Post by Meadow Creek Mama on Jan 3, 2021 0:05:10 GMT -5
We've had a few barn cats for a few years and I've always left food out. The two youngest would still kill mice so I was okay with it (the oldest cat was our old house cat who hated living in the house but doesn't hunt anything). Whenever it would get warmer out, they would leave for the summer, rarely coming back to the barn. They would hang closer as winter came on and I would feed them again so that they would be encouraged to stay since they had that wild hair from summer. This year, they have quit hunting mice and just want to eat cat food. One is so fat I'm embarrassed. I cut the feed way back so it wasn't always available and now it seems that one of the two has decided to leave since food isn't available.
I have so many mice in my barn right now and there are technically 3 cats out there. Do you feed your barn cats or just let them eat mice? How do you manage barn cats so they work for you best?
I feed mine. They’re disgustingly annoying otherwise.
Pretty sure there’s research that a fed cat will hunt better than one not fed. At least that’s some farmer tale I’ve heard that I stick too 😂
Mine only get maybe a cup each a day, although this year a new feeder has them pretty much at free choice. I have few mice, however I have many cats. I would think your issue might be more an influx in mice rather than lazy cats. Mice populations tend to explode now and then and what cats were managing well before they can get overwhelmed with.
I had a rule, 5 cats, males only. A couple would spend the night in the house but most days they were all out and about. I never had serious mice issues, although some years are worse than others. A couple of the cats don’t seem to ever hunt in the barn. One is a bird snatcher, a couple are always out in the back pasture catching voles, but then there’s one that doesn’t seem to ever leave the barn. They all find their spots.
I broke my rule and got a female. Soon I had a cat explosion! Three litters in a year. Currently I have 8 cats. A couple of my older ones came from a Barn Buddy program where feral or unhomeable cats were neutered and placed as barn cats. Depending on the program their adoption was low or just whatever could be donated.
I do see signs of mice underneath grain bags or in bales but I’m definitely not overrun with them. Rarely do I see a live mouse.
We have "garage cats" rather than barn cats. Neither of the barns are good places for a cat to actually live, however, kittens have been born behind the hay bales a few times. Anyway, Rich feeds them a little bit of kibble twice a day, just what they'll eat in 10 or 15 minutes, because he has to supervise. We rehomed all the hens that lived in the garage, but there are still 12 roosters out there, and they LOVE cat food and the cats don't stand a chance against them. So they get *enough* to keep them going (the cats), but they still hunt mice and voles to the point we have very few of them around. The long and the short of it being, yes, we feed the feral cats a little, and they still keep the place pretty much rodent-free.
One of these days we need to do something about those roosters.
Post by simplynaturalfarm on Jan 3, 2021 9:44:00 GMT -5
Ours are fed because the ones that catch mice, catch it regardless of whether they are fed or not. The one that don't will become annoying otherwise. Being obese is not good whether you are catching mice or not, so definitely cut back. I know most of you wouldn't do this, but I put "safer" poison in areas no cat or dog can reach, and that seems to work better than cats. Some poisons can't be ptreated if dogs or cats get into it , but others can. Dogs love to eat poison if they can, cats rarely and dh has only treated one cat for poison in last 13 years, but dozens of dogs every year. The cats and dogs aren't harmed if they eat a poisoned dead rat or mouse so it's not a problem to have them found. Note - I referred to cats eating mice and dogs eating rats. If a cat ate a poisoned rat, the cat would get secondary poisoning and could get very sick.
I use poison traps that mice crawl into and also put it in holes, and tiny places mice are seen but cats don't reach.
