Possum living in hen house!

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Staceyfeindt, Dec 26, 2010.

  1. Staceyfeindt

    Staceyfeindt Out Of The Brooder

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    So we walk into the hen house and what is curled up right by the feed? A Possum, fast asleep, while the hens walked all around it. Woke it up and it crawled under something and I couldn't get it after poking and prodding for hours. So husband had to do some dirty work. Now I know why I have been missing eggs and the hens have been acting so strange.
     
  2. easttxchick

    easttxchick Lone Star Call Ducks

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    Be careful-that sure doesn't sound normal. Could have rabies.
     
  3. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

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    Close call! Glad you just lost some eggs and nothing worse. How did it get in? I fear it may be time to re-evaluate your set-up. Predators walking in the front door is a recipe for disaster.

    Good luck.
     
  4. ranchhand

    ranchhand Rest in Peace 1956-2011

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    Quote:Agreed. I shot a possum last Feb. because he was pulling my hens off the roost at night and systematically killing them. I caught him in the act. I didn't want to shoot it but I couldn't get it to leave. My coops are much more secure now.

    I used to rescue wildlife and did lots of possie-ossies. But this time, I was in chicken rescue mode.
     
  5. FrizzlesRule

    FrizzlesRule Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I get rid of that ugly evil thing. Possums are dirty ugly animals. I got bit by one 12 years ago when I was chasing the little punk out of the chicken yard. Those evil things have no business near chickens.
     
  6. crtrlovr

    crtrlovr Still chillin' with my peeps

    We came home from my mom's last week (3 hr. drive) and got home later than I'd intended (after dark, about 7:30). I went straight to the pen to close up the babies, and saw one of the silkies out in the run. BAD sign. I picked her up and she let out a scream like I had hurt her. I set her back down, did a once-over and saw that she wasn't actually hurt, but just scared witless. I picked her back up, looked around and spotted others out. I ran to the chicken house and found an oppossum that had bitten one of the youngest OEGB babies from this past spring. It had bitten her on the back, and had flipped her over and had the feathers pulled off her crop, just on the verge of ripping it open. I grabbed it by the tail and flung it as hard as I could over the 6' fence (secretly hoping it would break its neck when it landed -- no such luck; it took off running). It took me half an hour to find & gather all the others, and another 1/2 hour to find the turkey. I brought the little one in for a few days and treated her with iodine wash and triple antibiotic ointment. Her feathers are coming back in. I brought her back out to the chicken house a couple of days ago and she was very glad to be back among her family. I had a covered run until our historic ice storm of 09-10 brought it all down (had just finished it 2 weeks before the ice storm hit [​IMG] ) and I haven't gotten this run (bigger by at least 50%) covered yet. I have most of what I need, now I could just use a little help and some nicer weather.
     
  7. Staceyfeindt

    Staceyfeindt Out Of The Brooder

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    Ewww, I am lucky it did not harm the chickens then. I thought they just ate eggs and feed? Guess I was wrong.

    I am certain it got in because I leave the door open during the day when they range. I am at home all day so they range all day. It had to get in then or at dusk before I got down to close it up for the night. Will have to figure out how to allow the chickens in and no other animals. HMMM, any ideas? They come in and out of the house through out the day to lay eggs and nibble at their feed and water. A chicken tractor would help, but they HATE to be locked up now that they are spoiled with ranging all day where ever they want.


    Possum is dead. But it took a shot of pepper spray to the face (from me) and THREE shots to the face and body (from husband) to kill it! I tried to trap it and set it free but everyone said "rabies" and so I backed off that plan.
     
  8. Redcatcher

    Redcatcher Chillin' With My Peeps

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    At My Desk!
    Quote:That is actually perfectly normal behavior for a possum. They are masters at playing dead. I had to shoot and kill one and it never moved the entire time and yes, it was alive before I shot it.
     
  9. ranchhand

    ranchhand Rest in Peace 1956-2011

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    Good point. A lot of folks say possums, foxes, coyotes, raccoons etc. hunt only at night and if they're out during the day they must be rabid. NOT true. All are opportunists. They will take advantage of any chance they can. They are more likely to sleep at night, but there's no guarantee. One thing I have learned is that if I let my birds free range, I will lose some to predators and accidents. It's sad but it's a fact.
     
  10. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    I'm also glad you have dispatched the opossum, but not because it "might" have rabies. I don't think that's the situation at all - as another poster said, it's perfectly normal 'possum behavior.

    I had a young one take refuge in one of my coops where nobody sleeps. It's an A-Frame and they mostly hang out "downstairs" under cover, and a couple of the hens do lay eggs in the upstairs "lodging" area. I felt sorry for the young 'possum because, well, small, immature animals have such a handicap learning how to survive. But NOT in my chicken coops/run.

    It got away - moved a whole lot faster than I expected it to! - and I learned to close that coop up at night. I had been leaving the door to the bottom open because my Cayuga ducks patrol the yard all night and I thought they might need shelter. They won't use their duck house - it's been taken over by 3 chickens now.

    They are egg and feed eaters, but mature ones will also kill chickens.
     

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