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Possums: What do they do to chickens?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

Found a possum in our garage tonight.  Or should I say, our dog, Fluffy, found a possum in our garage tonight.  She told me upon arriving home after church that we had an intruder in the garage.
Not good.  She was chasing something all over the garage and it was growling at her.  I thought what in the world is that.  First I thought maybe it was our cat hiding and Fluffy was scaring her but Fluffy was acting different.
I was not about to enter that garage.  Screamed at the husband (he was putting the goat up in the barn) to come.  He walked in there.  I was near the car ready to get in it if need be with our daughter right beside me.  Neither of us wanted to encounter whatever it was that was growling at our dog.
A possum was trapped inside the garage and we had to go through the garage to get to the door to get in the house.  Once in the house I did not want to go back out and take care of this intruder.  Well, my husband got it out of there. 
Well, it is gone.

Now, my thoughts turn to my chickens.  All chicken coops appear to be fine at first glance at night and the chickens appear to be fine.

How do they invade chicken coops? 
What is their form of entry? 
What do they do to chickens? 
Do they eat eggs? 
Do they come out during the day? 
Does one mean there is most likely more?

Help!!!!  Input please!!!

1 hen, 1 chick and 1 roo happily living with 2 dogs, 1 cat, 1 goat, 2 horse and 100 + chickens.  Never a dull day on the farm!

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1 hen, 1 chick and 1 roo happily living with 2 dogs, 1 cat, 1 goat, 2 horse and 100 + chickens.  Never a dull day on the farm!

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post #2 of 14

Yuck.  Possums are nasty! 

Yes, they will attempt to dig under fences to get into coops, I've heard they will climb over as well, but I've only had them try to dig under, or simply reach through fencing.  They don't care about the eggs, they will eat the chickens themselves.  Skunks will eat eggs. It would be a rare sight to see them during the day.  I would bait a trap with a can of cat food and see if you catch any, where there is one there are more.  Good luck!!

post #3 of 14

They massacre chickens! It's horrible. Be careful cause they will dig climb and squeeze. Once they get a hold of a chicken they destroy it ripping it apart.

I have 2 pekin ducks, Amy & Stella, a buff drake.named Humphrey,An EE named Poptart II, a BO named Honey, and an RIR named Cinna! I had a rooster but he got a new home, i miss you Ginger!!!!!!!Join UPC today! http://www.upc-online.org
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I have 2 pekin ducks, Amy & Stella, a buff drake.named Humphrey,An EE named Poptart II, a BO named Honey, and an RIR named Cinna! I had a rooster but he got a new home, i miss you Ginger!!!!!!!Join UPC today! http://www.upc-online.org
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post #4 of 14

:droolcook the possum there are some good recipes on google.

Burn down your cities and leave our farms, and your cities will spring up again as if by magic; but destroy our farms and the grass will grow in the streets of every city in the country.

- William Jennings Bryan
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Burn down your cities and leave our farms, and your cities will spring up again as if by magic; but destroy our farms and the grass will grow in the streets of every city in the country.

- William Jennings Bryan
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post #5 of 14

That's all different. The only way I've had possum kill is through the rear. Not a feather was out of place except on the rear end. That was all gone.

post #6 of 14

Possums can climb or dig.  They can squeeze through small holes.  You'd be surprised how small.  They are normally night animals, but they can come out during the day.  It does not mean they have rabies or are sick when they come out during the day, it just means they have a reason to be out.  Hunting for a territory, looking for a mate, or maybe they are just hungry.  But a vast majority of the time, they are out after dark and try to be home before daylight. 

They will eat eggs just like practically any other preditor.  There is a lot of real rich nutrients in eggs.  The hen concentrates nutrients in there so the chick can grow and develop.  Why would any predator refuse such a great nutrient source?  They will also kill and eat chickens of all sizes.  Normally they start eating at the vent area, but not all predators read the book.  Just like human beings and chickens, each possum is an individual.  There may be normal ways they do things, but not every one does things the exact same way.

If you have one, there are more in the general area.  Possums are territorial.  By this, I mean that they always hunt the same area, not that they will fight and kill any other possum they see in their territory.  They get to know which other possums belong and will kill intruding possums, but they will tolerate their friends, except maybe other males during breeding season. 

Just because you see one does not mean several are hunting your garbage, chicken coop, garage, or garden for food.  It means that at least one is.  If you remove one that is hunting your property, you may not have any more for a while or you may have several others that are already hunting that territory.  But even if you only have one, the odds are real good that another will move in the open territory, especially when Mama weans a new brood and they have to go search for new territory.

