What kind of problems do possums cause

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by freedomfrom4, Feb 27, 2010.

  1. freedomfrom4

    freedomfrom4 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    696
    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2009
    Location:
    northern Kentucky
    My kid caught one in a trap and killed it. What problems do possums cause? We have chickens, rabbits, and goats. Do they eat eggs or kill others? We have had a an egg thief and some one getting into the goat grain. I assumed it was a coon when I saw the poo, but could the possum have been the guilty culprit?
     
  2. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    7,154
    Joined:
    May 11, 2002
    A possum will eat just about anything including small animals.
     

  3. CountryWannabe

    CountryWannabe Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,375
    Joined:
    May 31, 2004
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    They will steal your eggs, eat your chicks, kill your hens, nibble the feet off young rabbits in suspended cages... I am not a fan of possums. (possi?? possa? LOL)

    Mary
     
  4. Janis Sauncy

    Janis Sauncy Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,113
    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2006
    Location:
    Washington
    Sure, they'll get into grain if they can. They're opportunistic but pretty lazy, too, in my opinion, and will go for whatever is easiest. It is best to keep your animal feeds secured in such a way that nothing can get into it.

    Now, I'm going to go against popular opinion here and state that I don't think 'possums are the super killers they're often portrayed to be. In fact, I read somewhere where, because of their body shape, they are physically unable to take down and kill a full-size chicken. I suppose that doesn't necessarily mean they won't get into a nest and steal eggs and/or baby birds.

    They are also scavengers and are much more likely to get caught cleaning up the kill of a raccoon, dog, whatever.

    And they are migratory and tend to not stay in one place for long.

    They don't bother me here. One will show up occasionally but since they can't get into the feed nor can they get into the chicken pen and coop, they find the pickings pretty lean and move on. Plus, I suspect they don't think much of all my dogs. :grin:

    I can't say I can think of one single time one has caused me any real damage.......and I've had chickens and ducks for over thirty years.

    Now, coyotes and raccoons are a different matter........

    Edited to add: If I had horses, I probably wouldn't be quite so complacent about 'possums because having them around can be deadly.
    http://horses.about.com/od/diseasesandillness/p/epmhoirse.htm
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2010
  5. CarolynRenee

    CarolynRenee Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,395
    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2008
    Location:
    The Beautiful Ozarks
    We kill any opossum we catch. We set a live trap out every so often when chickens or eggs start going missing. And about 3/4 of the time it's a opossum. Other times it's a raccoon (they are dispatched of also).

    We've caught a opossum "red handed" in the hen house one night. The bugger killed two chickens & ate the insides out of it clean as a whistle before we got it.
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2010
  6. TRAILRIDER

    TRAILRIDER Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    3,681
    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2007
    Location:
    Kentucky
    I have had oppossums kill chickens, eat eggs, eat garden vegetables etc. But my main concern with them is that they can spread EPM to horses. EPM acts like west nile virus attacking the nervous system. But EPM is debillatating and incurable.
    Personally I shoot any and all oppossums that come on my property. Mary.
     
  7. Kmac15

    Kmac15 This is my life

    Messages:
    3,792
    Joined:
    May 18, 2007
    Location:
    SC
    caught a few killing chickens red handed. We kill any we can find.
     
  8. freedomfrom4

    freedomfrom4 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    696
    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2009
    Location:
    northern Kentucky
    Thanks for the info. We do have horses. The feed that something is getting into is what I have set out for the goats, not the main stash. I have some goats that I put out all the feed I can for and they don't eat it all. Well the poo left behind tells me something else besides the goats have been feasting. What do I have to be sure of with the horses?
     
  9. Bearfootfarm

    Bearfootfarm This Space For Rent Supporter

    Messages:
    47,688
    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2006
    Location:
    Eastern North Carolina
    They can easily kill grown chickens. They most often do it at night when the birds are roosting
     
  10. texican

    texican Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    12,323
    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2003
    Location:
    Carthage, Texas
    I don't hate the species, and don't begrudge them their existence. It's just that they can't set up their home in my chicken house. They'll eat eggs, chicks, and full grown chickens. They attack at night, and rarely 'lose' the battle with a complacent docile chicken. I usually don't have to deal with them... the dogs roll them first.
     
