Killer cat

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Warwicker
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Killer cat

Post by Warwicker » Sun Jul 31, 2016 5:57 pm

Yesterday I lost one of my new chickens in broad daylight.

She only started laying three weeks ago and has laid every day since. We've kept chickens semi-free ranging but locked up at night in the back part of the garden for 9 years with no problems, but I came home (only gone an hour) there were feathers everywhere and I eventually found her buried under a pile of wood shaving missing a head and a leg.

There had obviously been a big fight so she didn't go easily and the rest of the flock (2 young pullets and two old hens) had escaped into another area of the garden and were unharmed. Our garden is dog-proof but all the local cats are wary of the chicks. But there's a new young ginger car in the block who's been fighting with other cats for dominance and he's been in my garden too often for my liking.

I suspect him. Has anyone else any exierience of a killer car?
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Marigold
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Re: Killer cat

Post by Marigold » Sun Jul 31, 2016 8:52 pm

Hi Warwicker, and welcome to the Forum. I'm sorry it's at such a worrying time, and it must have been most distressing, to lose such a young and productive bird.
How big was your pullet? Was she just the normal-sized hybrid? Normally this kind of daylight attack is down to a fox, but they can kill very fast so if she put up a good long fight, maybe the cat is a possible suspect, as you suggest.
I wonder if anyone can think of a way to deter this cat? Do you have a run, or just the coop where you can shut them in at night?
Warwicker
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Re: Killer cat

Post by Warwicker » Sun Jul 31, 2016 10:15 pm

Thank you Marigold for your reply. We've had to quickly build a coup as I couldn't bear to lose another chicken like that. I've seen fox attacks before, fortunately not my chickens, and in both cases nearly all the chickens were killed. I really don't think a fiox could access our garden as we have a six foot solid fence all the way around, though I know they can climb. This is why I suspect this particular cat, who incidentally returned this afternoon.

As you say, the most important thing was to protect my remaining chickens. I had three new ones. The one that died was not fully grown yet.
Warwicker
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Re: Killer cat

Post by Warwicker » Sun Jul 31, 2016 10:17 pm

To quickly build a walk in run....not a coup, we already have that.
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dinosaw
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Re: Killer cat

Post by dinosaw » Sun Jul 31, 2016 11:26 pm

Sorry to hear about your chicken. Could be a bold cat or a fox who was disturbed in the act, cats are capable of killing chickens though it's not very common for them to do so. As for foxes six foot fences aren't much of a barrier to them, they can jump that high vertically. Either way you are doing the right thing by building a run as whatever it was will be back.
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Marigold
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Re: Killer cat

Post by Marigold » Mon Aug 01, 2016 10:38 am

If you're pretty sure it's a cat, rather than a fox, your prevention options are probably simpler. There are various cat deterrent devices on the market, including this cat watch deterrent which us recommended by the RSBP http://shopping.rspb.org.uk/catwatch-cat-deterrent.html
It emits a high pitched sound which is said to be frightening to cats. You can also fix things to the top of your nice solid 6ft fence to stop cats climbing over - you can buy strips of plastic spikes which can be nailed on all round, painful but not actually harmful to a cat's feet, but after one go, it probably won't try again! A string or wire fixed all round to supports 6 inches above the fence will also make it difficult for a cat to climb over. Of course, if you're out there when the cat arrives, it's very satisfying to get it with a well-directed hose pipe.
This looks a jolly good site, which should sort the problem, one way or another.
http://thescaredycat.com/ It includes the spikes, complete with photo. I read some of the customer reviews on the Amazon link and it seems they're very effective if properly installed, I.e, where the cat has to jump up to get on top of the fence, rather than where it can just walk carefully out on to the top from another support. I think these might be a good addition to fences where people suffered from urban foxes as well, maybe.
Our solution is to keep a small terrier, who really enjoys chasing out the odd cat who dares slink across our garden. Only problem then is to train the terrier not to chase the chickens!
Warwicker
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Re: Killer cat

Post by Warwicker » Tue Aug 02, 2016 12:52 pm

Thank you all for the very useful suggestions. It is definitely a cat as next door had to chase the one I suspected away from her guiniea pig run yesterday where it was circling and swishing its tail and trying to get inside.

I will get those plastic strips and I've just bought a motion-activated cat scarer that shoots a jet of water over a wide arc.

But, sadly, I'll be keeping my chicks in the run for the foreseeable future.

I'll also check out the websites you suggested so once again 'thank you'
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