Opossum got my broody...=*(

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Sunny Side Up, Nov 16, 2008.

  1. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

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    Mar 12, 2008
    Loxahatchee, Florida
    Midway through every night either my bladder or Mister's snoring wakes me up. Last night while I was up I heard a noise from the chicken coops & went out to investigate. All the chickens in one coop were huddled out in the corner of their pen, and when I went in I saw the reason why-- in a corner nest box, where a bantam hen had been setting a clutch of 6 standard eggs, was a HUGE opossum! He was just curled up in there with his pointy teeth shining in the lantern-light. He hadn't even eaten all the eggs, but was sitting amongst them -- I imagined him like the cats in the cartoons, getting out his cookbook and looking at all the recipes for chick-filled eggs (balut anyone?)

    On the floor next to the nest box was the poor Mama hen, still warm, but dead with her neck broken. She didn't have any other marks on her, no bites, cuts, blood or missing feathers. The opossum seemed more interested in eating the eggs than the hen.

    I was able to contain him in the nest box, which is a plastic plant pot. I slipped a larger horse water bucket over it, and then dumped the opossum with the remaining eggs into a wire cage. I briefly considered grabbing the intact eggs to incubate, but knew it would be a stupid risk with all those sharp snarling opossum teeth right next to them. I have an old plastic truck tool box just larger than the wire cage, I filled it with water & dropped the cage in to drown the opossum. As a precaution, I had zip-tied all the edges of the wire cage door, but I don't think it could have gotten out of the truck box even if it had gotten out of the cage. But you never know when you're dealing with a 4-legged Houdini.

    Does anyone here know about opossum anatomy? Before I buried the carcass I checked to see if it was male or female. I really didn't want to pry too closely, but it seemed to have a pale 2-pronged penis? And 2 fuzzy round bumps in front of it? Definately weird. He had long fangs sticking out over his lower lip.

    This opossum passed by 3 Hav-a-Hart traps baited with old eggs. Now I have them baited with smelly canned cat food. Do you know of anything better to use to catch opossums? Fire ants are a problem here, they swarm over most baits, that's why I had been using old eggs. When I use cat food I have to set the cans in a bowl of soapy water to make a moat.

    Here's hoping for quiet, safe nights for all of our hens & chicks!
     
  2. HennyPennies2007

    HennyPennies2007 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 26, 2008
    Your poor henny...sorry to hear of your loss... I'm all for sitting up with a VERY large gun. [​IMG]
     
  3. Zookeeper9000

    Zookeeper9000 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 1, 2008
    Gladstone MI
    After ya drowned that dirty bugger you should of grabbed those eggs and tried to incubate them. That poor hen gave her life for them.

    Sorry about your hen. Great job, glad ya killed it. Can't help ya with the anatomy ? sorry.


    Oh PC are ya still going to let those possom's go LOL
     
  4. BeardedChick

    BeardedChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    [​IMG] Sorry about your broody. That's very sad.
     
  5. PurpleChicken

    PurpleChicken Tolerated.....Mostly

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    Iceland
    What is going on with possums this season????

    Sorry about your bird. [​IMG]
     
  6. tackyrama

    tackyrama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 14, 2008
    Central Minnesota USA
    Facinating story! Sorry about your hen. I live in Minnesota and we don't have fire ants thank goodness but we are just in the last several years seeing possums for the first time. I don't like 'em! My dogs don't like em either. They are tough! My two small dogs tear right into em but can't do much with them. What happens is they catch em and I finish em off or relocate. I don't know squat about possum anatomy.

    I won't kill natural predators, they work hard for a living. Since possums are not native here I feel justified in getting rid of them. My only problems so far have been my own dog (since trained not to kill chickens) and my neighbors dogs which I caught before any bloodshed. The neighbor has been warned and has promised to control his dogs. My chickens free range but once in the coop are safe. I have the Fort Knox of chicken coops.
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=14471-coop-layout
    Dont know what to do about the ants. I think I would move out of state. You should try Minnesota. We don't have fire ants or hurricanes. We do have four beautiful seasons. Anyway, best of luck!
     
  7. rooster-red

    rooster-red Here comes the Rooster

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    Jun 10, 2007
    Douglasville GA
    Quote:[​IMG]

    I'm still putting out dry cat food for the ones around here, and they still leave my chickens alone.
    Saw one on my porch just last night.

    Sunny_side sorry to hear about your hen.
    Your possum was a male, if it were a female you would have seen her pouch.
    Sad thing is he was probably just after the eggs and the hen was trying to protect them. She did her duty as nature programmed her to do.

    This is a big male I grabbed last year.

    [​IMG][​IMG]
     
  8. PurpleChicken

    PurpleChicken Tolerated.....Mostly

    11,744
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    Apr 6, 2007
    Iceland
    Quote:[​IMG]

    I'm still putting out dry cat food for the ones around here, and they still leave my chickens alone.
    Saw one on my porch just last night.

    Sunny_side sorry to hear about your hen.
    Your possum was a male, if it were a female you would have seen her pouch.
    Sad thing is he was probably just after the eggs and the hen was trying to protect them. She did her duty as nature programmed her to do.

    This is a big male I grabbed last year.

    http://i235.photobucket.com/albums/ee186/rooster_red/2007-12Dec11-04a.jpghttp://i235.photobucket.com/albums/ee186/rooster_red/2007-12Dec11-01a.jpg

    Dude!!! You grabbed it with your hands??? Are you a bowler because
    you have some big balls?
     
  9. chickenannie

    chickenannie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 19, 2007
    Pennsylvania
    I caught a sneaky baby possum eating out of my hanging turkey feeder one night. I'm sure he does it every night. Then he tried to threaten ME. Grrrr... but I let him slink away to his field.
     
  10. rooster-red

    rooster-red Here comes the Rooster

    7,008
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    Jun 10, 2007
    Douglasville GA
    Quote:[​IMG]

    I'm still putting out dry cat food for the ones around here, and they still leave my chickens alone.
    Saw one on my porch just last night.

    Sunny_side sorry to hear about your hen.
    Your possum was a male, if it were a female you would have seen her pouch.
    Sad thing is he was probably just after the eggs and the hen was trying to protect them. She did her duty as nature programmed her to do.

    This is a big male I grabbed last year.

    http://i235.photobucket.com/albums/ee186/rooster_red/2007-12Dec11-04a.jpghttp://i235.photobucket.com/albums/ee186/rooster_red/2007-12Dec11-01a.jpg

    Dude!!! You grabbed it with your hands??? Are you a bowler because
    you have some big balls?

    Caught all these by hand.

    [​IMG]
    I catch and release, scares the heck out of them.

    They have 50 razor sharp teeth, but rarely ever hunt live prey.
    They will catch mice and other small rodents, as well as small chicks.

    They are opportunist, and would rather take the easiest meal, so I leave them dry cat food on my porch and they amble right past my coops to get to the cat food. We co-exist as long as they don't try to get my chickens. It has worked for me going on 3 years now.
     

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