1. Chef Chicken Jimmy

    Chef Chicken Jimmy New Egg

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    Sep 14, 2008
    I caught an opossum in the run this morning, a bit too late for one if the girls. I didn't realize that opossums would go after a full sized buff orpington, I thought they went after smaller prey. Anyone else have opossum issues or quick amazingly cheap deturrants?
     
  2. rooster-red

    rooster-red Here comes the Rooster

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    Jun 10, 2007
    Douglasville GA
    Possums are opportunistic eaters, they go for the easiest meal possible, so one going after a grown hen mus be very hungry.

    Most people will tell you the only way to sovle the problem is to kill it, but I'll tell you what has worked for me.

    I leave a bowl of cheap dry cat food out for them.
    Possums walk past my coops to come up on my porch and eat the cat food, and have never gone after any of my chickens.

    It has worked for me for several years now.
    Having predator proof coops is the best way to protect your flock.

    ETA: yes, that is a wild possum I caught last night in my avatar.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2009
  3. CTChickenMom

    CTChickenMom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    SE Connecticut
    Isn't leaving food out for animals like opossum dangerous? I wouldn't want to encourage them to come up to my front porch. Opossums have a nasty temper. A strand of electric fence would stop them from climbing or digging around your coop/run. If you buried the fencing from the run about 12-18 inches deep in the ground and formed it in an 'L' shape away from the run, that would also eliminate them getting in your coop.
     
  4. catherinetnc

    catherinetnc New Egg

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    Oct 24, 2008
    Rooster Red:

    I am so glad that someone else in this world does not hate possums! My family thinks I am crazy - but I read an article about them once - about how the left and right sides of their brains don't communicate too well thus accounting for their prevalance as roadkill, and since then I have had a soft spot for them. They are marsupials, don't carry rabies - are ugly as sin as adults but so cute as babies. I don't kill them either, and have been heartbroken when I have found my dogs tearing into one.

    Anyhow, the best protection from predators of any kind certainly is a good coop and pen. But, the best laid plans (or wire) often go awry, and things happen, so I sympathize with anyone who loses chickens.

    Just glad to know I am not alone in the possum tolerance - they really are fascinating.
    Catherine
     
  5. Scratchn By

    Scratchn By Chillin' With My Peeps

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    East Texas
    I do not recall a predator problem all the years I've had chickens. Never lost to a predator (do my dogs count as predators?). My pens are pretty tight at night. [​IMG] I let them free range during the day. And the only thing I can credit this to, since we live in the country, is our dogs. Not to repeat, but these animals are scavengers and opportunists. They will not chance an encounter with your dogs for a meal. So, unless you've no dogs... They're going to come around looking for what you've got to eat. And don't let that bowl of cat food go empty!

    GL!
     
  6. Chef Chicken Jimmy

    Chef Chicken Jimmy New Egg

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    Sep 14, 2008
    My dad said he was gonna bring by an electric fence and some insulated brackets this afternoon. I want to set up a camera and see what happens tonight.-----zzzap! My girls don't like my dog. I have tried to get the to get used to eachother with no luck, just freaked out chickens and an over excited terrier. I don't think the electricity will permanantly injure the possum, just sting em and teach em a lesson.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2009
  7. catherinetnc

    catherinetnc New Egg

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    My terrier mix, Suzy (who is the "lap dog" of my three) turns into a thug and an assasin when she senses an easy kill. My gsd and my beagle mix are beside themselves - shreiking, high pitched squeals when they go out to look at the chickens (you'd think they had never seen them before.) But Suzy - she is calm, cool and collected. Waiting for the right moment. . . ..

    I can just imagine what she is thinking as she watches the other dogs . . . "amateurs!".

    I have gone out in the middle of the night to find her attacking a raccoon twice her size (and she was winning). God help her if a bear ever decided to visit -

    Chef - all I can say is, watch that terrier! [​IMG]

    C.
     
  8. siz8003

    siz8003 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 31, 2007
    Fitz.,NH
    My DH and I had to kill one last night. It killed several of my young chickens.We have tried to scare it away and what ever else I could think of. I found it up at my coop again and went to get hubby. I felt so bad that it had to be killed and I shed a tear when it looked into my eyes but It was eating my poor little chickens.It had to be done.
     
  9. Scratchn By

    Scratchn By Chillin' With My Peeps

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    East Texas
    Dogs have to be conditioned to chickens. If they're not raised up with chickens, they'll go for the kill. Terriers are hard headed. I had a hard time with my Dachshunds. Let's just say my dogs and I have an understanding... [​IMG]

    I have Australian Shepherds also and, while not viscous, they will certainly let you know if anyone or anything unwelcome is on the property. Love em!

    I have too many trees for an electric fence. Falling branches keep taking mine out. Got tired of the hassle.

    GL with that!
     
  10. Nostalchic

    Nostalchic Chillin' With My Peeps

    We don't have possums here in Colorado, but when we lived in Indiana, heavily wooded and rural, possums were the biggest problem we had with predators. They possums seemed to become active in the early part of the night, because if we were a little late shutting the chickens into their coop, we would occasionally come into the coop in the morning to find several dead chickens and a possum peacefully sleeping in one of the nests! We probably inadvertently closed him in with the chickens. Our big aierdale was happy to remove the possum from the nest for us, and would shake it up pretty vigorously until it seemed quite dead, would lose interest eventually leave the supposed corpse in the yard. I've watched them - after a really long wait -very cautiously
    raise their heads, look around, and then wander off apparently unhurt. They are amazing and really interesting to be able to observe, which isn't a common opportunity. We never had any trouble with them during the day, but had to be absolutely religious about having the chickens shut in at early nightfall.
    I like the gentle approach of catfood on the porch but fear that that would also draw a host of unwelcome visitors - rats, bears, etc, depending on your area.
     

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