Possum living in my yard....

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by LindsaySinai, Sep 9, 2012.

  1. LindsaySinai

    LindsaySinai Chirping

    Jun 17, 2011
    San Diego
    I have 2 coops on either side of my yard...one with 3 hens and the other with 4 pullets and a cockerel...and then a possum living in the lattice with my wisteria. The other night I saw the possum(it's on the smaller side) on the other side of the fence, peaking over at the pullets. I wanted to do something to get rid of it but my neighbor works at a vet and loves all animals and said there's no way the possum is going to get my chickens. She said it's most likely been living here for some time and has plenty of food to eat so it's not going to all of a sudden get desperate enough to tear through the chicken wire. But now I'm scared to let them free range. I know its living in the wisteria because me dog is going crazy sniffing underneath it every morning. So, the possum is about 10 feet from the one coop and 20 from the other. Should I be worried?? Am I ok to let them free range during the day??

  2. Imp

    Imp All things share the same breath- Chief Seattle

    I have possums living in my yard. In 9 years they have not messed with the chickens, (the feed Yes), but not the chickens.
    They will come out during the day.
    That being said there are plenty of reports of possums preying on chickens, at night while the chickens are roosting.
    I wouldn't worry about it, but you could always trap it and relocate to the neighbors yard. Make sure your coop is secure at night.

    Imp- good luck
  3. welasharon

    welasharon Songster

    Jun 28, 2010
    North Florida
    If you have only chicken wire then yes you need to worry...if not about the possum then about some other predator. Chicken wire is not going to stop any predator from getting your chickens. You need to use hardware cloth or a combination of hardware cloth and 2x4 fencing. Do a search in the predators section and see how many people had "something" come through the chicken wire and wipe out their flock.
  4. bigoledude

    bigoledude Songster

    Jan 16, 2011
    SE, Louisiana
    We've lost more chickens to possum attacks than all other predators combined. The raccoons got the message after the first year or so. We see dozens of coons at our hog-hunting feeders just a few hundred yards from our chickens. We rarely catch a coon any more. But, the possums are constantly trying to get to our chickens and, they pay with their lives. They never stop coming.
  5. wcntygl

    wcntygl In the Brooder

    Dec 12, 2011
    My question to you is: Is it truly worth losing your chickens to the possum. I would get rid of it by any means necessary. I have worked long and hard to get the eggs my girls give us. If I was in your position, I would kill it. To me it is better to be save and have my girls safe then let a possum eat them.

  6. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Oppossums are easy to defeat without killing or relocating. They can climb reasonably well but can not jump much at all. They are also not great thinkers and operate almost exclusively at night. Take advantage of the chickens natural inclination to roost up and make roost is accessable only by flying. When birds young and roosting on ground, make so oppossum can not reach through with snout. Also consider young oppossums that are newly independent and small enough to get through 2" x 4" welded wire fencing as those little buggers will take on something they can not kill outright or steal eggs. For some reason when oppossums of any size bite my birds, the bitten bird is prone to get an infection that gets septic causing loss of bird. To stop oppossums from going through the welded wire fencing, use the cheap and otherwise almost useless chicken wire as it will stop oppossums just fine although not raccoons. I no longer have to deal with oppossums owing to dogs but if they were present then effort would be made to make so no food is out to attract them after dark. If oppossums are finding eats, then raccoons will have a reason to stop by as well and they are much tougher customers. Do not let them in house as they will visit repeatedly for goodies like catfood. They are also hard on little kittens and hard for momma cat to repell. If you go elimination route, it is never ending. We got a good dozen I know about in last year and they still keep coming.
  7. chickortreat

    chickortreat Songster

    May 26, 2009
    So if one kills a possum, more come to take its place? And if one does not kill the possum, others will stay away?

    I have honestly tried to grasp this reasoning, but it eludes me. I'd put a hollow-point in him, and if his brothers/cousins/whatever showed up, I'd give them one apiece as well. I don't have recurring predator problems, be it possum, coon, bobcat, coyote, skunk, or whatever. I throw them out where the buzzards can find them and life goes on.
  8. Mattemma

    Mattemma Crowing

    Aug 12, 2009
    I think the thought is the resident animal will keep others out of their territory.Having removed over 40 possums and coons in a year I gotta say a heck of a lot can occupy a small area. I prefer to get rid of them.Setting a trap and emptying it isn't much of a hassle.
  9. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    I have been a student of oppossums for a longtime. I watch them and have gotten to know some as individuals and noted some patterns in their behavior that can influence how one might manage them. First, like raccoons they do not hold discrete territories, rather they have home ranges that can overlap to varying degrees. If quality food resource is present, then more oppossums will have ranges that overlap that resource. Even though they do not have proper territories, that does not mean they do not squabble and sometimes the squabbling can be pretty intense. They seem to have a way of deciding weather a particular resource is worth the price of squabbling. If yes, they stay,; if not they go elsewhere. The price of squabbling is a function of how many oppossums are present. If the number of oppossums is reduced but resource remains unchanged, then other oppossums occasionally visiting area will make their own choice about whether they are to stay or not. You cull one, then that increases odds another will have a choice unless the number of oppossums is low. Best management system for me has been to cull particularly persistent individuals as well as make resource they desire such as food to be of lesser quality / quantity / availability.

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