Possum in my yard!

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Leigti, Mar 20, 2016.

  1. Leigti

    Leigti Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I just saw a huge possum in my yard when I took the dog out tonight. So now I am freaking out. I've never seen a possum that big, I've only seen one other one around here and it was a baby and that was four years ago. I think the darn thing grew up! I'm in the process of building a new coop, going to get the supplies tomorrow, which will now include a great deal of hardware cloth! But what should I do tonight? My chickens are in some cheapie prefab coop and run. One group is locked in a dog crate overnight but the other ones is just in one of those prefab coops. Should I put them all in the garage tonight? I'm not going to sleep all night I can just tell. Maybe I'll move them in just to make me feel better. I am probably over reacting but I can't help it, I would be devastated to lose my chickens to a possum. Any suggestions would be great.
     
  2. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

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  3. Leigti

    Leigti Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks, that was a helpful thread. I am going to get myself some ammonia today and try the ammonia soaked rag trick. I can't shoot it, I don't have a gun and I'm legally blind. I couldn't hit the broadside of a barn with an elephant.
     
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    Possum will kill chickens. They really like eggs too. Possum are pretty slow but they climb really well and can catch chickens when they are on the roosts. During the day they are not that big of an issue. They are mostly nocturnal but I’ve seen a possum feeding from my compost pile at 1:00 pm on a bright sunshiny day. Mostly nocturnal does not mean 100%.

    If you have a live trap, or can get one the right size, they are not that hard to trap. I often wad a spoonful of peanut butter in a paper towel and toss that in the back of the trap. But you also might catch a raccoon or skunk doing that, though other baits usually work better for skunk. You have to come up with a way to dispose of one if you trap it too. It’s generally illegal to release one anywhere without the landowner’s permission. You can kill hem but depending on where you are there may be legal restrictions on that. Those methods are fairly unpleasant too and you need to dispose of the body.

    There is another aspect to it also. Just because you get one doesn’t mean you have all of them. Since the first of this year I’ve permanently removed one raccoon, six possum, seven skunks, and eight rats from my property, three acres in the country. One skunk went into my garage through a doggy door, sprayed, and left. I don’t know if I got the right one or not. Where there is one there will be more. Most of these were caught in a live trap but I also have a shotgun that comes in really handy at times.

    I’m all in favor of permanently removing any unpleasant critter that is hunting your territory, it reduces your risks. But the only way to really protect your chickens is with good barriers like fences.

    I have not tried that ammonia rag trick. In my mind that’s only going to be temporary if it works at all. I’ve tried various things like Irish Spring soap, dog hair, coyote urine, and human urine with little success. I find that wild critters are very adaptable and soon realize there really isn’t any real threat to them. Good luck with that but I’d get to work on some good fences or other barriers they can’t climb over or tear through.
     
  5. Leigti

    Leigti Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm going to put my hope in to hardware cloth and very rocky ground.
     
  6. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    Hardware cloth is pricey stuff. Day time predators can't fit or chew through 2x4 14 gauge welded wire fencing. I use it for fix run protection. You can use it for all sides and top of run. No worries after that. Weasels are a night issue when chickens are on the roost. Close coop doors and use hardware cloth on all opening of coop.

    50' or 100' X 4' rolls of 2x4 14 guage welded wire can be had for relatively little money. I'd use 2x2 but that's hard to find; 2x4 is at local farm supply or Home Depot/Lowes. 100' for $74:

    http://www.lowes.com/pd_492378-16418-840208___?productId=50017406&pl=1&Ntt=welded+wire+fence
     
  7. Leigti

    Leigti Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I will use welded wire for the run but I will just put hardware cloth along the bottom two or 3 feet. And I will use it on any vent openings on the coop. I know I can't afford to do an entire run in the stuff but just some will help. And I will have a locked door to the coop itself for nighttime. I would be more worried if I saw a raccoon, but the possum was bad enough.
     
  8. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    Personally I don't see what hardware cloth does on bottom of run. In daytime the chickens will stay away from the side with the predator stalking them. Chickens getting grabbed and torn apart by raccoon is a night time situation when they are roosting in run next to fence. Chickens are alert and skittish of other animals when awake. Welded wire keeps the dogs, hawks, raccoon, coyote, etc at bay.

    My coops have hardware on openings and door is locked every night. Weasels are abundant here.
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2016
  9. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    I use 2x4 welded wire on my main run with chicken wire along the bottom. It will provide some protection from a raccoon or something reaching in or a chicken sticking its head through to eat green son the outside. I don’t consider those huge risks but it’s managed. The real reason I put it there is to keep baby chicks from going through the fence and away from Mama’s protection.
     
  10. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    If the oppossum is not already getting chickens, then odds are it is getting something else. Make certain it is not getting into feed, trash or offal pile. If it is getting into non-chicken eats then deny it access if you can. Odds are oppossum will become less regular of an visitor once attractants removed. In the past I experimented on methods to repel a oppossum that had access to catfood on back porch. Even when I captured the critter every night by hand it still returned. It was also willing to walk repeatedly into a live trap but never learned how to let me open trap without giving me sass. The opossum also did not get the point when I butted it off the porch. The critter also denned very close as they have relatively small ranges.
     

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