Recently, a Pawrenting reader wrote seeking advice on how to deal with his cat that was eating all the chicken in the farm.
“My cat has gone wild. For three years now, it has been eating my chicken, clearing the entire coop. I have tried to kill it but all my efforts have been futile. Please help,” he wrote.
Generally, cats and chickens coexist peacefully. However, there are instances where even a well-behaved pet can turn into a chicken killer if it gets the opportunity. A cat or a dog does not necessarily have to be starving to attack a chicken, it can start as a hobby and end up as a menace.
Catching the cat is out of question. Attempting to catch by hand any feral cat that is harassing and hunting your fowl is potentially dangerous. Even veterinarians advise that a cat that wants to avoid capture is too much for any human to contain and if you attempt to do so, you risk serious injuries.
Feral or wild cats are a great nuisance because they use a range of tactics to get to the chickens-from digging under the pens, climbing over fences and also forcing their way through doors. They will hunt the chicken even during the day if the access is easy enough.
Pet proof coop
Killing a cat is not easy, so the best way out is to try and pet-proof the chicken coop. A strong solid or mesh floored pen will prevent the cat or dog from digging under. The holes of the mesh should be small, not greater than 20mm square. Make sure where they sleep at night is completely roofed and there is no gap in the door frames. You can install some sensor security lights. Also, make sure the grass around the coop is short so the cat does not have an area to lurk as it waits to hunt the chicken and there should be no overhanging branches on top of the coop.
Keeping a farm dog can also deter the cat from roaming around the compound. You will need to train it not to feed on the chicken that it is supposed to protect. Roosters also offer good protection to the chicken. They vocalise perceived threats, alerting the chicken of imminent danger.
Maryanne is a pet owner. [email protected]