Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Great Possum Adventure

I woke up this morning eager to find out if the creature killing my chickens was caught. I was surprised to find the trap sprung and bait eaten, but no creature inside! Notice how the creature pulled palm fronds into the trap to make a nest:

Boudreaux finds a scent and tracks it down. There is an abandoned door with a dilapidated tarp that has his full attention. He ferociously pulls on the tarp and digs. There is something inside!
When I lift up the door, I find a mother possum and her six offspring. She immediately hauls ass. Four baby possums cling to her, while two are left behind:

She climbs up a nearby tree in front of my house. Instead of climbing higher and higher, she stays in this spot motionless with her babies clinging to her:

After a few moments, the mother does something shocking. She lets go and drops like a stone from the tree. The impact causes some babies to fall off. All but one manage to cling back on to her:

This is the baby possum that fell off from impact. He surprised me by quickly climbing up the tree higher than even his mother did:

This cutie fell off in the center of my yard as the mother was scampering away. He doesn't quite know what to do. Doesn't he look cute in this defensive posture?

Feeling guilty for interfering with nature, I get a glove and a dust pan. My plan is to transport the two baby possums that fell off back to their nest:

Yes, I actually climbed the tree barefoot in my front yard to get this one. The tree was so slick from all rain we have been having. I could have totally busted my ass:

He is put right back under the door with his four other siblings.

I felt guilty about the mother being away, so I poured a good amount of my favorite cereal (Honeybuches of Oats) under the door. If I like it, then surely they will:

The sequence of events has caused me great moral angst. How do I resolve my love for nature with the fact that I am losing eggs AND chickens to these creatures? While my family and friends tell me to kill the possums, I don't know if I can bring myself to doing so. Do you not see how cute the babies are? How can I kill a family of possums? I have been driving myself crazy pondering nature's circle of life. I have no clue what action I should take next. Frankly, I don't want to do anything. Ugh!


Blogger ricola said...

I suggest to find a way to work whole chicken fryers into your pet feeding budget. Anyone who could kill a baby possum is beyond reproach.

July 29, 2009  
Blogger Larry Ohio said...

But how can you be sure the possums are the killers? There was no roof on the pen. It could have been an owl or some other creature. Maybe the fact that the possums showed up last night was pure coincidence.

I say round up the possum clan and take them far away and let them loose in the woods somewhere. Remove them from the equation. Then set another trap tonight and see if it gets sprung again.

July 29, 2009  
Anonymous Jeff said...

Hey farm boy - THEY'RE VERMIN! And if you're so into "nature", remember that the mother wouldn't have had the babies if she hadn't located an easy food source. Ya, the food source you named. I bet these city sissies wouldn't be so tolerant is it meant rats or cockroaches running around in their house.

July 29, 2009  
Blogger Mike, Studio city said...

We have possums here in Hollywood also. They don't tend to go after prey that is a little bigger than they are. They usually eat the fruit, or veggies in the garden or eat mice and rats, and snails and slugs. I bet they do eat your chicken eggs. Try putting some kind of nylon netting over your chicken pen. There is this stuff called fruit tree netting at most hardware stores. By the way, you're so sweet.

July 29, 2009  
Anonymous john said...

Possums aren't cute. They are the enemy. You are a farmer. Get rid of them. Nature is cruel. You be too.

I'm an old farmer. I've been through this.

Gawd, I sound cruel but that's the way it is.

July 29, 2009  
Blogger A Lewis said...

There's no way I could hurt those cute little things....I'd have to find someone else to do it for me. What a debacle you've been through!

July 29, 2009  
Blogger matty said...

wow. this is interesting stuff. i know not much of nature -- unless it is the ocean -- and most of nature just creeps me out.

but, i hope you don't kill them.

aside from looking like they might carry plague, they seem rather cute.

...maybe you should move to a city and get a condo.

July 29, 2009  
Blogger evilganome said...

I have to say, I am not a fan of possums. They are pretty nasty actually. Though I hear, quite tasty.

Sorry, but having grown up in the country and helped with raising chickens, we would never have tolerated predators.

It's you or them.

July 29, 2009  
Anonymous Jeff said...


Q-Why did the chicken cross the road?

A-To show the possum it could be done.

July 29, 2009  
Blogger cb said...

I'm with you. I can't just kill things. It's just nature being nature.

I guess I'd focus my energies on possum proofing the chicken coop.

July 29, 2009  
Blogger Mathias N Oz said...

My cats every once and a while bring home baby possums and mice some times dead, some times still alive. Cue the music: "In the Circle of Life
It's the wheel of fortune..." Hee hee

July 29, 2009  
Blogger RG said...

If you harm one cute little hair on those baby possums' heads you can forget about that blow-job I was going to give you when I visited BRLA. ;)

There are humane traps you can use and transport them out of the area.

July 29, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't kill! There has to be something to keep them away, or a method to protect your other animals! Love, love, love your blog; just found it. Check Online, of course, or at Lowe's, Purina, or some sort of farm info resources. Will continue to observe! Sean in Palm Springs, CA.

July 29, 2009  
Blogger Brettcajun said...

I am not going to kill the possums. I can't kill another living animal. I would like to secure the chicken pen really well and relocate the Mama and her babies.

Tonight, I checked and the four babies were still in their den. The Mama Possum apparently never returned because she wasn't there with her other two babies.

Just so the babies wouldn't starve waiting on Mama Possum to return, I sliced seedless grapes and peaches and tossed them all around the babies. I know they are already weaned because they were not in their Mama's pouch.

I am hoping they learn to eat and survive if their Mama have truly abandoned them.

July 29, 2009  
Blogger Ur-spo said...

That was very sweet of you.
It is hard to be upset with baby animals isn't it?

July 29, 2009  
Blogger RG said...

Thank goodness you're not going to off the little ones!

Of course, along with protecting your chickens you now have the responsibility of watching over baby possums as well.

Oh btw, the word verification is: headigha. Sweet - I guess that's a sign. LOL

July 30, 2009  
Blogger Blobby said...

I can't kill babies or worse, their moms, which will eventually lead to the kids demise.

I'd love to get rid of the mom deer in my yard, but what would happen to her two little fawns?

Sure, my plants would look a lot better, but.....I just can't get rid of the mom.

July 30, 2009  
Blogger RG said...

Blobby - I can't think of the name of the company, but it makes synthetic urine of different predators - like wolves, coyotes, etc. and you can spray it on the perimeter of your yard and Momma and baby deer will stay out.

July 30, 2009  

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