Many backyard chicken keepers have a flock of Silkies.
These fluffy birds are Bantam chickens, which means they stay small and are often raised as pets.
Adult Silkie hens only weigh around three pounds, and the roosters average up to four pounds.
If you are a cat owner or regularly have a neighborhood feline visiting your chicken yard, you may wonder about the safety of your Silkies.
Domestic cats have a predatory instinct and are often accomplished hunters of small animals.
So, will cats attack Silkie chickens?
A cat is likely to attack a Silkie chicken if given the opportunity. Most cats do not attack standard chickens because of their large size, but since Silkies are so small, they are an easier target. Silkies cannot fly and have poor vision, making them more vulnerable to a cat attack.
While the average house cat is likely well-fed and unmotivated to hunt, this does not mean your Silkies are entirely safe.
Cats may be very curious about these fluffy chickens, and their instinct is to hunt anything smaller than them.
Keep reading to learn how to keep your Silkies safe from cats.
Could a Cat Kill a Silkie Chicken?
A cat can kill a Silkie chicken because of their small size.
Baby chicks are particularly vulnerable to being killed by a cat.
A domestic house cat is less likely to kill a chicken when compared to a feral cat, but both pose a danger to your Silkies.
Feral cats are more uncertain about where their next meal will come from, so they will be less hesitant to be chicken killers.
A single chicken straying from the flock is at a greater risk of being killed by a cat or other predators.
Feline hunters may be discouraged from attacking a larger flock because the chickens will warn each other with a lot of noise, possibly scaring the cat away.
Is It Possible to Raise Cats and Silkies Together?
According to animal experts, it may be possible to train your cat not to attack your Silkies.
The only way to know for sure is to slowly introduce your cat to your Silkies and gauge the feline’s reaction.
The cat should always be outside the enclosed chicken run during these introductions to keep your Silkies safe.
As previously stated, the cat will be more intimidated by a large group of chickens and will be less likely to attempt an attack.
If a cat sees a single chicken straying from the flock, its predatory instincts might kick in and send the feline into attack mode.
There is also a danger of your cat being attacked by a Silkie rooster protecting the flock.
Always supervise your cats and Silkies during these introductions to ensure no animals are hurt.
Give your cat its favorite treats whenever it acts calmly around your Silkies to reinforce the good behavior.
Only allow your cats to see the chickens in the open when you are sure the feline can remain calm.
If the cat becomes aggressive, take it away from the chickens.
Keep the introductions short, gradually increasing the time the animals spend together.
Over time, your cat and chickens will become used to each other.
The cat and chickens may eventually become friends, but it is more likely they will just tolerate each other.
Even if your cat behaves around your Silkie, there is no guarantee your chickens will be entirely safe.
Cats are natural predators, and this will not change over time.
Young kittens raised around Silkies are more likely to be friendly and learn not to attack the chickens.
How To Keep Your Silkies Safe From Cats
Whether you have house cats or neighborhood felines roaming around, it is important to keep your Silkies safe.
Besides cats, other predators such as foxes, raccoons, and dogs also pose a threat to your chickens.
Chicken owners can protect their Silkies from cats and other predators in several ways.
Keep Your Pet Cat Indoors
If you have trained your cat not to attack your Silkies, this may not be enough to keep your chickens safe.
A playful cat may confuse the fluffy feathers of a Silkie with one of its toys and suddenly pounce on a chicken.
Keeping your cat inside your home is the only way to completely keep your Silkies safe.
Indoor cats are also at a lower risk for injuries and health issues.
The Feline Leukemia Virus and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus are often deadly for cats and are transmitted to each other through bite wounds.
Rabies from wild animals like raccoons and opossums is another danger for cats kept outdoors.
There is also a risk of cats becoming injured or killed after being hit by cars.
Build a Secure Chicken Coop
Your Silkies need a secure coop where they can escape from dangerous predators.
The chicken run must also be secured by burying the fence at least 12″ inches below the ground.
Cats are more likely to go after free-range chickens, which do not have the protection of a fence between them and predators.
Cover the fence in mesh or another type of wire to keep small animals from squeezing through.
Burying hardware cloth up to 2′ feet away from the fence will also discourage predators such as foxes, badgers, skunks, and coyotes from digging underneath and entering the run or coop.
Inspect the chicken coop for cracks or openings a smaller animal could fit through.
A secure roof and mesh wire fencing with openings too small for rats or snakes will keep your Silkies safe in their coop.
Cats are avid climbers and will not hesitate to scale a fence to get to your chickens.
If stray cats are a problem in your area, you may consider installing an electric fence to keep them out.
Get a Larger Flock
Cats are less likely to stalk a larger flock of Silkies.
There is safety in numbers, and more Silkies means more eyes watching for predators and sounding warning calls to the others.
You may also consider adding a few larger breed chickens to your Silkie flock.
The Ameracauna, Rhode Island Red, and Barred Rock breeds are good choices and will get along with your existing Silkies.
Cats are not as likely to attack an adult chicken of a larger breed, and the big chickens protect the smaller ones.
Lock Your Chickens Up at Night
Predators are more active at night, so it is best to lock your Silkies in the coop after dark.
Round up your Silkies around dusk, and use a secure lock on the chicken coop door.
Keeping your Silkies secured in the coop at night helps protect them against cats and other nighttime predators.
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