Possum - Chicken Predators - How To Protect Your Chickens From Possums

The possum is North America's only marsupial mammal.
By BYC Support · Jan 10, 2012 · Updated Jun 9, 2013 · ·
  1. BYC Support

    General Information & Description

    The possum is North America's only marsupial mammal. (The female has a marsupium in which she carries and nurses her young until they are 2-3 months old.) Mature possums are roughly the same size as a cat, has grey to black fur, black eyes, pink noses, feet and tails, black ears and pointed noses. Possums are usually slow moving, nocturnal animals. Gentle and placid animals who prefer a quiet solitary life, they may growl, hiss and bare their teeth when threatened and will sometimes, when frightened and unable to flee, fall into a shock-like state, known as "playing possum".


    Though indigenous to Australia, Sulawesi, and New Guinea, possums are also found in eastern, central and west coast states of North America, as well as some parts of Canada. They are absent from the Rockies, most western plains states and parts of the northern US.

    Methods of Kill

    Possums as Chicken Killers can be a problem for flock owners as they prefer hunting at night and may never be seen during the day. Hens often do not survive a possum attack. The possum's razor sharp claws have been known to lacerate their necks and bowels—leaving them to bleed to death. When possums gain access to chicken coops, they will eat the chickens and the eggs and they also like attacking and eating chicks.

    Prevention & Treatment

    Possums are attracted by pet food, windfalls from fruit trees, rubbish bins, bird feeders and chicken coops. Make your property unattractive by keeping rubbish bins shut and secure, taking pet food bowls in at night and regularly pick up windfalls under fruit trees. Possums are very easily deterred by light and noise. Christmas lights have proven to be particularly effective in keeping them away. During the day, leaving a radio playing near the chicken run will also help deter them. Another very effective way of keeping them away from your chicken is by placing empty tins with ammonia soaked rags inside around the perimeter of your coop and run. Punch holes in the tins and keep the tops sealed. Possums are very good climbers, but can be prevented from climbing over wire mesh fences by installing a tightly stretched electric fence wire near the top of the fence 3 inches out from the mesh. Humane, live traps would help if you have an existing possum problem. If you caught a possum in your trap, contact your local game warden or animal control office for assistance. Please note it is illegal in many states to relocate possums.

    For more information on possums and how to deter them see the Predators and Pests section of the forum.

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    sassysarah123 likes this.

Recent User Reviews

  1. Haydog03
    "Good information!"
    4/5, 4 out of 5, reviewed Nov 13, 2018
    We’ve had opossums, and we just rattle the door and they disappear. We put up a motion detector light, and we’ve not seen one since!
  2. ronott1
    "Good Article"
    4/5, 4 out of 5, reviewed Aug 7, 2018
    Helpful article about protecting poultry from possum attacks
  3. mrs_organized_chaos
    "Good general info"
    4/5, 4 out of 5, reviewed Jul 26, 2018


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  1. sassysarah
    A Opossum killed every bird I had except one died before we ever had that problem.. This is helpful! I might go away for a couples of nights in a few weeks.. I guess I'll try keeping a radio near the coop.. Do u think that will work?
  2. lilapot
    Let me add to what I said. 63 chickens died in the end.
  3. lilapot
    We saw a possum try to kill our chicken, but scared it away just in time. Friend of ours had possums frequently coming in to their coop and killing chickens. More then once their dog woke them up and they caught a glimpse of it dragging a chicken away. Once, the possum brought her whole family and 3 chickens died.
  4. Luke 13V34
    Pretty sure an opossum took a few last night. The dog caught him this afternoon, and I smashed it's head in with a rock. Does anyone know if they leave any parts of the bodies or consume the whole thing? I followed the feather trails and only found piles of feathers...
  5. BigHope888
    Possums are present in Macomb County, MI. One surprised us on New Years Eve a couple years ago-it dug through and made its way into our old house which has dirt floors in the basement! Watch out for the crafty little buggers.
  6. Ann1948
    I live in Virginia in a valley near the river where there are many animals. My neighbors failed to close the door to their coop one night. They heard a terrible noise, went out, found a possum curled up with the hens. Their rooster was fighting to protect the hens and in return the possum bite his backend several times and he lost his tail feathers. They killed the possum. Recently another woke them trying to get in the coop.
  7. gotthefever
    I concur! However. I am wondering...after much research and of course I may be mistaken... Has anyone seen a possum kill a chicken...perchance with a game cam?

    I know people find the tell tale eating pattern, however, possums are generally not "attackers" of larger live prey.

    They are, however, known to eat carrion. I wonder...

    If a fox or coon or weasel has been through, and done the killing...an opposum comes behind and does the eating....they get the rap.

    From everything I have read, they are all about an easy meal, if chickens are locked up properly there should not be an issue with this, "predator".

  8. Bonniestar
    This is the most misunderstood animal of all time and yes they will kill your chickens and eat the eggs but they are following their instincts. Examine the flaws of your coop and fix the problem and the opossums will go away ~ they may hiss at you when caught but they are a very peaceful animal. Calling a game warden will most likely end in death and that is so unnecessary.

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