Young chickens vs. cats

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by larsand, Jan 8, 2014.

  1. larsand

    larsand New Egg

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    Jan 8, 2014
    We are new to chickens. Our "babies" are six weeks old today - three Rhode Island Reds, and three Plymouth Rocks - and growing up fast! We keep them in the garage with a lamp. Soon, they'll move to their outside coop, where we intend to keep them for a few days to get used to their new surroundings an learn what "home" means. After that, the idea is to eventually let them roam outside during the day. Our backyard is ~0.5 acre and fully fenced in, and should provide a good environment for them. Our worry at this point is cats - our own, plus our neighbors'. I know cats would kill small chicks, and I know cats would stay away from fully grown chickens - much too big and feisty. But our birds will be "in between" for some time - not small, but not full size either. Can they co-exist with cats during the day? Or must I build a temporary and fully enclosed run to keep them completely away from cats for a few months, and then remove it as they get older/bigger?

    Appreciate any advice. We want to be good "parents" and keep our birds safe, but at the same time I don't want to build a run for just a few months of use unless I have to. Any experience with chickens and cats? How old is "old enough" that they can co-exist peacefully?
     
  2. FloridaBasser

    FloridaBasser Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I jsut started raising chickens a bit over a year ago and started with 2 full grown bantams and a bunch of chicks. Once the chicks were feathered and could go out roaming the yard we let them and the cats just lay about in the garden and ignore them for the most part. If they were squirrels they would be dinner lol but so far we havent lost a single bird of any age to cats. Even the dogs leave them be except my hound, I tell him round em up and he herds them into the coop.
     
  3. ChickenLegs13

    ChickenLegs13 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Some cats are so domesticated they wouldn't hurt a fly, while others are nothing more than feral predators with a strong prey drive. Assume that until they're fully feathered your chickens are cat bait.
    After a cat killed 15 of my young free range birds this summer I made a temporary run on my brooder pen using deer netting that you get at Lowes or HD for $15 for 100' roll. It's 7' high and if you leave it loose & floppy instead of stretching it tight, cats won't climb it so it needs no top.
    Don't trust any stinkin cat around young chickens.
     
  4. FloridaBasser

    FloridaBasser Chillin' With My Peeps

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    the nice thing about the dogs being out there is they keep stray cats away and my cats wont bother them so not alot to worry about. I did have 2 neighborhood dogs get into my yard last year and kill my mille fleur and 2 turkeys so chickenlegs suggestion of deer netting is sound advice
     
  5. Chicks Galore3

    Chicks Galore3 Artistic Bird Nut Premium Member

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    Like ChickenLegs13 said, there are different "types" of cats. I have all assortments of them, because I guess we look like a good place to dump cats. We have the cuddliest cat to the type of cat who still takes down raccoons for dinner at the age of 13. I am a little nervous to let my 6 week chicks out with cats without supervision. Let the chicks out with the cats and see what they do. Take in mind the chicks are new animals. The cats will be inquisitive. If they do anything bad chase them off. It worked for me. :) I'd say I let my chickens out without supervision when they were 3 months old.
     
  6. otis7

    otis7 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I think it would be smart to build a run anyway. You never know what kind of predators you're going to have, and it's much better to have an established run then quickly building one in a state of heartbreak because you just lost some of your favorite chickens. They are also nice for when you travel, are away from home all day, ect.
     
  7. otis7

    otis7 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    And as far as whether a cat will take down one of your chickens, I'm not sure anyone can answer. Any animal may decide to try it, and even a minor cat bite can be deadly, even for humans!
     
  8. Coop Deville

    Coop Deville Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I agree that cats are kind of an uncertainty -- some will leave the chickens alone and some more feral types will strike. Having said that, most cats won't bother chickens (it's usually the other way around!). I would recommend a secure run for as long as needed, then let a few out and monitor them as much as possible until you're reasonably sure it's safe to let them out among the cats.
     

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