Possum sighting. Can’t sleep.

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Rocky_chickenmama, Jul 17, 2019.

  1. Rocky_chickenmama

    Rocky_chickenmama In the Brooder

    Apr 29, 2019
    A3A85F0B-576E-41EC-82B4-1EEF329CC4CB.jpeg My border collie alerted me to a possum near our coop this evening. Now I can’t sleep (I’m a new chicken mama and everything makes me nervous) so I’m posting. I live in a suburban neighborhood but we have coyotes, raccoons, hawks, possums. How concerned should I be about predators getting in the coop? I bought mine from TS, I’ve posted a pic. Should I look into additional protective measures?
  2. ocap

    ocap Crowing

    Jan 1, 2013
    Smithville, Missouri
    "Should I add?"
    First, welcome to BYC.
    Second, probably or you could sleep.
    Third, your chickens home looks great!
    fourth, what to add? wire apron under the grass so the predator has to back up to find the place to start digging (they don't back up to dig). Do I need to add a second lock to keep out the raccoon?
  3. TomZilla43

    TomZilla43 Songster

    Apr 23, 2017
    White House, TN
    Hello, and :welcome. I also live in a suburban area with most all of the predators that you listed to deal with. I don't have a super secure coop and have actually never lost a chook to predation. That being said you don't want to find out the hard way that your coop is not as secure as it needs to be. If your collie is out there in the yard w/ them overnight that would make me feel better about their security. Hope you can find a level of security for your chicks that allows you restful slumber and that your chick babies thrive! Again welcome, glad you could join us:).
  4. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Yhe coop you have should be resistant to a opossum so long as birds are not roosting where opossum can touch feathers through wire. If it can, critter may then commence chewing through wire mesh. Coop not best against raccoon as both wire mesh and door corners can be weak points. I have a similar coop and now have dogs provide and exclusion zone around it.
    Rocky_chickenmama and Trish1974 like this.
  5. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Crossing the Road

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    You already know you have those predators living in your midst. They will frequent your yard whether you have chickens or not. You should always be concerned and endeavor to keep all of them out of your coop - especially at night.
    I'm in the 'burbs and have had every predator except bears and mountain lions even though they are very close. I've lost a few to opossums but they normally go after the eggs. I've lost most to mink, raccoons and dogs. A few went to hawks years ago and a couple to feral cats recently.
  6. TooCheep

    TooCheep Chirping

    Feb 23, 2019
    Hello @Rocky_chickenmama. I have a similar coop setup and predator pressures. Nice looking coop and run setup. I see from your intro that you have 7 new chicks. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but that setup doesn't look nearly big enough for that many RIRs. Unfortunately, prefab coops are notorious for overestimating capacity. Mine is rated for 8, but is actually slightly crowded for my 3! Just from the one picture, that outside roost bar will only be able to fit 3-4 adult birds during the day.

    They use factory farm numbers where chickens live crowded & miserable lives. I suspect that's not what you want for your girls. The rule of thumb commonly used for backyard flock owners is a minimum of 4sqft/full-sized chicken in the coop (enclosed area) and 10sqft/bird in the run (screened-in area).

    The good news is that the hardware cloth screen used on that coop is very good for predator proofing. @ocap is right that a 1-2' apron of similar screen material around the outside of the run would be a good addition to foil digging predators. It can either be buried (best) or some lay it on the ground and let grass grow through it.

    Although the wood looks good, it appears to be unpainted. Is that true or is there some other protective coating on it? If unpainted, then I'd be very concerned about it lasting even a full two years. I recommend you post a number of pictures from various angles of your coop and the coop/run dimensions or at least a link to the vendor's description and we can comment further.

    Again, sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but from your posts, you seem to be a conscientious newbie and it is best to learn about and fix these issues early. @aart is more of a pro at these things. Any further thoughts aart?
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2019
    Rocky_chickenmama likes this.

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