Close Call

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Mr BrahmaRama, Jan 18, 2017.

  1. Mr BrahmaRama

    Mr BrahmaRama Chirping

    May 11, 2015
    Dubuque, Iowa
    My Coop
    About 6:30pm this evening I heard my hens making a ruckus in their coop. They had all gone in for the night but I had yet to shut the door leading out into their run. I put on my boots and made my way up to the coop. On the way there I heard a lot of movement in the coop and distress calls. I open the coop and saw my hens in one corner and in the other, a possum.

    I used a rack to "encourage" the possum to exit, then entered the run to deal with it. I pinned it to the ground with a rake, then called the house with my cell phone. I had my son bring a pet carrier and "encouraged" the possum to get in. I didn't have the heart to put the thing down, although had it gotten a hold of one of my hens, things might have been different. Drove the **** thing across the Mississippi to a wooded area and let it go.

    No deaths or injuries this time, but the lesson was learned. Might be time to invest in a auto door for the coop.
  2. ChickenGoesRuff

    ChickenGoesRuff Songster

    Jan 8, 2015
    I know how you feel about the predator issue. We had a coon get a couple cockerels and a hen over the course a week, and he was "encouraged" to drink some soda left outside with some fly bait. Thank goodness you heard the chickens and didn't have any casualties.
  3. Oh my! That certainly was a close call! Glad everyone is ok...hopefully the possum doesn't return [​IMG]
  4. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

    Aug 26, 2009
    Out to pasture
    what a relief
  5. Mr BrahmaRama

    Mr BrahmaRama Chirping

    May 11, 2015
    Dubuque, Iowa
    My Coop
    My feeders were knocked over this morning. Looks like I've got more than one of the varmints around. Will have to take the feeders in at the end of the day from now on.
  6. Folly's place

    Folly's place Free Ranging

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    Please don't relocate varmits; it's cruel to the critter, and likely illegal where you live. Not a good idea! Mary
  7. Most animals are tied to specific locations. Even the Burmese Pythons of South Florida can home into a former home range over 125 miles away. Your possum will likely "Be Back".
  8. Howard E

    Howard E Songster

    Feb 18, 2016
    My attitude towards varmints is that I have no use for a dead one, so I try to do everything possible to avoid having to accumulate any. Pretty careful about opening and closing the coop around times when I know I will be around to keep an eye on things. If I know I'll be home well after dark, I never open the door in the first place. They stay in that day. In the coop, they are pretty much safe from all harm. Even when out, there is a safe zone perimeter protected by a combination of chain link and electric fences. I won't say a predator will never get lucky and score a bird, but so far, none have. And there are all manner of them out there. Hopefully, all those lurking in my neighborhood have been trained to accept futility and don't even try.

    Having said that, if a varmint ever does find a way to get inside all these elaborate defenses, they pose a risk that can't be ignored. That one is going to perish and be fed to the buzzards. A smart one is too smart for it's own good, so it gets taken out of the gene pool. Not relocated, but taken out.
    1 person likes this.
  9. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    I really like Howard’s post in all respects.

    As you have seen, getting rid of one predator does not solve the problem. Several times I’ve set my live trap and caught critters on successive nights. A couple of times I saw what I was sure was evidence of a raccoon but found a possum in the trap the next morning. When I reset it, I had another possum the following morning. The third night I got the raccoon. The moral of this story is that removing one from the gene pool does not solve the problem. If there is one, there are more. Even if you remove every one currently hunting your area, others are being born and sent out to find their own territory when Mama weans them. Permanently removing one is at best a temporary solution.

    As a side note, I’ve also had raccoons and once a possum enter my trap in the middle of the day. The raccoons did not surprise me but I’ll admit the possum did. Your biggest risk is at night for many different reasons, but practically all predators can be a risk at any time of the day or night.

    I’m all in favor of permanently removing any predators that are actively hunting my area, but your best defenses are passive. You need barriers that will keep critters out. Those barriers can be fences or they may involve electricity. Your management techniques can play a big part. We are all unique in many aspects, I can’t tell you what’s the best solution for you. I wish you luck in figuring it out.
  10. Mr BrahmaRama

    Mr BrahmaRama Chirping

    May 11, 2015
    Dubuque, Iowa
    My Coop
    Of course the best solution is to button down the coop and and run so tight that the varmints can't get in. I will be adding wire fencing over the top of my run once the weather warms up and the ground dries out. I am more than willing to share my outdoor space with wildlife, as long as it doesn't threaten my birds.

    As for the legality and morality of relocating a possum, I'm not losing sleep on either account. No doubt, it would require a permit to trap the critter, and I believe the trapped animal must also be put down, by law. In my book, failing to do so places this incident in the same file as, speeding, installing a water heater without permit, jaywalking, or countless other laws we occasionally find ourselves on the wrong side of, either out of necessity or oversight. Sometimes things happen, if we are caught, we face the consequences.

    As for the morality. With or without the proper permit the end result for the possum is death. For good or ill, I decided on exile. The Humane Society agrees with you; relocating animals, especially in the winter months is often a death sentence for the animal. However, in the case of a possum, when the alternative is death anyway, they have this to say:

    Quote: Again, I made the classic mistake of underestimating a hungry animal's determination to find food. I believed high fences were as good as total enclosure. My mistake, and one I'll fix in the spring. Until then, I answer self-righteousness in kind and go to bed with a clean conscious.

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