Our Possum problem

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Cyprus, Jan 19, 2018.

  1. Cyprus

    Cyprus Master of the 'never give up' attitude

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    So, we know we've had a predator/pest problem for a while. But it wasn't until recently that we realized the magnitude of the problem.
    A little backstory (hang in there)...
    About 1 year ago or so we had a possum kill and eat one of our Light Brahma cockerels. :mad: So, we set out a live trap and caught 2 possums in the span of a week. After catching no more for several weeks, we thought we had gotten rid of the problem.
    Then, we had a cat climb the fence of our run and attack our girls right in front of me. So, we set up another trap. Every night, for 2 weeks. Right in front of our chicken run. In the span of those 2 weeks we caught 4 possums.
    Most recently, we have a spell of many, many possum sightings and trappings. We have seen 3 in 1 night and caught 2 in 1 night on a few occasions and for a week straight we caught a possum every night.
    My friend and I recently saw a possum in the coop with 7 of our birds. Luckily, nobody was hurt but a possum had attacked about 1 week prior, pulling the tail feathers off one of the pullets.

    Now, here's the question: How do I manage/eradicate the resident possum population?

    Unfortunately, poison and kill traps are not an option. I have an indoor/outdoor cat who has been known to eat anything and everything that he can fit in his mouth. I have also had one of my own hens get herself caught in the live trap set for a possum :he

    We do know that something (suspected the groundhogs we know we have) are digging holes in the floor of our barn and coop. I have found 3 already. 1 is inaccessible. However, when I plug up the holes that I can reach they either dig around the plug, or dig a new hole. I have seen the possums run into 1 of these holes when I've chased them off. At the moment, the barn is chock full of things stored for the winter, so for now we cannot pour a cement floor. We WILL be doing that in spring/summer, though.

    Sorry for the long thread, and thanks in advance for any help. All opinions, questions, and discussions are welcome.
     
  2. Welshies

    Welshies Crowing

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    You can not manage or eradicate the population.... you can only solve the source of the problem: a lack of safe housing for your birds.
    If I could see your setup I would be glad to see what I can do to better predator (possum) proof your run.
    The cement floor is a good idea. Weasels, rats, and groundhogs all dig and can be a big concern.
     
    Folly's place and AmazingRachel like this.
  3. Shadyfarms

    Shadyfarms Chirping

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    I agree that eliminating predators won't solve much. More will keep coming. Can you make a floor of hardware cloth, than put dirt over that to ensure things can't dig in anymore? Could you make a secure area in the barn for the chickens to sleep in?
     
  4. Cyprus

    Cyprus Master of the 'never give up' attitude

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    Here is coop #1
    20180119_125525_HDR.jpg 20180119_125632_HDR.jpg 20180119_125643_HDR.jpg

    Coop #2
    20180119_125550_HDR.jpg
    I am blocking off the bottom of the door of coop #2 like so at night:
    20180119_130010_HDR.jpg
     
  5. Cyprus

    Cyprus Master of the 'never give up' attitude

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    I can do that with coop #1. The floor of coop #1 is dirt, the floor of coop #2 is wood. No animals have been able to dig through the floor of coop #2.
    I can go out and buy 1/4" hardware cloth this weekend. Or would it be better to make the floor of coop #1 wood like coop #2?

    Also, the front of coop #2, where it currently black mesh, will be replaced this weekend with the wire that is in front of coop #1. Will that be sufficient to keep the possums from getting in, or is hardware cloth better? I forgot to mention it in my OP, but a possum chewed a hole in the black mesh, where that piece of wood is.

    I cannot. I have 18 chickens out there, and the only space I have available is a small walkway in front of the coops and to the door, from the coops. I also have nothing available to put the birds in at night.
     
  6. Shadyfarms

    Shadyfarms Chirping

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    I only use hardware cloth for my run/coop as it seems anything else is not strong enough. I have coon and coyote prints around my coop from time to time but they have not gotten in yet. Not sure how effective the wood floors would be. I see that you have hydro though, could you put an electric wire on at night or something?
     
  7. Welshies

    Welshies Crowing

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    We need pictures from the outside.
    As well as your run :)
     
  8. Cyprus

    Cyprus Master of the 'never give up' attitude

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    I don't know if that stuff works. The people who lived her before me had an electric fence for their horses, whose stables we are using for our coops, but I'm not sure if it still works.
     
  9. Cyprus

    Cyprus Master of the 'never give up' attitude

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    20180119_142842_HDR.jpg 20180119_142850_HDR.jpg 20180119_142900_HDR.jpg 20180119_142926_HDR.jpg
    Our coops are horse stalls inside the barn, so 3 of the walls for each coop are the barn walls.

    We also have things come by our coop at night, so I close off the run at sunset every day.
     
  10. Welshies

    Welshies Crowing

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    Those possums probably climbed right up the fencing that's slanted. I also don't see an apron, and I see chicken wire.
    Chain link fencing is a big concern- you have a bit of that. Coons pull heads through chainlink- so do possums.
     

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