Are Opossums really a problem?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by allanimals21, Mar 15, 2011.

  1. allanimals21

    allanimals21 Songster

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    Recently we've seen quite a few opossums. I don't have a problem with them but the inlaws are freaking out about how bad they are. That they will kill my chickens and kill my cats. Everytime I've seen them out here they are just chilling out. Mingling with the birds and cats. What are the real issues? Facts?
     
  2. ARose4Heaven

    ARose4Heaven Songster

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    Opposums are vermin. They will pull a chicken through a small hole and devour whatever they can access. That is experience talking. They are also nocturnal. Chickens are nearly comatose at night, and don't even know a predator is there until half their body is gone.

    If you coop is thoroughly skirted with hardware cloth, and securely closed, you are reasonably safe.
     
  3. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Crossing the Road

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    Yes they are a problem. If they can get into your coop, not only will they eat the chickens, they will eat eggs and your chicken feed. I don't know about you, but I think feed is too expensive to feed to those things.
     
  4. allanimals21

    allanimals21 Songster

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    Quote:all of the birds are secured well. No worries getting into the hen house or the dog kennels. Everytime Ive seen them has been during the day. They are eating chicken feed or diggin through my hay. The one that was shot last week was at night but otherwise its usually day time. Only one of them has been afraid of me. Otherwise they just slowly go their own way.
     
  5. ranchhand

    ranchhand Rest in Peace 1956-2011

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    Yes, they are a threat. I had to shoot one last year, as he very methodically pulled my hens, one by one, off the roost bar - in the middle of the night. He climbed in through a small gap at the top. The rake I tried to use to get him out didn't deter him, so I shot him. Didn't want to, I did Wildlife Rescue for years. But he wounded a bunch of my hens.
     
  6. ARose4Heaven

    ARose4Heaven Songster

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    Yup, that's the nature of the critter. Opposoms look harmless in the day, but at night are sneaky and viscious. Like was said above, they eat chicken and chicken feed. Keep the feed up off the ground, in a hanging feeder to reduce their access. Once they figure out that there is nothing to be eaten at your place, they usually move on. But it takes a while, so keep things on the lockdown.
     
  7. allanimals21

    allanimals21 Songster

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    well in the last month I'd say we've seen 4-5 different ones. 2 of which were shot. I've named one of them Petey. LOL I'm all for them being dealt with if they are going to be a problem but as of not they havent done anything other than eat some feed from my free rangers. Just wanted to know what they were capable of.
     
  8. lleighmay

    lleighmay Songster

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    If your coop/pen are secure and you lock up your birds at night possums are a minimal threat at best. If a possum can get in you can rest assured that raccoons and others can too, and much more easily. As for the danger to cats- my local possums eat with my barn cats every evening. We all have our routines and coexist peacefully.
     
  9. allanimals21

    allanimals21 Songster

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    Quote:See thats kinda what I thought. Everything is on lockdown at night. Thats kinda my whole thought as long as they aren't causing problems they are safe.
     
  10. lleighmay

    lleighmay Songster

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    So far it's working for me. I live near the middle of nowhere among farms and woodlands and part of the reason I moved out here is because of the wildlife. We've got everything from weasels to black bears and cougars living nearby or passing through, including a healthy population of coyotes that average about 60 lbs in size. I love animals of all sorts and have rehabbed a variety of them (including possums) on occasion; I don't delude myself that wild animals are anything other than what they are- living creatures who are doing what they are naturally designed to do in order to live. They aren't pets, they aren't Disney animals, and they aren't evil entities who only exist to kill. The yard is fenced to keep my Jack Russells safe, the chicken run and separate pasture are fenced to keep the chickens safe (including from the dogs), and the garden I'm putting in this spring will be fenced to protect it from the chickens, dogs, and wildlife. The chickens are secured in the coop at night and I don't let my dogs out at night for bathroom breaks without close supervision in case something (especially coyotes) has come inside the fence. I figure I have done everything possible to make a safe place for my pets while allowing the local wildlife to go about their business. If something should befall one of my pets it will be my fault, not that of an animal that was acting naturally. I don't fault others for taking what actions they feel they need to and I know there are those that disagree with my methods but I say to each his own.
     

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