1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

What do I do with this opossom?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by BackyardDove, Nov 18, 2015.

  1. BackyardDove

    BackyardDove Chillin' With My Peeps

    233
    8
    64
    Oct 8, 2014
    Central Texas
    For starters, we've had this opossum living underneath our house for at least the past few years. I know it's the same possum too because, a few years ago, for the first time, I saw a baby possum crawling on top of our privacy fence and it had absolutely no fear of humans or dogs. It wouldn't get aggressive, if he was spotted he'd just freeze up(not play dead, he just won't move) and watch you, and he'd only calmly move away if you got within a couple feet of him. Around that time is also when I began noticing something was making scratch marks in the dirt in our yard. We live near the heart of a rural town, but we happen to live next to a very small patch of undisturbed woodland-like area. And when I say small, I really do mean small, it can't be more than a half an acre. In that small area, a flock of game chickens lives there(They've been there long before we have, I assume somebody just let their chickens loose long ago). We've had several types of wildlife pass through, everything from possums to armadillos to rat snakes, but none of them have ever stayed put because the area is so small. Because of this, I never built an actual enclosed chicken coop. There was no need, the only predator we had when I first got chickens were hawks, and the area I chose made it impossible for a hawk to snatch up any chickens. Ever since I started breeding Silkie chickens, though, everything changed. That possom moved in, and about a year after him a raccoon moved in. I lost several eggs, chicks, doves, and even a silkie hen(Thanks to the raccoon). Since then I've enclosed the Silkie breeding area, reinforced the dove cage, and trapped/relocated the raccoon, but the rest of my chickens are still unprotected at night since they're all adults and are not bantams.

    I decided to not trap the possum at first because he's never really presented an issue. He ate several chicks and eggs, but never harmed an adult, so I just enclosed the area that the chicks are in and let the possum stay. Well, last night, I caught him mere inches away from two of my adult, unprotected hens. These are big hens, but he's a big possum. I scared him off by hitting him with a piece of wood(Again, no fear of humans, so the usual methods of shouting and such had no effect on him..) and I set up a trap next to where he was at last night for if he came back tonight. And, of course, he showed back up tonight and went into the trap.

    What am I suppose to do now? I set up the trap mostly to see if he'd come back, not really to get rid of him. He's been here for a while now, and I know that if I get rid of him then other, more aggressive possums might move in. I don't want to release him back into the yard either because I don't know if he'll hurt my chickens. I would enclose the area that the chickens sleep in, but I'm a full-time college student and final exams are a couple of weeks away, I don't have time to build anything right now. There's also the fact that he's eventually going to be evicted from his home(Aka, living underneath our house), since we're going to repair the damaged siding that he uses to get in and out from under the house. What should I do?
     
  2. Zinniah

    Zinniah Chillin' With My Peeps

    326
    20
    83
    Apr 12, 2015
    Texas
    Only a few options.
    1. Send him to the pound/animal control, they may kill him, or they may relocate.
    2. Release him far far away, not where he will find other peoples chickens to eat, many many miles away. I think this is illegal. At your own risk.
    3. Build him an enclosure, and keep him, it is illegal, you will have to get a license. You could also do it secretly, at your own risk.
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2015
  3. shortgrass

    shortgrass Overrun With Chickens

    3,205
    566
    261
    Mar 14, 2015
    Northern Colorado
    Check your states relocation laws... There's a link to a thread with some in my signature.

    Relocating could very well be illegal.

    I simmer in an old crockpot and feed them to the chickens. ;)
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2015
    1 person likes this.
  4. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

    5,892
    699
    326
    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2015
  5. Tumbling K

    Tumbling K Overrun With Chickens

    10,573
    1,558
    338
    Oct 5, 2015
    Texas
    SSS

    if you don't want to shovel then toss in the 1/2 acre woods.

    Leave the trap in place for the next would be predator.
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. Trefoil

    Trefoil Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,316
    209
    218
    Dec 7, 2011
    You could put in a higher roost for your chickens and release him in the wooded area.
     
  7. BackyardDove

    BackyardDove Chillin' With My Peeps

    233
    8
    64
    Oct 8, 2014
    Central Texas
    I know you're all trying to be helpful, but these answers aren't really helpful :( I don't want to release him far away, because, as I said, others might take his place here. It's also legal in Texas to trap rerelease wildlife, so long as it's not in a town. Texas is way too big with way too much wildlife to be calling animal control every time we wanted to rerelease a wild animal.

    As for the higher roost, I think that's a great idea, except that the roost is attached to the privacy fence, which the possum regularly climbs onto.

    EDIT: Actually, what I might do is I might make the roost lower so that it's more in the middle of the privacy fence. That way he'd have to either fall perfectly onto the roost(Which, I have it rigged so that anything that falls on it that weighs as much as he does will make the roost fall off, and thus wake up all the chickens), or would have to jump up a few feet to climb onto it.
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2015
  8. Skeeter10

    Skeeter10 Out Of The Brooder

    80
    1
    41
    Oct 29, 2015
    id say let him stay but i honestly hate everything that eats chickens or digs holes other than rabbits but if it wereme it would hawk bait
     
  9. BackyardDove

    BackyardDove Chillin' With My Peeps

    233
    8
    64
    Oct 8, 2014
    Central Texas
    Actually, after doing some more research on opossums, I've decided it's probably best to relocate him too. I thought possums didn't eat adult chickens, but I've been reading that, although they don't always go after adults, they certainly can kill one! It's likely that the food supply in that little wooded area has been depleted, and what's left of the flock of wild chickens(the ones that survived the raccoon attacks, that is..) now roost way, way up high in the trees. He's probably getting desperate and, seeing him so close to my hens, has probably decided my chickens can be eaten too.
     
  10. OrganicFarmWife

    OrganicFarmWife Chillin' With My Peeps

    4,873
    328
    238
    Oct 21, 2015
    No where Nebraska
    To keep new opossums away, you are just going to have to make under your house less inviting. I keep a dog for just such problems. But at least fill in the holes and board it up.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by