Might it be best then, instead of acquiring house cats, to talk to a rescue organization about acquiring some feral cats to live on the property? Rescues are often looking for people to take feral/semi feral cats. They'd be well suited to live outside and hunt things, and be happy with a shelter and food that did not involve much human contact.
The mother of these kittens is actually a semi-feral stray, so they're not exactly housecats - they were born and raised outside for awhile before being brought in. The female kitten is still quite wild, and the male is skittish, but they will warm up eventually I think.
I actually looked into feral/barn cat rescue, but there are none in my home state. And honestly, I wanted cats that like some
human contact - they are pets first and mousers second.
I don't think cats should live outside. It is far too dangerous, no matter where you live as far as I'm concerned.
Again, I appreciate your concerns, but these cats are
going to live outside. We simply can't (and aren't willing) to keep them indoors. They were adopted under the stipulation that they would be farm cats.
Are the cats currently indoor with people? It would be cruel to take them away from the life they've always know to "work" for you.
If these kittens weren't taken by me, they would have been headed to a kill shelter. And the "life they've always known" is only a few weeks long...I am sure they will adapt quickly.
If the pack of coyotes is actutually living on your property, these kittens' chances for surviving more than a few months are not good; again, an adult cat with experience of the dangers of the outdoors would have more of a chance.
I am actually not sure if they are living on the property - we just hear coyotes nearby at night, and we have heard their pups howling as well. Acoustics are funny though - they could be several miles away. And I am a "city girl"...my roommate (who has lived in the country his entire life) has assured me that my paranoia over the coyotes is unfounded. We keep strong blazing security lights going over the barn area and the house every night, and according to him, this will also ward off major predators.
It would definitely be a smarter plan to look into adopting a (semi) feral cat for your property.
This would be good, except a) I don't really want feral cats, b) there are no barn cat rescues in my area, and c) I have already adopted these two kittens and have no plans to rehome them. They're sleeping in my bathroom as we speak (just for tonight, until we have a chance tomorrow to double-check the barn for danger, set up an enclosure for them, etc...)
If you can lock the cats into the barn at night it would improve their chances with respect to the coyotes.
I am still strongly considering this as an option to protect them, at least until they are completely full grown and savvy, since a lot of their hunting will be conducted in the barn anyway, and I am hoping to train them to come back to the barn when I rattle their bag of kibble.