Any tips for getting rid of possums?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Chicks Galore3, Feb 14, 2017.

  1. Chicks Galore3

    Chicks Galore3 Artistic Bird Nut

    8,138
    144
    316
    Dec 16, 2011
    Iowa
    Long story short, back in November I found a possum in the coop eating the eggs, and another in the duck run, both of which we shot. (And reinforced everything so (hopefully) nothing more can get in.) Since then, we've had at least four more around the chicken and duck coops. (All have been shot.) We hadn't seen one in several weeks, so I thought we had got everything in control. Lo and behold, we drive in the driveway last night after dark and THREE possums were under the bird feeders. [​IMG] By the time I got the gun, they had all scattered. We set the live trap, but we didn't catch anything. (I figured we wouldn't.)
    Do you think we need to catch/shoot these possums? I would feel better if they were gone, even though I know there is always going to be something living in our grove. Nine possums seems kind of like a infestation to me. (But then again, I have always hated possums.)
    I guess I'm not sure at what point do I live and let live and when do I draw the line to protect my flock? I have seen tracks around the coops, which makes me nervous. If you think I should eliminate them, any tips? I'm planning on trapping and shooting, or shooting on sight if need be.
     
  2. SunHwaKwon

    SunHwaKwon Overrun With Chickens

    4,541
    1,062
    306
    Jul 19, 2015
    Eastern Shore, MD
    From what I understand, despite their sinister looks, oposums are okay to have hanging around. You just want to make sure they can't get into your coops and not worry otherwise. Yes, they can be possible rabies hosts; if you are interested, you can check your health departments web site and see what the number of rabid opossums found in your area usually is. It does sound like you have a lot coming around, so find out why (cat food, garbage, etc). Something is attracting them.

    ETA I just reread it and it seems your bird feeders are the problem.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2017
    1 person likes this.
  3. Zoomie

    Zoomie Chillin' With My Peeps

    734
    540
    186
    Dec 6, 2015
    Mora, NM USA
    I agree with @SunHwaKwon in that I think your bird feeders are attracting possums to your area.

    Now, you are NEVER going to be able to shoot all the possums in the world. You would go broke buying the ammunition to even try. What you have got to do is make sure they can not get into your coops and runs, and it sounds like you have dealt with this already. The plain truth is there are possums, and raccoons and skunks and foxes and coyotes and hawks and owls and dogs and cats and... you get the idea. You cannot shoot your way out of that issue. You do what you can do to make your coops and runs secure. You keep that up and you do your best.

    If you truly hate opossums and don't want them around I'm afraid you are going to have to remove everything that would attract them, such as for example bird feeders. Also, leaving out cat food or dog food, having your trash out where they can smell it and so on. If there is no food available at your place they will go somewhere else where they can find food. As simple as that.
     
  4. karenej

    karenej Out Of The Brooder

    56
    11
    46
    Oct 27, 2016
    Northcentral Alabama
    Shooting them works. [​IMG]
     
  5. Gray Farms

    Gray Farms Chillin' With My Peeps

    4,084
    1,490
    239
    Apr 11, 2016
    NW Missouri
    Trap and shoot. More power to ya, I hate em to.
     
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    20,652
    4,169
    526
    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Just for fun I looked up reported rabies in Iowa. In the 11 years shown in this chart there were 5 horses, 29 cows, 16 dogs, and 0 possums reported. That doesn’t mean there were no possums with rabies in Iowa, just that none were reported in those 11 years.

    https://idph.iowa.gov/Portals/1/userfiles/79/Reports/Misc/Rabies/2015 Annual Rabies Report.pdf

    You can trap or shoot the various critters hanging around your property if you wish. I put the traps out when I see evidence one is hanging around, especially skunks. I hate to run into a skunk at night. I’ve never been sprayed but that can be hard on an old man’s heart, having one show up just a few feet away. But the simple truth is that you will never get them all. You can thin out the ones hunting your area but new ones are being born all the time. The only true way to secure your chickens is with barriers.
     
  7. ChirpnBern

    ChirpnBern Chillin' With My Peeps

    117
    15
    90
    Nov 24, 2013
    You`re lucky you can just up and shoot the varmints whenever you need to. Too urban here. Possums are not a rabies vector species. Someone told me that years ago, and I was pestering her, "How do they know? Someone needs to find out why and if it can be used on other animals." She didn`t know, and the place she worked at (a wildlife rehab or something) didn`t either. Then a couple of years ago the Farmer`s Almanac had an article about possums that explained. Something to do with low body temperature, the rabies can`t live in them.
     
  8. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    20,652
    4,169
    526
    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    It took some digging but in 2014 there were 2 reported cases of possum having rabies in the entire US. I could not find which states, I’d guess a warm area because of that low body temperature thing. So it is possible, but not really a critter I’d worry about.

    Here in Arkansas the worst carriers are skunks. In other areas it’s different critters. I find it interesting to look at that kind of statistics, you hear so many rumors.
     
  9. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

    8,357
    3,177
    436
    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    The rabid possums were out east somewhere (forget where) so they can contract rabies, but it is uncommon. What the do have is a parasite in their poo that can kill horses; Sarcosystis neurona (and maybe another one) causing equine protozoal myelitis (EPM). Very nasty, very expensive to treat, ugly in every way. I shoot possums or raccoons that invade my barn, my dogs kill any in their yard, and my coop and run are very safe. Wildlife is wonderful, but not up close! To the OP; Stop feeding the wild birds for three or four weeks at least, and the coons and possums will move elsewhere for a while. They do love bird seed! Mary
     
  10. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    18,048
    2,791
    466
    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Reconfigure poultry setup and birds feeders as indicated above to reduce attractiveness of your property. I kill them from time to time as well, but you will sometimes find the number you must kill to get numbers down here you want is higher that you are likely to be proud of in the longer term. I kill about half dozen annually and that is kept relatively low by keeping uneaten feed from being left out overnight.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by