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Thread: Hawk and chicken

  1. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Luter View Post
    I always found opossums to be indiscriminate killers. We had more that one decimate our henhouse when I was a kid. We'd follow the feather trail back to the tree they were nesting in and extract them from their lair with buckshot. A ball bat just make them curl up and play dead. I was raised to be a live and let live guy (and still am), but on the farm two critters were exterminated with extreme prejudice: Rats and 'Possums.
    I grew up on a poultry farm and we never had problems with possums - and there were possums in the woods near us. Most of our problems were with feral dogs and cats. Occasionally snakes but that was few and far between. I don't ever remember a possum coming into the hen house. But if they did, I'd expect them to go for the chicken feed, rather than the chickens. They're much more scavengers than killers.

    I'd have to shoot the dogs and cats. They would just keep coming back. The dogs ran in packs but the cats would be solitary.

    Mike
    Last edited by Mike Henderson; 12-06-2019 at 9:14 PM.
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  2. #32
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Henderson View Post
    A feral cat got in to our baby chicks one time. He just killed each one and stacked them in a pile. I discovered him after he had killed maybe 20 chicks. I quickly left and got the .22 and went back to the chicken house. I buried the cat and the dead chicks together.

    Mike

    [We also occasionally had a snake get into the chicken house. If we had baby chicks, the snake would swallow several baby chicks whole. Other times, it would swallow several eggs whole. I understand that the snake would then wrap itself around a post and break the eggs. Never saw that but was told that (about breaking the eggs).]
    Twice I've caught black snakes in the nest boxes in the chicken house. One had an egg halfway in it's mouth - I pulled out the egg but missed the opportunity for a great picture. The other had just swallowed an egg and I could feel at least one crushed egg further down it's length. I read that snakes have bony projections on their spine which break the eggs when they contract powerful muscles.

    snake_eggs_IMG_20140823_133052_513.jpg snake_peacocks.jpg

    The worst was a big black snake who chased two peahens off a clutch of about 30 eggs so all the embryos died. I found the snake in the nest box. Peafowl eggs are WAY too big for a black snake so it was just curled around one egg, probably thinking frustrated snake thoughts.

    All snakes get moved to a friends place about two miles away.

    And I had a skunk dig under the wall at the peacock house, climb up on the roost, and grab and eat part of a young female. This made me unhappy, for one thing they are worth at least $100 each. The next day that skunk went to skunk heaven, or wherever skunks go.

    JKJ

  3. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom M King View Post
    If you have horses, opossums are not exactly harmless. They are the only carriers of EPM. We have 150 acres of woodland, they are welcome to stay there, in complete freedom. Once they start coming to the barn, or the yards, they don't stop coming back, and crap all over everywhere, like smaller rodents do, only more productive. Vultures have to eat too.

    I'm aware of the 'possum horse problem. Any that hang around the barn or poultry houses get to visit the live traps. I once caught 6 possums in the barn in 7 evenings. The turkey vultures here love them too.

    JKJ

  4. #34
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    Longview WA
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    It is always something. When we had chickens there was close mesh wire cloth at the bottom of the hen house to keep out various animals. The door latch was made to be a bit beyond the abilities of the local chicken preditors. They mostly went missing when outside for the day.

    After a while the chicken feed on the ground attracted mice and rats. We started trapping the rodents. Then the weasels came to eat the dead rodents. Often they would drag the trap off into their tunnels. We attached light chain to the traps and secured them to the walls.

    Eventually after the last chicken succumbed to a raccoon attack the rodent population left and took the weasels with them.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  5. #35
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
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    Lake Gaston, Henrico, NC
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    I could very easily do without the chickens too, but most of us understand the "happy Wife" thing. Since I replaced the roof on the chicken house with standing seam metal last Spring, I guess we'll have chickens here as long as we're here. I didn't want to have to redo the roof again though.

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