I saw a possum trying to get into the coop

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by alwayswantedchicks, Jan 19, 2010.

  1. alwayswantedchicks

    alwayswantedchicks Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 25, 2009
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    Yesterday evening, I didn't go down to the coop until about 7:30. I have lights on inside the coop and also outside of the coop on a timer to come on well before dark and go off a couple hours after dark. I've watched the hens and the guineas hang out inside the pen and coop with the lights, eating, drinking. I have 19 laying hens, no roos, and 15 young adult guineas. The guineas usually go into the coop first in the evening. The girls sometimes like to hang out in the yard until after dark with the lights. Last evening about 8 of the guineas were still outside raisin cain. I figured they would come on in the coop in a few minutes. When I walked around the back of the coop to count everybody and check things while locking up I surprised a possum. It wasn't a real big one. When it saw me it took off I'm sure back down into the woods. After that the guineas came on into the coop, still very vocal.

    Since the nights are so long I just have hated them having to be locked into the house so much. Their house is 4' x 24' and going to make it bigger this spring, so they have plenty of room and during the winter I have a heated waterer and food for them inside. Their coop is built 2' off the ground for predator protection and they have a fully wired pen area at the coop about 30x50, but I let them free range most all the time. Free range for us means they have double fencing around about 1+ acre - general cattle fencing and then 5 electric strands about a foot outside of that. They also have generous access to the front yard which is chain linked and when we're outside we open the gates and they go just a bit into the wooded area-loving those ticks.

    We have 2 golden retrievers that think the birds are their babies and are very protective of them. Therefore predators, even the Coopers Hawk which we see and hear, hasn't been a problem. Yesterday was the first day in over a month that we could see earth except in paths due to the heavy snowfall. My birds had a good day yesterday, happy to scratch around the leaves and pull at some grass. Pretty much around here the birds rule the place. We originally got them to eliminate the ticks-which they have done very well (after one of our dogs, the neighbor's dog, and the other next door neighbor's daughter got Lymes).

    But back on topic - (I wander) Should I go get a trap as surely based on the posts I've been reading the possum will come back to feed, or should we sit and wait with a gun?
    I know, I know, that I have to lock everybody up. I am very guarded with them but they are our tick pickers, so ticks will invade again if I keep them penned long term. I'm figuring the weather has had something to do with this and the possum is looking for easy meals. Usually I'm right out there with the birds at dusk until everybody is inside and accounted for, and locked in. However, on days when I'm 'on the road' at dusk, -like surely tomorrow we own our own business - , their house won't be locked until well after dusk, at least until the longer days of springtime. I'm figuring I need to try to catch this critter today-this evening and try to get home asap tomorrow. Then tomorros I can get my daughter to let the dogs be outside before dusk until we get home and maybe that will help. Especially the younger dog. She's only a 20 months old-didn't get the Lymes. (Our golden's are service dogs for our daughter-however our old guy is officially retired from going into public places, due to the Lymes)

    Good grief I'm rattling here. [​IMG] Just want to keep my 'family' intact and well.

    I know that even if I manage to trap the possum this evening, it may have relatives and friends close by. I've seen possums on the mountainside in the daytime too when coming up the road to the house but aren't they primarily nocturnal animals? I'll continue to be worried. We just love our birds. Ok I love the guineas better than DH but they are growing on him. I love how there are one or two guineas who go high and watch over the flock while everybody else chows down. How do they choose who takes watch duty anyway? As always, I know I can count on input from you guys. You're the best![​IMG]
     
  2. SillyChicken

    SillyChicken Overrun With Chickens

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    I'd recommend shooting the possum if you see it again.
     
  3. PhilErvin

    PhilErvin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    BY ALL MEANS CATCH the OPOSSUM ! I catch them all the time. My dog lets me know when he's treed one (On the fence) and I simply walk out with a cord through a piece of pipe and slip the noose over the head. They hold real still for you because they think you won't see them as long as they don't move. I guess that defense technic works if they are in the bushes but sittin on top of a fence with a dog barking and trying to grab them is not a good time to freeze. But they do. I don't want to deal with killing them so we take them out into an area frequented by coyotes and we let them go. I have not found one trying to get in with my girls but if I do I will probably kill it with me shalelee. [​IMG]
     
  4. alwayswantedchicks

    alwayswantedchicks Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 25, 2009
    SW VA
    [​IMG]
    Ok, thank you for the input. I think I just needed a little push. I'm leaving right now to go to Tractor Supply for a trap. The hard part for us will be the killing part. We're not into hunting as you can probably tell. Only gun that works around here is the 45. Isn't that a bit big for this? Might stop on the way to town at the gun shop a mile from the house and see if the 22 is worth fixin. You know I think there might be a bb gun in the cabinet that the kids played with years ago. Would that do it or would that just be slow and cruel. DH wants to know how you kill the possum once you noose it.
     
  5. HLAC

    HLAC Chillin' With My Peeps

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    'Possums have really tiny brains surrounded by a lot of dense muscle. A bb gun would have a tough time killing one. (unless you really have a high power airgun and not the typical 'bb gun' I'm thinking of)

    A .22 is much better and even then, it's often a good idea to double tap them in the head in case the first shot doesn't catch enough gray matter.
     
  6. alwayswantedchicks

    alwayswantedchicks Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 25, 2009
    SW VA
    Now I feel really stupid. DH also got a good laugh out of that one. He said that ol BB gun wouldn't do anything but piss something off like a b sting at best. [​IMG]
    I went to TS and they have traps on sale, 2 traps - one is smaller - for $25. I remember paying $40 for one we loaned out about 5 years ago. Didn't get it back.
    But I think that one was probably a little better, maybe. It was a havahart trap. Anyway, both traps are set up, just in case but so far nothing has been caught. Our birds are tucked in for tonight safely. Hopefully something will be there in the morning. Thanks. I'll let ya know if and what we catch. Hope we don't catch our cat or a neighbor's cat:cd
     
  7. NarutoTn

    NarutoTn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    a good tool..........................................................G.U.N!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
     
  8. alwayswantedchicks

    alwayswantedchicks Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 25, 2009
    SW VA
    OMG I wish my son was still living. He was really good at this kinda stuff. Bless his heart.
     
  9. buckeyefarm

    buckeyefarm New Egg

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    Dec 17, 2009
    Really weird... I surprised a possum doing the same thing 2 nights ago. By the time I got my gun, he was gone.

    He was quite a big one, so I assume he's figured out how to get into a few chicken coops.
     
  10. alwayswantedchicks

    alwayswantedchicks Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 25, 2009
    SW VA
    Deep breath. Ok, sorry bout that last post. little panic there for a minute.
    another deep breath. I CAN do this.
     

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