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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Visitor in the chicken house.

Sunday morning, in the chicken house, I found a dead chicken.  She was an old hen, though, so I figured it was natural causes--I couldn't really tell, though.  Then.....I had gone outside to "potty" the dogs before I went to work at the group home last night.  I noticed that Buffy, our collie, was staring at the chicken house (not normal).  Then I noticed that there were a couple of chickens in the pen (not in the house) at 9:30 at night.  That was alarming, because they all go to "bed" as soon as it gets dark.

So I grabbed a flashlight and went into the chicken house to see what was going on.  There was an opossum on the nest boxes, just staring back at me!!!!  I shined the flashlight on it for a minute, hoping it would get scared and leave, but it just kept staring at me, and (since I have seen the teeth those things have) I started to envision what might happen if it launched itself at me and clawed/bit me when I was out in the yard all by myself and DH was not home.  So I went back out into the yard to try to figure out what to do.  If I left the opossum in there, I'd undoubtedly be minus another chicken in the morning.  But I didn't have a gun and wouldn't trust myself to be a good enough shot with it anyhow.  I was in a hurry, as I didn't want to be late to work, so I grabbed a "Tidy Cats" cat litter bucket and propped open the "human sized" door to the chicken hutch.  Then I grabbed another bucket (I don't know what I was going to do, but I figured I'd use it as "protection") and went back inside.  The opossum was still in the same spot, still staring.  Boy, his tail was huge and looked like a rat's tail, except it was about the circumference of my thumb!  But the opossum was a smaller one than I was used to seeing, about the size of an adult cat....anyhow....




I took my bucket and put it next to the opossum's head.  He STILL didn't leave!  But he didn't make any noise or growl or anything, so I pushed a little.  He slid over a ways.  Then I pushed some more.  More sliding.  When he got to the edge of the nest boxes and was about to fall of the edge, he grabbed on with his claws.  So I took both my hands and pushed that bucket as hard as I could and all of a sudden he fell down and ran away. 

Talk about adrenalin!!!!

And as you might have noticed, I hate killing, so I was pleased that I got rid of him (at least temporarily) without killing him for doing what he was created to do.  I'm sure now that he (or she)'s the reason the chicken was dead in there.  But I was happy that it was only one, and not more than that.

7 comments:

GB's Mom said...

You are braver then I am. I would have closed the coop as soon as I saw the teeth! The chickens would have been on their own until Hubby came back!

Anonymous said...

I think you were very brave!
- Daisy in AZ

marythemom said...

What's to keep it from coming back tomorrow night?

Mary in TX

Carol said...

Typically, because of my schedule, I leave the little "chicken-sized" door open so the chickens can go in and out as they please. A predator means that I now have to lock them in every night for a week or two. Opossums are nomadic and don't stick around long if there isn't a food source.

perphila said...

What fun before work!

Throwing small rocks works too. They get annoyed and leave. Not big ones to hurt but big enough to be a bother. It's a long distance way to get rid of them that doesn't involve shooting. We also use airsoft guns sometimes. They don't kill either. We use them on the seagulls and crows.

In the Pink said...

That is one freaking looking picture of opossum teeth. eegh!

Pann said...

I didn't know oppossums would hunt! I thought they were scavengers. Bravely done!