To intervene or not to intervene- that is the question

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by matimeo, Sep 28, 2010.

  1. matimeo

    matimeo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 29, 2010
    A little background on my question. We have four chicks that have been out in their coop for the last three nights. On night one, our neighbor's dog began barking in the middle of the night, which he has never done before since we moved in. My heart jumped into my throat and I ran outside to see what was going on, but didn't see anything, but suspected a predator near the coop. Our coop is in our back yard, about five feet from this neighbor's back yard (fence between the two). Night two, nothing. Last night, dog barking again, middle of the night. I ran outside again and this time I saw Mr. opossum sitting on the fence right next to the coop. My protective instinct took over and I got my pellet gun and shot it a number of times (had a bad angle and was only able to shoot it from behind, so I couldn't get a clean kill. It went limp right up on top of the fence after about seven pellets and I thought I had killed it, but came out about 30 minutes later and it was gone (maybe it played dead). I sure expected it to run off after the first shot, but it didn't hardly move.

    Now, I know that many of you will have an issue with me shooting at the critter in a non-lethal way, because now its probably suffering. I feel bad about it too, but in the moment I was in protection mode and I can't exactly fire a .22 in my back yard.

    So this is the thing. I don't think an opossum has any chance of getting into the run or coop, and if the neighbors didn't have a hound dog, I probably would have never been the wiser. But since they do, I imagine these wake-up calls are going to happen with some regularity, unless they lock the dog inside.

    I'm wondering if I should actively try to eliminate predators (via trapping probably), or just let them be and hope that the dog will stop getting so excited? I know it would not be a long-term solution to trap. Last night I couldn't get back to sleep my heart was racing so much. Made me understand people who have PTSD. And even though its legal for us to have chickens, I don't want it to become an issue with the neighbors.

    As always, your experience, thoughts and advice are very much appreciated.
  2. lovemelovemybirds

    lovemelovemybirds Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 28, 2010
    Grand Junction
    I vote for total elimination of the varmint!! I do not live in a place where opossum are an issue?, so I don't know the rule on them..if there is one there are many, or are they pretty soiltary. Either way, we trap and dispose of here. If our dog is what we be alerted to any issues, but there is our dog barking. If your coop is secure that is a good thing. Perhaps between the neighbors dog and the security you have your chickens will be safe. However!!...there may be other neighborhood critters kept as pets outside (rabbits, guinea pigs, small cats, other people with birds) that may not live in secure surroundings that could benefit from removing the varmint. Good luck!!
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2010
  3. moetrout

    moetrout Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 5, 2010
    Milan, MI
    Trap 'em! I started my trapping before my birds were even moved outside. I already knew I had varmints and figured I'd better get a headstart. That opossum will be back. Depending on the pellet gun you used you may not have done anything more that put a little sting on it. I have a crossman 760 (probably one of the most sold pellet guns) and it didn't kill a rabbit with a head shot at 20 feet (not yards!) and rabbits are really easy to kill. Now if you had one of the new 1000fps pellet guns then you probably missed because those things will go right through 'em!

    I say kill 'em all! Those grinners may look cute to some people but I know first hand just how mean and nasty they can be.
  4. Lbrad7

    Lbrad7 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 19, 2010
    Ringgold, GA
    Do yourself and your neighbors a favor...trap em and dispatch of them. Your chickens will thank you.
  5. Jajika

    Jajika Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 24, 2007
    Northern California
    Why don't you enclose your chickens with hardwire clothe or something similar so you don't have to deal with trapping or eliminating. Seems like a good solution to me?
  6. matimeo

    matimeo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 29, 2010
    Quote:Go back and read the original post again.
  7. boykin2010

    boykin2010 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 26, 2010
    South Georgia
    just shoot the possum whenever there is a problem. they are very hardy creatures and you should always make sure they r dead before you leave them b. One of the best things to do though is to put a floodlight next to your coop it scares away anything that moves near your coop.
  8. Tala

    Tala Flock Mistress

    Possums aren't too bad, IMO, but if they get in they will kill your birds. Raccoons are really bad.Even if they can't get in, they are very destructive in their trying.
    Set a trap for them, because they will come out of the woodwork.
    They live in the city everywhere, eating outdoor pet's food and forraging in garbage cans or dumpsters. Last time I was at the gas station around dusk there was a raccoon and a cat out there sniffing around, while plenty of people were coming and going. City critters are used to humans.

    Once you get them in the trap it's easier to kill them safely, I wouln't be shooting up along the fenceline with neighbors behind me either, but if you miss them in the trap you're aiming downward so it's not such a big threat. You can also take the trap and all out to the sticks if you need to shoot out of the city. If all else fails, you can drown them, but I prefer headshots for an instant kill - coz they never know it's coming.
  9. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    I have had some experience with oppossums on almost personal level. The most recent with an adult that kept getting into feed barrels. It was initially most interested in the feed itself. After a few visits and my greater effort to cover barrels and reduce over feeding, the oppossum then starting trying to get into pens. I have a handled live oppossums by hand many times so ran it down and caught it by tail. Then I carried the complaining varment and tossed it gently over fence and shortly thereafter it ran off. Next night it came back so each successive time I treated a little more roughly thinking it would decide not to come back. Abuse got to point that any furhter would be excessive. Ultimately had to dispatch it. When it comes to food, they seem not too learn what not to go for, at least if all they have to deal with is abuse.
  10. Mattemma

    Mattemma Overrun With Chickens

    Aug 12, 2009
    I would set out traps and be proactive about killing animals in the yard.The dog will bark.That is a given.Mine did when I kept them outside at night by the house.I wanted them to bark when there was activity,though multiple 3am wake ups due to neighbors teens was a bit annoying.The neighbors will make a change if it bothers them.Atleast right now you have a free warning system!

    The motion sensor flood light on the coop area sounds like a good idea too.

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