Oppossums not always harbingers of doom

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by centrarchid, Feb 10, 2012.

  1. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    17,883
    2,531
    466
    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    I kill several oppossums annually. They are always busted when moving about my pens or feeding stations. Lately a couple have been in area of cockyard every night leaving tracts in mud and snow along a fen between house and main cockyard. They appear to be targeting voles in the fen which are becoming increasingly abundant this time of year. Voles are so abundant my dog can catch every few minutes with minimal effort. Another interesting observation is I have two types of vole. Those in fen are dark with smaller eyes while another kind with larger eyes and brown coat looking like a wild hamster occurs mostly in woods. If you find a nest, then you often find babies. With the brown type at least the father seems to help raise the little ones. It is the voles that I think most of my predators are actually coming for. The chickens are targets of opportunity.
     
  2. welasharon

    welasharon Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,949
    74
    236
    Jun 28, 2010
    North Florida
    I occasionally have opposums here as well. I can see them on the porch eating leftover cat food sometimes. I have no free ranging chickens and my pens are built of hardware cloth so I am hoping not to have to bother them...as long as they don't bother the chickens. I am more concerned about the racoon that I saw though. i sent the dog after him to scare him off. I think they will work harder to get at the chickens that the opposum...least that's my hope!
     
  3. Life is Good!

    Life is Good! Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,051
    53
    181
    Apr 14, 2011
    suburbia Chicagoland
    Whew, good to know that.

    I fear a new one has moved under our neighbor's shed (they're a VERY elderly couple, lovely people - I'm not bothering them about this!). It's fairly round, so I fear it's a pregnant female. Watching to see....

    We've had our first snow today since it moved into the neighborhood. It steals the BOSS my birdfeeder spills (messy cardinals!). Thus far, it's only enjoyed the BOSS and some fuzzy oranges I threw into the compost bin. With the newfallen snow, I'll be able to track it. Hopefully.

    But it's still on my watch list - makes me too nervous to NOT be super careful about it's presence around the neighborhood.
     
  4. Mattemma

    Mattemma Overrun With Chickens

    5,314
    59
    291
    Aug 12, 2009
    I think they are neat,but I still get rid of them when they are coming round my chicken pen. Voles cause a lot of damage.Hate those paths and holes they create in the grass.
     
  5. welasharon

    welasharon Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,949
    74
    236
    Jun 28, 2010
    North Florida
    I am guessing a vole is similar to a mole? I have cats so I don't have any moles any more.i
     
  6. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    17,883
    2,531
    466
    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri

    Voles are short-tailed rodents very similar in size and overall proportions to lemmings and hamsters. Moles are larger "insectivores" with very different teeth (not a rodent) and the big front feet for digging. I have those and dogs go after those as well but moles seem not to be tasty, at least not to Scoob or our cats.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by