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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug. 10, 2010
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    Western NY
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    Default Possum problem

    A possum has taken up residence in my chicken coop. Are they supposed to be hibernating? We're having a very mild winter. Not sure what to do...chickens are very upset....



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug. 7, 2005
    Location
    Georgia
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    2,605

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by HPFarmette View Post
    A possum has taken up residence in my chicken coop. Are they supposed to be hibernating? We're having a very mild winter. Not sure what to do...chickens are very upset....
    Those suckers will kill chickens. We've caught them red handed. Even found a baby in the chicken pen once who thought he'd catch a chicken. THAT was funny. He was lucky the chickens didn't eat him.
    I'd drag him out of there and send him packing.
    You know why cowboys don't like Appaloosas?" - Answer: Because to train a horse, you have to be smarter than it is.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr. 26, 2009
    Location
    Bellville, TX
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    125

    Default

    An open coop is an invitation. Close it up at night with the chickens in and the opossum out. Problem solved! Because if the opossum gets in there, so will other predators.
    Horse Feathers Farm



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb. 23, 2007
    Location
    Area III
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    Default

    Before we resigned ourselves to always keeping big dogs (Maremma and Great Pyrenees) to keep the coyotes and other opportunists away, we had a problem with raccoons and possums showing up to gnosh on the cat food I put out for the barn cats. The possums were too stupid to be afraid and I would just pick them up by their tails, drop them into a cat carrier and relocate them miles down the road. Of course, the raccoons were not docile enough for such treatment. I will say the possums fouled the carriers something terrible so that I always bleached them heavily to clean them afterwards. Now it's just easier keeping the LGDs around. As an aside, none of our LGDs are good with poultry and one actively hates anything avian.
    "No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted." ~Aesop
    Fat Cat Farm Sport Horses



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar. 26, 2005
    Location
    Back to Normal.. or as close as I'll ever get
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    11,039

    Default

    Eeeewww!

    Even if it doesn't eat a chicken it will most certainly eat your eggs.

    Try a live trap baited with cat food...but beware you may very well catch a hen unless you can set the trap outside the coop when hens are locked inside.
    *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
    Steppin' Out 1988-2004
    Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
    Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug. 10, 2010
    Location
    Western NY
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    Default

    Thank you people. I do lock the coop every night, but he might have been in there already and I didn't see him in the dark. He was very sluggish and stayed in the bedding even though I was trying to push him out with a hoe. I let the chickens out and then I had to go to work. If he's still in there tonight and as sluggish as he was this morning I will move him like FatCat said. With precautions....



  7. #7
    Join Date
    May. 11, 2011
    Posts
    12

    Default

    My dogs found one playing dead one time-they were having a great time playing with it. It "woke up" when I shot it though. Only good possum is a really dead possum.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr. 14, 2006
    Location
    Saco, Maine
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    4,752

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    He was sluggish bc he was playing possum in the face of danger (you). Chances are quite good when you aren't there he's going to wake up and eat all your eggs and maybe a hen or 2. Get him the he!! out of there. Does your coop have wire on the bottom as well as all sides and top? If not, he's rooting his way in there.
    Proud and achy member of the Eventing Grannies clique.



  9. #9
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    Aug. 10, 2010
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    Western NY
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    Default

    Yes, the coop has a wire grid between the ground and the floor. Now I realize why the rooster had not gone all the way in last night. I should have realized something was wrong.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb. 14, 2003
    Location
    Windward Farm, Washougal, WA- our work in progress, our money pit, our home!
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    Default

    In 40 years of chicken keeping, I've never had a possum kill a chicken, but perhaps I just am unusual. We even had one live under a shed in the chicken pen for years. (now, Raccoons are a different story-ugh). If there is food available, they certainly won't kill a hen. They are menacing looking, but quite harmless creatures when cornered. Give them a way out, and figure out how he/she is getting in. They are pretty opportunistic feeders. Perhaps in other parts of the country, they attack chickens, but ours are fairly small, and we must have plenty of eats.
    Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug. 9, 2007
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    9,733

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by pj View Post
    Those suckers will kill chickens. We've caught them red handed. Even found a baby in the chicken pen once who thought he'd catch a chicken. THAT was funny. He was lucky the chickens didn't eat him.
    I'd drag him out of there and send him packing.
    PJ is right. I had problems with possums getting after my bantams who roosted in the tree by the feedhouse. My father's llewellyn setters would climb as high as they could and Daddy would shoot the possums each time they came after chickens.