I have 4 cats in the barn , and they get fed once a day at dark (magpies here ) , I still have mice , I also have poison bait stations , sticky traps and snap traps in my feed shed as cats are not allowed in there , I have a bunch of oat hay in my barn so it is a mouse magnet , 3 of the older cats youngest is over 10 years , 1 was here when I bought this place in 06 so pretty old , and 1 of her daughters that was born around 07 or 08 , and 1 that showed up about 2 years ago , all are fixed , I try to make sure a cat is present when I move a bale of oat hay as they all will go after 1 if they see it Suzanne
2 children Steven and Leila permitted 006 RCM Dairy Paprika 3/4 Jersey 1/4 Highland/Angus/Herford 2018 heifer Cookie 3/4 jersey 1/4 Hereford 2017 JC a Jersey or cross heifer Emmy a Galiceno pony Tonta the rescue Mustang pony some goats and the ever changing bottle calves
I too have heard that feeding has no bearing on hunting (only on whether they eat their kills or not). And if we didn't feed them they would relocate to some else's house. I've heard females are better hunters, spayed or not (we only keep spayed and neutered cats).
Cats in general do not appreciate the company of others, unless they were siblings raised together. Something to keep in mind - often adding a cat makes someone leave.
Our biggest problem is voles in the garden (adjacent to the barn) so cats work wonders on that problem.
Young cats are more prolific hunters, and there's definitely a huge variation in prey drive in cats!
I have both indoor and outdoor cats. Territorially, that works - momma cat and the one baby I let her keep are good about staying around the barn. And yes, letting her have a litter and keeping ones from that litter really did work well! My dad took two of the kittens, they're half feral, but definitely know this is home!
My elderly cat was my best mouser, he died a couple years ago. It's taken the younger cats some time to adapt to our homestead and take back over his territory.
For a long time I had only two cats, outdoor, that kept the mice in check.
Now I have 3 in/out and 2 outdoor and I haven't seen a mouse in ages!
Jersey cow family: Samson's Rosita & Virtuoso Briar Rose An Akita, some kitty cats, Border Leicester sheep & hens
Post by simplynaturalfarm on Jan 3, 2021 18:00:17 GMT -5
Our indoor cats don't seem to go after mice in house and our house renoes that left holes for a while, left us with mice in house but even when I put cats beside a quivering mouse, they just look at it and walk away! Outdoor kitties just spend all their times trying to fight their way into the, garage and pee in my garage walls, hiding behind things and racing through doors when they can.... Drives me crazy!
Our actual " barn" cats disappeared sadly, but then I counted and realized they were 8-12 years old! The one excellent mouser was hit by a car this year out on the county road no idea why she was so far from home. . Then I found eaten chickens and one night last week, dogs chased a stray up a tree...I set live trap out and next morning had an insanely wild feral cat that we'd never seen. Relocated to a friend's house, set trap and caught a different cat that was trying to attack is through the trap ( I always fear I'll catch a neighbor's friendly cats, but these were wild males). Relocated him to friends also and caught a third different male! No more dead chickens or guineas thankfully!!
I don't have any cats right now, but we always fed our barn/ outdoor cats and it seemed to make no difference in the desire to hunt mice.
Julie wife, mom to 3 wonderful ( now adult) kids :-)
7 Angus/ Hereford cross heifers 1 Angus heifer Jersey steer --Willie RIP-- Rose-Jersey RIP-- Abby - Jersey Rosie-- Jersey past family cow Lily -- Angus / Jersey past family cow 2 appaloosas- Candy, Sierra 1 quarter horse - Salem 2 dogs-- Mia, Sadie a herd of 30 Boer goats 30 plus chickens
We have a total of 9 cats here. They are all fed and only one is obese.
Two brothers always live in the garage and are great hunters: rats, mice, and rabbits mostly. The other 7 are indoor/outdoor as they desire, but only two regularly go out during the winter. Two of them are brothers also and one is very driven to catch rats in the chicken coop (he doesn't even look at the chickens - cringes and turns his head away if one gets too close) and the other prefers to catch birds.
We have a lot of mice in the house and only traps work on them because they don't have to be out in the open very much, so the cats rarely catch one. The two younger females (spayed) catch mice and birds when they go outside. The obese cat is also old and used to be a hunter but no longer. One of our cats was likely hit by a car and can't track movement with her eyes. She's such a pleasure we don't even care if she hunts or not. The newest addition hasn't been tested out yet.
We will not use poison because we have had cats get very sick after eating dead poisoned rats. Supposedly "safe" poisons. I have to assume that they still had a quantity of poison in the gut that hadn't been processed. My favorite cat died a terrible death from it.
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