Chickens are quickly claiming their place among the most pampered pets in America. Whether it’s on a farm or in your own backyard, these feathered companions are becoming just as treasured as cats or dogs.
If you’re thinking about getting some chickens, you may be concerned about how your cats will take it. After all, cats are known for their predatory behavior, especially towards birds. However, with the right precautionary measures, it can certainly be done.
Read on for our top tips on raising cats and chickens together.
Will Cats Kill Chickens?
It’s no secret that cats are natural-born hunters with a particular fondness for feathers. However, cats and chickens have proven to coexist peacefully in many cases. This is most likely because a fully-grown chicken is simply too big to be attractive prey for a cat.
Baby chicks, on the other hand, are a different story. If your chickens are raising young, your cat may find these tiny birds irresistible. You will have to take extra precautions to make sure your cats cannot get to them.
Tip #1: Protect the Chicks
One of the most important things to remember when raising cats and chickens is to keep your chicks protected until they mature. You can do this by either building a fence or other type of barricade, or keeping them in a secure brooder where your cats can’t get to them.
When selecting a brooder for your baby chicks, there are a few things you should keep in mind. Here are some extra tips to be sure your cat won’t be able to get through:
- Cover up any openings with mesh or a wire screen so your cat can’t stick her paw in and disturb the chicks.
- Be sure your brooder is grounded securely so your cat can’t overturn it.
- Look out for any weak spots, such as a roof that can be lifted off by the cat
When you’re raising cats and chickens, the baby chicks are the most vulnerable to your cat’s natural predatory behavior. That’s why you should be especially careful about keeping the babies protected.
Tip #2: Start Off with a Wire Fence
Although cats have generally not been shown to go after adult chickens, every cat is different. You may want to build a secure structure to separate the cats and chickens.
If you’re raising chickens when you have cats roaming around, it’s best to start things off with a wire fence around the coop. That way, your chickens will be able to freely roam without being vulnerable to your cat’s carnivorous instincts.
Tip #3: Slowly Give Cats and Chickens More Time Face-To-Face
If your ultimate goal is to have free-range cats and chickens that coexist harmoniously, you can eventually remove the fencing and see how your cats react to the chickens.
Start off by slowly giving the cats and chickens some one-on-one time. Watch how your cat reacts: if their pupils dilate or if they seem interested in attacking the chickens, then it’s best not to allow them around unsupervised.
Over time, you can train your cats not to bother the chickens by slowly integrating more meetings until your cat calms down their hunting instinct. Once you feel confident that your cat will behave, then you can let them free-range together.
Get the Chickens!
The bottom line here is this: if you’re thinking about getting chickens, get them! Raising cats and chickens together is very possible. Now that you have a few tips, go out and get your coop started!
Check back soon for more cat behavior advice!