Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The chicken fortress, night 2

I'm going to start with a warning: There is a picture of a dead opossum in this post.

On the weekend, we finally installed the electric fending around the chicken tractor, to keep our remaining 2 pullets safe until they're big enough to go into the secure big girl coop. I chose to run 3 lines around the whole thing, secured by 4 corner posts. It was the cheapest and simplest solution I could come up with.

The wiring and installation wasn't rocket science. I didn't spend the money on a tester, so I zapped myself to check it was working. Ouch! But good, right?
Imagine my surprise when only 2 mornings later, I wake up to something fuzzy and dark gray messing with my pullets. It was 5:30am and the adult hens made a ruckus to warn me, so I ran out and what did I find? I saw a possum running away. Why wasn't he shocked by the fence?

Well, his wife took the bullet for him, bit into the fence line and died right there, shorting the fence for him to keep bothering my pullets.

The story gets crazier though - as I stare in disbelief and wonder what on earth I should do now, I see the underbelly of the dead possum move, and a smaller critter climbing out, and up the adult chicken pen. 


I eventually got gloves and pried the possum of the line (hard! That was hard! I never would have thought I'd have to pry open a possum's mouth with my hands in my life). Another life baby was on her belly, and several dead babies still inside her pouch. I felt terrible. I wanted to protect my critters, but really didn't aim to inflict death, hence the electric fence as opposed to a trap or shotgun approach! Then again, make no mistake, while I ran inside to get the camera and husband (in that order), the other possum came back and attacked the chicks again...

Later in the morning, I called a local wildlife clinic about the situation. They judged the two remaining babies to be old enough to survive on their own, and said they should be released, so that's what we did. Now I'll spend the day consoling a very confused 4yo who at the same time was very worried for the chicks and wanted to keep the possums as pets. I hope to find the wisdom to say something that makes sense of it all for her.

 Wildcrafting Wednesday


  1. Sorry this is happening to you! Hang in there!

  2. Thanks Kaat. I'm putting a camera out because I think I'll get that bear tonight :-)

  3. Wie eng doch selbst im eigenen Garten Leben und Tod beieinander liegen. Ich bewundere deine Geschicklichkeit, damit umzugehen, und kann mir vorstellen, was die Kinder - vor allem offenbar deine Mittlere - dabei an Gefuehlen erleben mussten.

  4. Ugh... I hate raccoons and possums! Just shoot them... they'll keep coming back. Better them dead than more chickies.