So the others morning, bright and early, I heard a bunch of noise outside my window- it startled me awake. Then I heard the chickens. I jumped up and ran to the back door, I was kind of hesitant since we were told there’s been a coyote around- but I looked out and didn’t see anything large and the chickens were flying out of the coop one crazy bird at a time. I was so scared to open the nesting area but wanted to make sure all of the chickens were out. I opened the front access and there was an opossum. When I knew for sure all of the chicks were out, I locked the opossum in the coop… I didn’t want to let it out since it was still dark and I was afraid it would go after the chicks again (and I couldn’t find one.)
When I came inside I couldn’t go back to sleep right away so I started researching opossums and chickens. Here is what we learned about opossums:
- They do kill chickens. Sometimes they just bite their necks and drink their blood! Usually they eat the chickens bum first. They eat eggs and chicks…. They will eat anything and everything so don’t leave anything out and keep your property clean.
- They don’t carry their prey away, it’s left where they kill it.
- They can open standard coop locks. I read to put nails behind the sliding/hinge locks so they can’t be pushed open. Raccoons are much better at this.
- It’s a marsupial, like a kangaroo they carry their young in a pouch.
- They do not carry rabies nor other diseases, their body temp is too hot. I did not fact check this.
- They hunt until just before sunrise.
- If you have a fenced yard and a dog, the poop will attract them. Opossums literally will eat anything. I read multiple times not leave any food/water out at night.
- They travel solo unless they have babies.
When the sun rose we went outside for Beau to see the opossum, and to my total surprise-the main entrance of the coop was open and the opossum was gone!
When Beau got out of school we proceeded to the Tractor Supply Store. We got 3 more nesting boxes, feed, meal worms, a scoop and a water bucket for the yard. Then we came home and cleaned, rearranged and rigged the coop (along with the rabbits’ house.) I couldn’t get the chickens to go in the coop at dusk so I had to catch them one at a time LOL. It took a while. The first one I out in went crazy and got out, but she calmed down. I had some calming alfalfa hay that we put in each of the boxes. I think everyone slept well, definitely no unwanted intruder in the coop 🙏 prayers the chicks get in the coop on their own tonight since they were safe last night.