My first predator. Yuck! Thankfully it’s a small one – at least for right now. Small enough to fit inside my shoe, even. But it was inside the chicken run, and that isn’t an appropriate place for it!
Opossums are omnivores. They’ll eat chicken feed and chickens. They’ll eat your garbage, dig through your compost pile, etc, etc, etc. But the easier it is to eat, the more likely the ‘possum will eat it. So far it appears content with the veggie types of food that are around the run, because it hasn’t bothered the chickens yet.
Opossums climb easily – trees, bushes, and fences. Their skin is thick, so they are not hurt when they try to push through small openings and they often succeed in getting into areas you wouldn’t think they could enter. When confronted, they can stand their ground, show their teeth and hiss. They bite if cornered. Nasty little creatures, but they do run well when frightened.
I don’t know how this one got into the run. When I entered, it was standing in the middle of the area. It saw me and hissed but when I walked toward it, it turned and ran. It went around the corner of the coop and was gone before I got there. No clue how it got in or out. Looks like I’ll be doing some more predator proofing!
The Cornish Rock X chickens are growing well. But when they are asleep they don’t wake up for anything – and don’t want to move when they do wake up. Those are characteristics of terrific* prey animals.
So I’m on predator alert now. Checking, reinforcing, looking for an inexpensive humane trap. I will catch this opossum, eventually. Anyone have good opossom recipies?
*(Does anybody else have to look up how to spell “terrific” after reading Charlotte’s Web? I do. Once the goose spelled it “T double-E double-R double-R double-I double-F double-I double-C, C, C” I was a goner and could never spell it again. Sheesh. But you and your kids should read the book anyway. There are no opossums in it.)