They have needle sharp teeth and can be vicious.  A lot of the time, when attacked they curl into a ball and play dead.  Sometimes you can see their eyes watching you when they do that after a few minutes, but not always.  I had one that the dog would pick up and carry around, but when she dropped it and left the area, the possum would start to sneak away.

One night just after dark when I went to lock the coop, I found one in the coop.  It had come in through the pop door but I got it before it did any damage.  That's exactly why I always look in the coop real well before I lock the pop door.  You never  know what you might be locking in with your chickens.

Good luck with it.  Having one around does not guarantee you will have a problem but be sure to safely lock them up at night.  They are a threat.  Something like a drunk driver.  It's not guaranteed they will have a wreck, but I don't like the odds.

Freedom is not the right to do what we want, but what we ought....Abraham Lincoln (Freedom carries responsibility)

The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right.....Judge Learned Hand  (The more sure your are that your way is the only right way, the more likely you are wrong.)

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

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Freedom is not the right to do what we want, but what we ought....Abraham Lincoln (Freedom carries responsibility)

The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right.....Judge Learned Hand  (The more sure your are that your way is the only right way, the more likely you are wrong.)

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

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post #7 of 14

They are vicious and will kill chickens.  I had one get in and kill a hen a few weeks ago.  I used cat food in the trap and caught one big, nasty possum and a skunk.  I also ending up catching every cat in the neighborhood at least once, so I switched to grape jelly sandwiches and caught another possum.  I also use marshmallows because I hear raccoons like them.  So far, no raccoons in the trap, but I keep the traps set all the time now because you never know what's out there at night trying to get into your coop.


Lisa

post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all the input.
We have not encountered any more possums that we know of.  All chickens are safe and sound in their homes.
The garage where the possum was is on the opposite side of the property from the chickens.  The chicken, horse, dog and cat feed are in the garage in metal or plastic containers.  We had chickens in the garage the 1st 6 months of this year.  Maybe they smelled them from then?  Not sure.
Thought for several days after that I heard baby possums in the garage but never could determine where they were (hay, vehicles, just stuff that could not look under).  There home could be in there. 
Do they eat mice?  We have mice for sure in the garage.

Was told that critters won't come around when there a bright light around the chicken coops.  Does anyone know if that is true?  If yes, that may be why we have not had any real issues with our chickens since all the coops are lined up underneath the bright Electric Light Pole that shines right in my bedroom window.  That just happens to be where there is room for them to be.

1 hen, 1 chick and 1 roo happily living with 2 dogs, 1 cat, 1 goat, 2 horse and 100 + chickens.  Never a dull day on the farm!

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1 hen, 1 chick and 1 roo happily living with 2 dogs, 1 cat, 1 goat, 2 horse and 100 + chickens.  Never a dull day on the farm!

Reply
post #9 of 14

We had a very (verrrrrry) bad case of Possums 2 weeks ago. We found a small family living in our basement they crawled in through a window that was not properly closed off..we trapped 13 of them in 2 days...it was insane. 1 big one, 12 babies!!! I never have seen them in the day time because they are nocturnal unless they have rabies and come out during the day. They will definitely try to hurt your chickies so you need to try and trap them and get them out of there..usually where there is one..there is more (Trust me) LOL smile

post #10 of 14

I watched a small one go right through a chain link dog run panel & the wire wasn't bent or anything, that's how small they can squeeze through. I lost 4 guineas to them when they got in the run I had them in & ate them. They took all but one out of the pen with them, but the one they left was gutted.

I raise Ameraucanas in lavender & wheaten, Swedish Flower Hens, Crested Cream Legbars, Barnevelders, Lavender & Buff Orpingtons, Heritage Barred Rocks, Heritage RIRs, New Hampshire Reds & will have Partridge, Jubilee, & Mottled Orpingtons in 2015. I also have several colors of Guineas & Ancona Ducks. I have a Yorkie, a Mal-Shi, two GPs, Katahdin sheep, Boer goats & lots of cats.
Teresa
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I raise Ameraucanas in lavender & wheaten, Swedish Flower Hens, Crested Cream Legbars, Barnevelders, Lavender & Buff Orpingtons, Heritage Barred Rocks, Heritage RIRs, New Hampshire Reds & will have Partridge, Jubilee, & Mottled Orpingtons in 2015. I also have several colors of Guineas & Ancona Ducks. I have a Yorkie, a Mal-Shi, two GPs, Katahdin sheep, Boer goats & lots of cats.
Teresa
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