Monday, February 9, 2009

She brought friends...

Ugh. Just when I thought the opossum problem had happily resolved itself. I should have known better.

They've found the eggs.

And a new spot to hide. Yes, one possum in the nest box and two more in the corner makes THREE 0possums in the hen house. And the one that is peekings its face out of the corner is peeking out from its new hiding spot - inside the wall. There is about a 4" space between the outer wood wall and the inner wood wall of the front of the coop. The inner wall only comes up to four feet. We were able to reach a stick down into the open space from the top, and could feel soft bodies at the bottom. So, maybe we have more than three. Who knows?

My husband tried to 'shoo' the 0possums out. He managed to get the nest box thief out, with help from our newest invention - 'Possum on a Stick. Don't tell the state fair folks about it. Really, don't.

The 0possum really did not want to get off the stick. My husband had to lay the end of the pole on the snow and uncurl it like spaghetti.

We set the live trap out last night. It tripped three times, but caught nothing. I think the trap we have is too small. But if we get a bigger trap, we'll likely catch a chicken. And I don't really want to shell out $50 (or more) on a bigger live trap.

My brother had a suggestion. He works at a factory that makes playground equipment. He said that one time that they had a 0possum hiding under a pallet, they taped up the opening to a garbage can, leaving a small entry-way big enough for the 0possum. Then they put the opening in front of the pallet, and coaxed the 0possum to crawl inside the opening. My brother said the critter was easy to coax and seemed eager to go inside the dark cubby to hide from the big scary people.

So we're going to give that a try tonight. Tape over the opening to a garbage bin leaving a small opening, put the bin in the corner of the coop, and use a crow-bar to gently pry away the inner wooden wall. Make sure to block all other means of escape. Coax the 0possums (one or more) into the bin, and then tip it up and quickly put on the lid. A short drive to an abandoned farmstead, and release. Maybe we'll have to catch one at a time, maybe we can get all of them in one night.

These are our plans. But as we have learned, the best laid plans of mice and men (or possums and men?) gang oft agley.


Harold Phillips said...

Oi... good luck with that, my dear... my experience with Oregon opossums (we didn't have them in Alaska) is that they're stubborn beasts who aren't likely to do what you want - perhaps out of sheer spite. Ok, that last statement was anthropomorphoization... but, hey, give it a shot. If you can teach her not to come back, you'll be doing good!

Frustrated Farmer Rick said...

It is a good thing that what got in was possums and not raccoons or rats. Show them the door and close up the places you think they got in until you can keep them out. They have found food and warmth and will probably not leave on their own accord. If all that fails you may need to assume the reponsiblity of the predator to keep the prey in check.
Good Luck

Jo said...

Hi Rick - We have had both rats AND raccoons in the henhouse. We had raccoons living in the roof. That was when we decided to remove the old cedar shingles and replace the roof.

We've had rats off and on, but we've tried pretty hard to mortar up all the holes in the stone walls where they could get in. Haven't seen one in quite awhile. It is an ongoing project with an 80-year-old chicken coop.

The possum problem is on temporary hold. See an upcoming post for details!

Hey Harold - I am pretty used to deal with stubborn, somewhat spiteful beasts -- I have three little boys!

I visited your Twitter page -- yes, life is definitely odd. But I'd rather have an odd life than a mundane life. As long as odd just stays odd and doesn't turn into eerie, crazy, scary, etc. Or, as the Chinese curse goes, a life in interesting times.

Congrats on the final pilot for Animus Cross. Looks pretty cool, from what I saw.

Karen said...

So, how did the scooping of possums go? Are you trying to pretend that they are weird looking kittens to coax Bob and Linda into adopting them?

Jo said...

Ha! Maybe if I put glue and feathers in their hidey hole and they rolled around in it, Emily would believe they were birds and take them home with you?