opossum rant

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by feather13, Sep 30, 2013.

  1. feather13

    feather13 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi all,

    Yesterday evening I lost one of my favorite hens to a respiratory disease (the third one this summer... kind of at my wit's end). When I went down to check on her, I found a baby opossum inside the run (we have a wooden coop enclosed by a secure dog run. I hadn't seen any opossums since moving to my new house in the spring, so have been leaving the door open. I got rid of the opossum, but couldn't get one of the hens that was roosting up in a tree down. In the night, an adult opossum must have gotten to her because it killed her and there were bits of her EVERYWHERE.

    This is the second time we've lost a bird to an opossum. I like them, they are cool because they're marsupials and they're native to North America, but really want to let everyone new to chicken keeping know that opossums will kill your chickens and they do so in a really gruesome way. If you can secure your coop, please do so, even if you've never seen an opossum in your neighborhood. I thought they were harmless scavengers, but they will tear your birds apart if given the chance. And you need to either trap them (in many places the local ASPCA will haul live animals away for free) or kill them because they will keep coming back once they know there is easy live food in their territory.

    Anyway, thanks for listening to my rant! I am so sick to have lost four birds in three months.
     
  2. Chicks Galore3

    Chicks Galore3 Artistic Bird Nut Premium Member

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    That's terrible. [​IMG] I just lost my first chicken. (Maybe. She disappeared yesterday evening and hasn't come back. Hoping she survived and will return!)
     
  3. boskelli1571

    boskelli1571 Overrun With Chickens

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    Finger Lakes, NY
    Venting is good for the soul[​IMG] Hope your girls get over the respiratory thing, can be tough to eradicate sometimes.
    Opossums'..........a very interesting animal to be sure. However, they eat just about anything as you found out - live animals, roadkill, garbage etc. Kudos to you for not killing the baby, but be very alert now since they know where they can find a good chicken dinner................Sue
     
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  4. feather13

    feather13 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sorry about your lost chicken! It's really so hard when they die. We have a bantam OEG hen that sometimes disappears overnight and is always getting out of the chicken run/backyard. Once I saw her running around the front yard and she often makes nests in the bushes. We panicked the first time she disappeared, but so far (knock on wood), she has come back. Several of the others have flown over the fence into the neighbor's yard (have you checked the neighbor's yards for her?) and disappeared for a night or two.

    If you haven't seen any hawks and didn't find any piles of feathers, you might be in luck. In my experience, if an opossum gets into your coop, you will know it because they leave behind bits and pieces of the chicken. I'm pretty amazed (in a bad way) about what they do to a chicken and it makes me heartsick to think they don't immediately kill it like other predators.

    Good luck to you and hope you find your lost bird!
     
  5. Chicks Galore3

    Chicks Galore3 Artistic Bird Nut Premium Member

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    I hope so too! What REALLY bugs me is that I don't know for sure whether she is dead or not. Me and my brother just combed through the grove, but we didn't find her. But we didn't find any feathers or pieces of chicken either. *sigh* I hope she'll be back.
     

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