R.I.P. Chickies

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by nekonoir, Nov 20, 2014.

  1. nekonoir

    nekonoir Hatching

    Sep 28, 2014
    Tulsa, OK
    I'm not sure where this should go so I'm just putting it in Random Ramblings. My flock was struck by tragedy and I just need somewhere to vent. I'm not just mad, I'm furious; first at myself and then at the local wildlife. I understand that wild animals need to eat too and I don't begrudge them food but NOT MY FREAKING CHICKENS!!!

    The set up we have is not a traditional coop and run because it was built by our home's previous owners and I received my flock (as chicks) as a housewarming gift from the same people. There is a wire enclosure, which I call a cage, with a sort of hatch-like door about 3 feet from the ground on one side. Inside of this cage we have a hutch that they stay in at night. The previous owners allowed their chickens to roam freely inside the cage so I do the same and secure the door as tightly as possible until about sunset then herd the gals into their hutch for the night just to be safe.

    Two nights ago I was out past dark and forgot to put them back in their hutch. The next morning my toddler and I found two corpses in the cage. I couldn't figure out how an animal had gotten in but figured maybe it was raccoons, as I've seen them on our porch several times, and chalked the loss up as a learning experience. I still had 2 chickens left and one of them was my favorite. Yesterday I let them out again and went about my business. I got home as soon as possible but it was still about 30 min to an hour after sunset. My toddler and I dropped everything in the house and dashed out to the cage to get get the chickies in their "house" and found an opossum inside the cage with one of our last 2 pullets in it's mouth. It scared my daughter and made me so MAD that if I owned a gun I would have shot the critter right then and there, which is really saying something because I cry if I accidentally run over a squirrel. The opossum dropped the pullet and back up to hide where my favorite was trying to stay out of reach. I think it got some of her tail feathers, there's a suspicious chunk missing,then she squawked and ran to the front of the cage trying to squeeze through the wire so frantically I almost couldn't get her out of the cage. We took her inside and she now resides in a very large guinea pig cage that they lived in when they were small. Inke was so stressed that she rode on my shoulder the whole way to the house and paced perimeter of the cage all night.

    I can't let Inke go back out to the cage until we figure out how the stupid opossum got in or build a new (predator safe) coop and run with our meager funds. There. Story done. I feel a little better after typing it all up but I'm still furious.

    Good bye poor chickies: Scarlet (RIR?), O'Hara - (RIR?), Goldie (Buff Orpington).

    Lone Survivor: Inke (Barred Rock)
  2. MacTech

    MacTech Chirping

    Sorry for your loss :( opossums are one of my least favorite animals, that and woodchucks, those do a number on my garden....

    I would strongly recommend a shotgun for defending the new flock you should get to replace the ones you lost, don't let the predators/varmints win...

    Even a humble single-shot shotgun would be a great defensive tool, Harrington and Richardson (H&R) make a robust, reliable, simple, and inexpensive single shot that's been around since 1893 and is still made today, the Pardner line is the basic model, the Topper line is a little fancier, free advice, look for a good used one, ideally one made in the old factory in Gardner, Mass (I can elaborate if you need more info, basically, the Gardner guns were built better)

    If recoil is an issue, go with either .410 or 28 gauge, .410 has more load options, but 28 throws a better shot cloud,,either one could handle a 'possum

    Don't let the predators win.
  3. mtngirl35

    mtngirl35 Songster

    Dec 10, 2013
    X2. I hate to hear about the loss of your chickens. They are so easy to get attached to. I'm a woman and I shoot a 20 gauge pump with a pistol grip. Recoil is so low I can shoot it holding it down beside my hip. I shoot anything that tries to fool with my chickens. We live on the edge of the woods and it seems like everything wants to eat my hens. No dinner for them so far. They haven't had any luck getting thru the hardware mesh that covers my run and coop windows either. My girls raise a ruckus and I run out and shoot the offender. Lots of luck to you.
  4. MacTech

    MacTech Chirping

    Since sport shooting is one of my hobbies, and I also use them to control varmints and vermin, here's some more info so you can learn from my mistakes...

    First off, I'm a live-and-let-live kinda' guy, I don't like taking an animals life at all, it can't help being what it is and doing what comes naturally, but when it's needs conflict with mine, I'm sorry, but I'm going to protect what's mine.

    Opossums and woodchucks are *tough* critters, they have remarkably thick skulls, and an amazingly strong will to live, they are amazing examples of evolution and need to be treated with respect, all life should

    If you intend to end an animals life, please respect it enough to do it humanely, that means using "enough" gun, but without straying into overkill, and placing the shot in an area that will minimize suffering, when this unpleasant duty falls to me, I want to achieve what I call a "bang-flop" a one-shot instant kill with no suffering.

    Unless you are a crack shot or marksman, the .22 Long Rifle is inadequate for 'possums and 'chucks, their skull is too thick for an effective headshot, you may end up using 3-5 rounds to complete the job, to me, that's unacceptable, the only time I've bang-flopped a woodchuck with a.22LR it was because I had time to set up the shot perfectly, and the Flying Spaghetti Monster was smiling down on me...

    The minimum caliber for 'chucks and 'possums should be a 22 Magnum from a rifle, the long barrel insures complete powder burn and max. Velocity

    In shotguns, any gauge would work, but the 20 Ga. Is the best balance between recoil, shot pattern, and ammo variety, the 12 kicks more, especially in a single shot, and has the largest ammo variety and availability, it'd just be overkill for a 'possum

    Oh, and one last thing I found out the hard way, it might be unpleasant for some to read, so I'll spoilerbox it

    if you shoot a possum or chuck in the head, it's going to kick, spasm, and jump around in what appears to be horrible agony, it's not, that's what happens when the brain is destroyed, the animal is dead, but the neurons in the brain are firing in a random, uncontrolled manner, and it can last for a few seconds longer than is comfortable

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