I have 12 hens and a rooster and am wondering if I let them out to roam will the cats that hang around our house get them?? They are about 6 months old and the rooster is very protective of his ladies. I just don't want any fatalities!!
Ha! If your chickens are anything like mine it will the cats who need to worry about being hurt, not the other way around! Cats will attack and eat baby chickens but by 6 months they should be big enough to take care of the cats. The cats learn quickly that they will get pecked by the birds and leave them alone. Even our little banty chickens don't take guff from the cats.
Doesn't matter with our outside cats. We have some that we can pet and others that we can't and all of them avoid messing with the chickens. They will go in and eat the scratch ... go figure ... but they avoid the notice of the birds if they can. And the chickens will come up and eat the cat food and all the cats stand back and watch and wait. If you're worried just go out with them all for a while at first and watch how they interact. If your roo is protective he will take on anything that will try to hurt his girls anyway. Ours tried to take on a pit bull that was running loose as it was trying to dig under our fence. The dog lost.
Well, I let them out for about 45 minutes and followed their every move. They are even tamer than I thought and stuck by me pretty closely. THEN we noticed a wild cat in the trees looking suspicious and inching closer so I freaked out, rounded them up and got them back in the coop. It was so fun watching them roam happily.....we will definitely try it again but will be on the lookout for those darn cats!
LF at that age should be fine. Banties on the other hand are still on the menu for cats. My girls and cockerel don't give the cats a second look. But I will need to watch next year when I get some bantams.