Monday, March 14, 2011



When we initially decided to start a backyard flock, we were a bit concerned about our neighborhood's cat population. There are lots of cats that consider our backyard to be part of their territory - some are feral, some have homes.

The morning after our hens spent their first night in their outdoor coop, there were multiple cats perched on top of the coop trying to size up the birds. We shooed them away, and they soon lost interest.

We like to let the girls out of their run to stretch their legs and munch on fresh grass (their pen gets awfully muddy during the rainy winter months), so we were especially watchful at first, since there would be no protective barrier of chicken wire between the hens and the cats.

I'm not sure if our experience is typical or not...but we've had absolutely no problems with the cats. Cats still like to come through the yard while the chickens are out, but once those girls fluff up their feathers, the cats are gone in an instant. For the most part, the chickens don't even bat an eye while the cats circulate around them.

I took the above photo this afternoon - a neighbor's new kitten had gotten a bit too close, so Penny stared her down until she ran away. (Note: Penny's molting right now and isn't looking her prettiest).

The biggest danger for our hens is at night, when they're sound asleep and unaware of impending danger. Otherwise, they seem to intimidate the daytime predators.

Have any of our readers encountered any cat problems?

Update: I came upon this lovely photo at South Sound Hounds today. How peaceful!

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  1. Thanks for the cat chat - we have two cats and are considering raising chickens (for eggs) but weren't sure what would happen with cats - ours or the neighbors! :-)

  2. I'm glad you found the post helpful - chickens are surprisingly tough birds. Good luck with getting your flock started; I hope you'll keep us updated on its progress! :)

  3. I have had my Chickens free ranging all winter 2 Australorps one was a one leg hopper the other leg disabled at birth. Both were fine all winter as far as cats go and there are several of them cats I dont like when they climb on my cars, come in my garage, and sneaking around my property but seems the chickens held their own. unfortunately the handicapp Chicken isn't here now as her leg got broke. I double checked and seen that there was no bleeding or bite marks so I figure her other leg finally hit the bad luck of getting twisted going into the coop last month. I am at one chicken now but will soon get 1- 2 more. I don't think it was a cat that got her but I will tell you that dogs are relentless small or big ones are constantly tryingto chase my poor chickens but soon as the weather improves I will have a fence to solve that!