What chickens do well with a lot of cats?s come and go and are in the

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by skydeas, Oct 13, 2009.

  1. skydeas

    skydeas Hatching

    Oct 13, 2009
    Hi all!
    I am new to this site, and have a beginners question!

    We have 14 cats, live in an urban neighborhood with a smallish back yard
    (40 x 60 feet). Is there any way we can have chickens with that many cats? The cats don't all stay in the backyard, but are in the front and out in the neighborhood. (In case you are wondering, we stemmed the tide of feral cats by getting them all fixed and now they love us!)

    What breed(s) would be best, if we go for it?
    Any advice appreciated!
  2. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    You would want to build an enclosed (and topped) run for the chickens - but you probably would *anyhow*.

    In principle the cats might terrorize the chickens through the run wire, but if your cats are like my cats they would get bored of it pretty quickly and just ignore the chickens thereafter [​IMG]

    It would probably be wise to avoid the really neurotic paranoid breeds, such as leghorns and campines and hamburgs and such. Anything else should be fine.

    On the bright side, with all them cats around you shouldn't have any worries about rodents getting into chicken feed [​IMG]

    Good luck, have fun,

  3. OutInTheStiks

    OutInTheStiks Songster

    Jun 23, 2009
    Thorn Hill, TN
    Our cats were quickly put in their place by one of our broody hens. I think it would depend on the personality of the cats as much as the chickens.
  4. BabaYaga

    BabaYaga In the Brooder

    Oct 12, 2009
    Blue Ridge Mountains
    First, great job with the feral cats! I wish there were more people l like you around. I live in the country and have finally, finally, after 9 years, gotten the feral cat colony here under control. I had 12 fixed this summer alone. We'll be good until someone drops 2 terrified half grown female cats in heat in the cow pasture next door. (Has happened at least twice.)

    You know, it's gonna depend on the individual cats and chickens. I'm a very new noobie, but I thought I'd mention that my Buff Orpington hens completely intimidate all the cats in the area, including the toms. The chickens eat from the compost first, and the cats even back away from their own food dishes when the hens come up and want to eat. So, I'd say "big ones"! One half grown cat has tried to go after my silkie chicks when they have an outdoor play time, but the others have walked past with no interest, so go figure. (I'm going to have a tractor built for the silkies to live in. We have tons of hawks too.)

    I'm sure the good people here on BYC can help you figure out how to safely keep chickens around cats.

    Best of luck! Baba Yaga
  5. vbgarden

    vbgarden In the Brooder

    Jun 23, 2008
    Virginia Beach
    A have a friend who does cat rescue and always has a couple dozen kitties around her place. She insisted on getting chickens - I was sure it would be a disaster. She kept the chicks enclosed in a coop/run until they were full grown and then decided to let them forage out. To my surprise, the cats - not one of them! - bothered the chickens. They were curious but the chickens would cluck and peck around and the cats left them alone.

    In fact, it's pretty hilarious to watch the interaction when one of the cats is sunbathing and the chickens begin to wander over. You know how a nervous cat gets that tip-tip-tip going at the end of her tail... the chickens get really excited about that (Giant Worm???) and begin creeping up with their heads cocked and little beady eyes on that flipping tail... and the cat kind of shudders, gets up and leaves. I swear that sideways "chicken look" just creeps them out. Cracks me up.

    May not be true for every cat and every chicken - but the odds were 200% more cats than chickens and it worked out fine. Here at home, our neighbors cats would certainly eat chicks if they could get to them, but leave our foraging chickens alone.

    Hope this helps!
  6. Kittymomma

    Kittymomma Songster

    Sep 9, 2009
    Olympia, WA
    I don't have that many cats, *only* four and a few more that people dump from time to time. My cats are typical hunting fools and while I free range my chickens I would never let anything smaller then a 3/4 size chicken run around outside of the pen. It's just too tempting for a cat.

    That being said I haven't had any problmes with the grown chickens and the cats. The cats are all well fed and while that doesn't diminish their desire to hunt I think it makes it unlikely they'll go to the trouble of trying for a full size bird. I have heard of particularly large cats who will however, so you'll have to decide if it's likely to be a problem for you.
  7. TXmom

    TXmom Songster

    The only time you have to worry about the chickens is when they're very young (with the cats, I mean, there are other worse predators). And the chicks grow quickly, so in just a few weeks they'll be big enough to intimidate the kitties. [​IMG] Mine were only about 3 months old when I decided to let them out of their run and "free-range" around the back yard for a while. My poor unsuspecting cat Pumpkin was minding his own business sunning himself when one of my Leghorns wandered over and pecked his outstretched leg HARD. Poor Pumpkin jumped up and ran...and now he doesn't like to be around them at all. Even my Chihuahuas are afraid of the chickens. In fact, the only animals around here NOT afraid of the chickens are the goats, and they just ignore them.

    And keep in mind these are not mean attack chickens...I love them dearly and they are sweet...some of them will sit in my lap and they all eat out of my hands...but they peck at things when they're curious about them. I really think the Leghorn just wanted to see what that fuzzy orange thing was!
  8. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    I agree that chickens and grown cats can coexist pretty well together, it's just that in a 40x60 backyard with a lot of cats and chickens stuck in each others' laps a lot of the time and vying for the same favorite spots, I have a feeling that disputes are likely to develop unless the two parties are kept in separated areas.

    Just something to think about anyhow.

  9. Karrie13

    Karrie13 Songster

    May 1, 2009
    I haven't had any problems with my two outside cats and the chickens. The cats will "sun" themselves on the roof of the chicken coop and could easily jump right into the pen but they don't. My pen doesn't have a roof. Of course I think in your case a covered pen would be a very good idea.

    I think it is because when the chickens were first let out the cats were curious and hung around the pen. I saw a cat get "pecked" more than once from the chickens. They learned their lesson!
  10. Kat'sChicks

    Kat'sChicks Chirping

    Jun 20, 2009
    Minonk, IL
    Our cats and chickens get along fine. They share each others food and have been seen napping together. When my silkie hatched her baby they all hovered around to see the little ball of fluff but couldn't get within 5 feet without mom and dad pecking and flapping them away. There are 2 cats we have to carry out of the coop at night before we lock up.

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