    OP, use cat carrier to corral possum. Rehome possum in wooded area miles away.. A possum came into our former barn to eat cat food. I had to catch him and BO's hubby took him to woods miles away and dumped him out. EPM is awful. I saw one horse with it at our first boarding barn.

    Better to rehome possum and have people say how mean you are than to have horse with EPM.



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr. 14, 2006
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    4,058

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    Stinking, nasty EPM carrying beasts!!! We have caught and killed 8 so far this winter. Luckily eating our cat food and hopefully staying away from the horses and feed. GIANT rats in my opinion. Coons are destructive and foul tempered, but at least don't carry disease to the horses!! But a coon will tear open 40 bags of feed in an evening, poop in it and leave the mess!! I don't go and hunt them down, but MY barn, MY rules!! No vermin welcome!!
    www.crosscreeksporthorses.com
    Breeders of Painted Thoroughbreds and Uniquely Painted Irish Sport Horses in Northeast Oklahoma



  13. #13
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    Feb. 23, 2007
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    Area III
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    Default

    Correct me if I am wrong but opossums are not the only vector (carriers) of EPM and I believe birds and even cockroaches have been pinpointed, so I don't think laying the whole blame for EPM at the feet of opossums is entirely fare. I'll continue to just relocate any that manage to get past the dogs.
    "No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted." ~Aesop
    Fat Cat Farm Sport Horses



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb. 14, 2003
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    Windward Farm, Washougal, WA- our work in progress, our money pit, our home!
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    I really hate it when folks demonize an animal. Possums are certainly not fierce predators roaming the countryside attacking chickens and casting off EPM protozoa like a flame thrower! There are many sources of EPM and in my experience, raccoons are much more likely killers of hens (well, dogs and hawks certainly have taken a much higher toll on my flocks).
    Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec. 18, 2006
    Location
    NY
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    Quote Originally Posted by Calvincrowe View Post
    I really hate it when folks demonize an animal. Possums are certainly not fierce predators roaming the countryside attacking chickens and casting off EPM protozoa like a flame thrower! There are many sources of EPM and in my experience, raccoons are much more likely killers of hens (well, dogs and hawks certainly have taken a much higher toll on my flocks).


    I am sure a large possum can kill a chicken, but I would be they are more likely to steal the eggs. Although the possums I've encountered would probably actually die from fright if a few chickens ganged up on them. They're not exactly brave or fierce. Or smart. It might not be able to find its way out.

    Most likely it was looking for a warm place to sleep, and an easy meal of chicken feed or a stray egg. But best to relocate it for the sake of your chickens - it probably stressed them out a bit!



  16. #16
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    Aug. 10, 2010
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    Western NY
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    Default

    Thank you again for the advice. Yes, the feed dish was tipped over. Yes, he looked very cozy in the hay bedding I have in there. I will be getting him out of there ASAP. I couldn't deal with it this morning because of this JOB I have (that feeds us all!) but no more possum in chicken house tonight!



  17. #17
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    Sep. 5, 2011
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    Default

    Possums are NOT violent predators. They're naturally slow-moving (thus why you see them so often as roadkill) & definitely prefer to take the easy way out throughout their lives. This includes feeding. They do not hibernate, & are omniverous - ingesting anything they come across that's either not moving, or moves as slowly as they do. This includes fruit, insects, rodents (if possible), carrion, human garbage, etc., etc. They are not set up to chase down & kill anything that might remotely fight back - including a full-grown chicken. Now if they manage to sneak up on a sleeping bird & injure it to the point where they can then do it in without having to really put themselves out, that's not saying they won't. But they're not dangerous chicken predators; eggs & chicks, yes - full-grown standard-size birds? No.

    If I were you, I'd poke/annoy him out of your coop & just make sure not to accidentally shut him in there again.



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