Do I HAVE TO get rid of opossums?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Supernatural, Dec 24, 2010.

  1. Supernatural

    Supernatural Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 7, 2010
    Des Moines
    We have several opossums that hang around our yard at night (in a sort-of town). They're mostly scrounging my compost pile, along with a few raccoons here and there.

    My chickens go in promptly at dusk, and I watch for the last one to go in so I can close them up right away. The coop is secure, with a heavy access door that I doubt any small animal could lift; the only way to the access door is through the run which is chickenwire and 2x4, buried 6 inches all around. Rats do occasionally get in (through the chickenwire, I guess?), but there has only ever been evidence of tampering/digging right around the People Door into the run, which we promptly remedied with more chickenwire. In other words, I am pretty confident with their security so long as they are inside the coop.

    Must I get rid of the opossums? Is there some threat I am overlooking?
  2. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

    Aug 26, 2009
    Out to pasture
    chickenwire is in NO way predator proof. If keeps only chickens in and nothing else out. Maybe the raccoons and opossum are fascinated with your compost pile for now but, when they are really hungry chicken will be on their menu.
  3. artsyrobin

    artsyrobin Artful Wings

    Mar 1, 2009
    Muskogee OK
    I am wondering the same thing- if mine are locked up, a metal shed raised on cement posts- as we have racoons here also
  4. Sonoran Silkies

    Sonoran Silkies Flock Mistress

    Jan 4, 2009
    Tempe, Arizona
    Raccoons are a much bigger threat, but folks have lost birds to opposum.
  5. dsqard

    dsqard Crazy "L" Farms

    Jun 11, 2010
    York PA
    I know many people have had chickens killed by raccoons reaching through chicken wire and grabbing what ever part of the chicken they can reach. If you don't want to get rid of the predators, I would suggest hardware cloth.
  6. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2008
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Quote:Almost sounds like a disaster waiting to eventually happen. I'd get rid of the possums/coons/rats.
  7. tiffanyh

    tiffanyh Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 8, 2007
    On the opposite end, we have opossums, raccoon and skunks in our yards on a regular basis for years. I actually had a opossum go to bed with my chickens twice early on before I realized how many of them were hanging around- literally. We have a skunk that comes around every spring and a possum that has a litter under our deck. We have never lost a chicken to any of them in 7 years.

    I close my chickens up to protect them from predators at night in a predator proof coop carefully designed with this in mind. Everyone is right about chicken wire but overall I am of the belief that it is my job as my chickens guardian to keep them safe from predators in their habitat, not kill every small predator within a 5 mile radius as a protection strategy.

    Others have different opinions and approaches, this is just mine.
  8. lleighmay

    lleighmay Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 21, 2008
    Woodlawn, VA
    I'm with Tiffanyh. There is a variety of wildlife living on and around my property (opossums, coons, foxes, skunks, coyotes, etc) and I leave them alone. The possums actually eat with the barn cats. I lock my birds up each night and turn them out into a chain-link run and or adjoining 2x4 wire-fenced field daily. It's my responsibility to keep them safe and I choose to do that by taking precautions on my end, not wiping out the local wildlife (which are part of the reason I live where I do). I would replace or augment the chicken wire with 2x4 wire or hardware cloth if that is all that's keeping creatures from gaining access into your coop.
  9. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    I've only lost one bird to a predator (by the grace of God). A possum killed and partially gutted a freedom ranger a day after I moved them to the field pen. This showed me the vulnerability of my design which I corrected. I've had hawks be within inches of my birds and I caught the neighbors cat drooling at the pen looking for an access point.
    Eventually the possums and coons will get a taste for fresh chicken or eggs.
    If you get rid of the possums, new predators will move in to take their place. On the predator list we have possums, coons, fox, coyotes, snakes, hawks, owls, cats and dogs. I usually have 3 groups of birds in 3 bldg and pen areas - hens, meat birds and babies.
    I vote for predator proof facilities. Lock up at night enjoy the wildlife and encourage people to keep housecats in the house. The cats, hawks and snakes are the only ones that hunt during the light of day - sometimes fox and coyotes.
    Cats, Opossum, Raccoon and Coyote are the only animals on the list whose range and numbers continually grow.
    Intricate latching systems may be necessary for coons.
  10. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2008
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Please keep in mind that predators can possibly carry diseases, parasites and other unknowns.

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