Predator Problem Solved


7 Years
Aug 27, 2015
I found a possum in one of my hen houses when I went to lock them up this evening. We lost a couple chicks we had brought home a couple of weeks ago. They were about two months old, real cute. It was a weekend we had so much rain. We had brought home eight chicks; Monday morning we did a head count and two were gone.

Elyse and I did a search and saw where something had either dug in or dug out of the fence around their pen. Didn't know if they had escaped and run off or something had gotten in. We sealed that area up and enforced it and other weaknesses in the fence. I've been setting up the live trap in the area hoping to catch whatever it might have been.

Then, one night last week, we came home after dark and I was putting the girls up and discovered a possum had somehow gotten into a holding cage (a large pet carrier I was using to isolate an injured bird). I made sure the thing was locked and figured I'd let it stew until morning when I'd take it somewhere in the middle of nowhere by the Choctawhatchee River and dump it where it wouldn't bother anyone. I have to admit I was tempted to blow its brains out when I thought of my chicks but...

The next morning it was gone. So I've been over a week checking for sign of its return, laying my trap and hoping to get something. No joy.

Then tonight, my wife and I got in from town and after it turned dark I went to tuck the girls in for the night and make my checks. I got to the coop where my "big girls" are and they were all upset and freaked out. Well, I was talking to them trying to calm them through the open window I have to their roosts. I closed the shutter on the window and went to close the door and lock it for the night and what did I see on the ramp going up to the roosting area but that possum! It was at the top of the ramp about to go through the chicken door into the roosting area.

No wonder they were so freaked.

The possum took one look at me and hightailed it through the door into the roost area into a nesting box. About that time the timer on my light switched and the lights went out. Great. So I threw open the outside shutter to the roosting area, got the light on and grabbed a garden hoe to take care of this varmint. The only way I could get to the thing was through the small hen entrance and the hoe couldn't reach the thing, but it scared him and kept him in the nesting box.

What we had was a stalemate.

So there I was trying to figure out how to get hold of my wife so she can bring me one of my guns. Boy I wished I had brought my cell phone with me; I usually do as you can never tell what you might run in to out here. In the meantime I was keeping it in the box by poking at it with the hoe.

Then I remembered, I DID have my cellphone on me.

I called my wife and, of course she was surprised to get a call from me, but I explained my dilemma, and told her which pistol I wanted (I figured a shotgun would do too much damage).

That possum won't kill any more of my chickens.

Tomorrow I have to try and figure out how the danged thing got into my chicken yard that was supposed to be so secure.
Whew! That was a nail biter! I could nearly hear it hissing away!
I usually carry my cell with me when I'm outside - you never can tell what might happen. It looks like I might need to start going around heeled, too. (LOL)

I normally try to live catch and release, but it really wasn't doable under the circumstances without a real risk of letting him get away again. And he HAD already killed my chicks and was looking to get some more.

On to the next issue. As Rosanne Rosana Dana's mama used to say - "It's ALWAYS something..." particularly with backyard chickens.
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I also carry my gun with me to the barn and chicken coops. Just because of coyote etc... They always say better to have it and not need it then need it and not have it.
I couldn't agree more. Haven't had any more problems with predators, but know it's just a matter of time where we live. I think the reason we haven't had more of a problem in that area is our neighbor across the road lets her chickens free range and another neighbor a bit farther down the road has five chicken houses. I think they provide a more tempting target than mine does. One, at least is easier to get to.

But I'm not going to let my guard down. Always uneasy when I can't get home soon after dusk and lock the girls up safely.
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