possum getting chickensgreenspun.com : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread
So far I've lost 3 chickens in the last three days. They are in a 2' high tractor with one end covered in plastic, black; the other end covered in plastic, clear, up to 1'. The top is half black and half clear. The first night I lost 1, then a recovered the area it looked like the attack was coming from with more clear plastic. No attack that night. Last night the it got 2 and left 1/2 of the chicken in the coop. The plastic was just ripped off. There is no holes in the chicken wire, but a few places where the wire is bent as though the possum had reached in and grabbed, then pulled. any ideas? I live in town but the possums have to be the culpret. No dog could do this, and while there is a cat who hangs around, there are a lot of possums in this area, it is not unusual to find them as road kill. annette
-- annette (email@example.com), May 01, 2000
I had possum problems for a while. Go to the hardware store and buy a medium size live animal trap. Tell them what you want it for, they will know what size you need. These are somewhat expensive. In some areas you can rent these from animal control, the dog catcher, or the vet. Set it up near your chicken tractor and bait it with half of a nice juicy apple. In the morning you will probably have your possum in the trap. It's up to you what to do with it then. They have very sharp teeth and claws, so be carefull. Good luck.
-- Les (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 01, 2000.
Annette, Had a possum problem also, so we put our sheltie's dog house close to the hen house--as she barks when ever anything is around. She barked in the night & my hubby & I ran out with the 22. He shot the possum. I said to him, honey ya got that possum with the first shot through the head. What were the other shots for? He said, as much trouble as we have had with vandalism, threats, & harrassment in this town-- I wanted the neighbors to know we are through messing around! ha! Good luck getting your possum! Sonda in Ks.
-- Sonda (email@example.com), May 01, 2000.
I've had possum problems also, as recent as 10 days ago. (Until I capture/kill the critter, I suspect it to be a coon or possum, no way of tellin till you actually see it, unless it leaves footprints). Once I've discovered depradations, I've got two options. One is to check several times a night to see if the critters are in the chicken house. Sometimes the chickens put up a ruckus, mostly they just let something eat them without puttin up a fuss. If I hear em acting up, I'll investigate with a .22 rifle or pistol. Second option is to tie several tin cans together up on top of the edge boards of the pin, or near the door to the coop. If a coon or possum touches it, they fall over, make noise, and I investigate. With extreme prejudice.
I've tried traps, both live and steel jaw. I find if I've got a coon/possum eatin chickens, they're going to come back at least every other night for a snack. Depending on the traps alone has cost me lots of chickens. Now I rely solely on .22 bullets. Coons and possums aren't endangered, so I don't hesitate terminatin them. Now I have had owl and hawk problems, but I put up with them. A good shotgun blast will scare off owls, if they haven't found a meal yet. I shot in the air at a great horned owl last summer, that'd swept in and got a full grown hen in the middle of the day. My guineas warned me, but I was preoccupied. Once I figured out what was up, it was too late. Good luck...
-- phil briggs (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 01, 2000.
Hello We have had major problems with possums,, but livetraps never worked for us. The only way to get rid of what you have around now is to staty up a few nights in a row and shoot them or we have also used with Very good results,, Mole Patrol posion,, they eat that readly. Just make sure none of or other animals can get to it. They won`t touch the posion designed for possums. Go figure.
-- Bergere (email@example.com), May 02, 2000.
No loss tonight, but that just may be its pattern. What I did is put a 1' barrier around the base of the 2' tall tractor. With luck this will work. I can't get live traps right now, budget crunch. I do have a shot gun, but I also live within the city limits and have lots of close neighbors. Not an option. No racoons in the area, although there are some several miles away. The possums mostly have that this area staked out as theirs. Will keep posted. annette
-- annette (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 02, 2000.
Annette, I've tried twice to post an answer -- don't know what has happened to them!! Anyway, for a permanent solution, someone had suggested to us to build our chicken tractors with hardware cloth and long fencing staples instead of chicken wire. We have some long barbed staples that would be even better, but they came with the welded panels we bought for sheep feeders a while back, and I don't know if you could get them from a feed store or hardware store locally or not. It would be worth a try, as I'm sure neither coons nor possums could pull a chicken tractor apart if it was built with hardware cloth and those barbed staples!! Of course, then they'll probably find some other way to get in!! :-)
-- Kathleen Sanderson (email@example.com), May 02, 2000.
If shooting guns in town is a problem (!!!) try getting a good quality air rifle. I have killed possums with one of these. It took more than one shot at fairly close range, but possums are pretty tough to kill anyway.
-- Les (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 03, 2000.
If you sprinkle flour (from the kitchen) around the tractor, you will get prints of the animal that's stalking your girls. Also, if you ever do get a live trap, and get a rat or possum, you can just pick it up with a pitchfork and drop it in a trough of water. Best of luck to you -- I feel your pain! I set a live trap last night to catch a chicken-eating rat!
-- Rachel (email@example.com), May 03, 2000.
So far, so good. 2 days and no lost chickens. By the way, the air rifle would get me in as much trouble as the shot gun. You see I live right next door to a 4 plex. And that means without question someone will call the cops, and I'd be the one in trouble. Oh the joy of living in the city! Maybe someday I'll be able to get out, but for now I'll have to put with it. Annette
-- annette (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 03, 2000.
annette, I havre my pen completely covrered with 1" chicken wire. I thought for sure It was predator proof. This morning I went down to the pen and a big possum was in the chicken pen and had killed a hen & her 4 chicks and was eating them. I found a place where the 1" wire was lapped over about a foot , about one foot off the ground. It must have been really hard for him to get in there and when I went out there, he couldn't get out or it would have been really hard for him to get out. This part won't heljp you because of your close neighbors but I did him in with a .410 shotgun. I guess it's really hard to build a possum proof pen but I'm going to wire up the place where he came in and keep trying. I firmly believe that predator proof pens are the only answer. If you kill one predator, another will come alone later. Hope this helps a little. Eagle
-- eagle (email@example.com), May 04, 2000.
Eagle, as I said, so far, so good. No more losses. The barrier that I put up was underlayment in 1' high sections nailed securely to the tractor. What I had was also 1" chicken wire, so you might try this. What a horrible thing to find when you go to see your chickens! I hope you still have some and good for you on nailing the sucker!!! annette
-- annette (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 04, 2000.