  11. Minelson

    Minelson Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    24,108
    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2007
    Location:
    South Dakota
    Ditto...
     
  12. 65284

    65284 Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    2,349
    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2003
    Location:
    Missouri
    Possums aren't always the laid back roll over and play dead animals some folks think. Some are vicious fighters that can inflict a lot of damage when the playing dead routine doesn't work. I have caught hundreds of them, I made a lot of my spending money as a kid hunting and trapping them for the hides.

    They will eat anything they can scavenge, steal, or overpower and are a more efficient and powerful predator than a lot of people give them credit for. I caught one in the act of killing a new born pygmy goat kid.

    Our predator problems pretty much went away when the Pyrs arrived on the farm.
     
  13. Frenchy

    Frenchy Wrangler's Roost

    Messages:
    551
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2005
    Location:
    Arkansas
    If I see one out in the woods etc I have no trouble letting him go that's his home ......... but if I see him under my cages walking round my pens or up in my roost trees etc. he is history.......

    as to what they get into an do ......... once when I lived out in CA we had this really gentle cat that showed up on our porch we kept her there an gave her a box to use as her bed, she ended up having kittens in the box one morning I heard kittens crying went out to find one dead on porch an a possum going over the side with another in his mouth running off when I caught him an killed him the kitten was already dead when I got back, found out he had killed 2 more in the box...........

    wild animals have their place but there are some things ya can't abide from them ........
     
  14. ronbre

    ronbre Brenda Groth Supporter

    Messages:
    7,817
    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2009
    Location:
    Michigan
    a lot of people believe that possum are harmless..but they are not, their teeth and nails are like needles and they'll rip a dog or cat to shreds and are vicious when they attack
     
  15. wally

    wally Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,050
    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2007
    Location:
    NC Kansas
    no problems at all with a well placed .22 between the eyes
     
  16. meanwhile

    meanwhile Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    3,117
    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2007
    Location:
    Western North Carolina
    Well - at our place the problem with possums is that they get on the front porch, which ticks off the dogs, they bark, this annoys the cats, they start scratching anyone nearby, the kids start hollering, all heck break loose.....the dogs chase the possums to behind the barn, the cats get loose, the kids chase the dogs.......and......it is total chaos.....
     
  17. Kris in MI

    Kris in MI Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    4,634
    Joined:
    May 29, 2002
    Location:
    Mid-Michigan
    I am a horse person foremost, and am not a possum fan. Whenever I find one in the barn, I turn the dogs on it (they love a good fresh possum dinner). One of my dogs will even scent and hunt them when out walking in the woods and has dug several out of burrows.
     
  18. Backfourty,MI.

    Backfourty,MI. Katie Supporter

    Messages:
    19,965
    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2007
    Location:
    Twining, Mi.
    We get rid of any Oppossums, raccons or coyotes that we see or catch, we call it Recycling!
     
  19. culpeper

    culpeper Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,187
    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2002
    Location:
    Australia
    Here in Australia, possums can be a problem too, but we can't hold it against them if they interfere with our way of life - they have to get on as best they can, and they are opportunists just like us!

    They have a particular preference for fruit, I've found. But the worst problem I've had with them is if they get in under your roof and take up residence in your ceiling cavity. I don't know how to put this politely - but they have a very efficient excretory system, and they tend to do it in large quantities. A puddle can easily seep through the ceiling - and the smell is absolutely horrendous - not to mention the more solid excretions!! Need I mention the irritation of having them scrabbling about above your head while you're trying to sleep??

    One solution is NOT to grow trees close to your house.

    They are a protected species here in Australia.
     
  20. insocal

    insocal Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,013
    Joined:
    May 14, 2005
    Location:
    Southern California
    They can carry typhus, a disease humans can get that is not to be trifled with.