resistant to persistent manipulation by a predator who has breached the run. My personal assessment of my situation is that my biggest risk is in the overnight hours.
     
  10. heathernesbitt

    heathernesbitt New Egg

    8
    0
    7
    Sep 26, 2014
    Lomita, (Los Angeles), Ca
    Wow I didn't know that! Thanks so much for the info! [​IMG]
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by