Want backyard chickens but don’t know how well they’d get along with your cat? Last week, Redditor Virnovus posted these pictures of what appears to be a very confused hen keeping a litter of kitten warm on his family’s farm.
He explains in the thread:
“For anyone curious as to what's going on here, the cat decided to have her kittens in the chicken's nest for some reason. When the chicken returned, she decided the kittens were hers, so she wouldn't let the mother cat anywhere near them.”
Eventually the hen allowed the cat dual custody the kittens, but, as you can see from this picture, still couldn’t shake her motherly instinct.
“We had to take the chicken away from the kittens, and she went nuts. We locked her up for a little while, and the mother cat hid her kittens behind a hay bale where the chicken couldn't find them. Eventually the chicken had three chicks of her own, and presumably forgot about the kittens. All four kittens are alive and healthy and scampering about the farm, and seem to have adjusted just fine.”
We know baby chicks can imprint on a “mother” from a different species, but I didn’t know the reverse also occurred. Maybe this hen is just the chicken equivalent of the crazy cat lady.
Being a city slicker, I was unaware of the fact that cats and hens could coexist on a farm. Virnovus explains in the thread that the farm’s cats generally leave the chickens alone as they’re relatively the same size, and prefer to hunt smaller, easier prey. Dogs, on the other hand, don’t have such a live and let live relationship with the chickens on the farm.
Are you a crazy cat lady and a crazy chicken lady? What's your experience like?