Unlike dogs and other domesticated animals, cats will always have a natural wild side. Just because they spend hours lounging beside a sunny window does not mean that cats won’t go after your feathered animals. Hunting is their primary purpose, therefore, cats may well be attracted to the lively frolics that a flock of chickens displays.
While cats avoid grown chickens, they love attacking small and defenseless animals. Rather than tempt nature, keep your house cat and your hatchlings securely separate.
Stray cats were once pets but have been abandoned or are homeless for other reasons. They live in colonies that are usually outdoors. Most stray cats feed on garbage in and around trash areas, or food leftover by your pets. Other sources of food can include wild birds, mice, rats, or your chicks.
Attempting to catch a stray or feral cat that is harassing or hunting your flock, with your hands, is potentially dangerous. Even veterinarians will tell you that a cat that doesn’t want to be captured is too much for any human to contain, and any human who tries to do so risks serious injury. Furthermore, although rare, cat scratch fever can cause serious health complications.
Here are a few things you can do to protect your chickens from cats:
1. Get a Good Rooster
You don’t only need a rooster for multiplying your flock. Those noisy dudes can be excellent protectors of your chickens. A rooster is brave enough to confront any animals that dares to come near your chickens, even if it means it has to die in the process.
Roosters also keep your hens together, making it easier to protect them from cats (especially a free-range flock or one that isn’t kept in a covered chicken run). A good rooster breed also alerts hens of any danger, which can give them time to protect their chicks or run to shelter.
2. Get a dog
Just like your dog protects you and your household, it can also protect your chickens against cats. In fact, cats fear dogs so much much that they’ll just steer clear. If you choose to get a dog to protect your chickens and chicks, you must ensure that it is trained and regularly monitored so that it’s not hurting the chickens. If your dog attacks a chicken, you need to reprimand it immediately.
How To Get Your Chickens To Mate
It happens naturally right? The Rooster sees the hen and it just happens all the time? Well, Yes! But not all the time. Roosters lose interest in mating with same hen repeatedly. Also, hens get bored with mating the same rooster. So, how do you keep chicken copulation going? Click here to find out how.
3. Fit Motion Sensors
If your flock is not kept in an enclosed space, you might need to consider making some adjustments. Motion-sensor lights, which can startle away cats, are a good investment toward protecting your chickens. Your flock, however, might not need additional precautions, especially if you own larger standards, such as Australorps, and Brahmas.
4. Invest in housing
Protecting your chickens from cats starts with quality fencing. Cats become a worry if your chickens are not fully enclosed, so getting some good fencing will help keep your chickens safe. A cat can jump as high as 1.5m. So, if you are worried about them getting into your chicken run, a fence 2m high or more will do the trick.
Electric poultry fencing is an even better option to protect against ground predators. Keeping chickens indoors at night is easily the most important and effective way of protecting them, because many predators are most active at night. You can train your chickens to go inside a poultry in the evening by putting feed and water inside in the evening. Once the birds are inside, close and securely fasten all of the doors until the following morning.
Cats are a menace to free-range chickens. Unfortunately, they can be difficult to deter, especially if the chickens tend to stray far from home. If you keep free-range chickens, you may just need to accept that some degree of loss is inevitable. A call to an animal shelter like LAWS can guide you especially if the number of strays is multiplying.