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Possum v. Chicken

 
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So tonite, when I went out to close up the chickens after dark, imagine my surprise when I found a possum inside  the perimeter fence around their coop, which is an electric net fence.

I had been feeling fairly smug up to this point, having lost no chickens since first getting them in May.

But not any more. And of course now am wondering what to do about it, seeing that the possum not only got in through the electric netting, but also out through the netting to escape my deadly wrath.  If a possum can do it, so can a raccoon or a mink or anything else that loves the taste of fresh chicken.  

Any suggestions?  I don’t think he could have gotten in the coop if the door was closed - it was just darn lucky  timing that I walked out to close them in when I did, just 45 minutes after sunset.

Any suggestions?

 
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Do you have an outside dog? I have a good little dog (Beatrice) that sleeps on my front porch at night, and my chicken coop is about 30 feet behind my house. I've had only one incursion, by a possum, and it was when I had no dog.

I would encourage you to keep an outside dog, I also perimeter fenced my lot so the kids would stay in the yard. This allows the dog to run freely inside the border fence.
 
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HOW did it bypass the fencing? Was it not anchored, power off, did it use a tree, bush, building etc to climb PAST the netting?

You are right, if the possie bypassed other critters will also. You may want to collect some used metal roofing panels for the first (ground level) three feet(or two if you really dig it down), then the netting for the next 3 feet.
 
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Possums are probably the easiest critter to trap.  They are so dumb, they'll walk into an unbated box trap.  A simple box trap and a pellet gun will take care of the problem quickly.

If you don't want to dispatch the possum, you can relocate him . . . far, far away.
 
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In my experience possums are dumb as rocks, so if it can get in and out, it must not be too hard.
A short in your fencing perhaps?

Rather than a dog I would want a goose guardian, but I'm soft hearted on dogs and want them to live inside with me.
My own dog lives inside but has been a deterent to predators, even pulling a racoon out of the coop.

The racoon was only able to get to them because we forgot to close up the coop.
I'm putting together an automated coop door , which I expect will improve their security, and my own convenience.
 
Artie Scott
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Ben, I do have an outside dog (sorta) who prefers to sleep outside, but have been closing him up in the barn over nite as winter set in.  May need to rethink that....

Marco, I like that thought - the best defense is a good offense. I may try the trap route. I may also set up a game cam on the coop area to monitor what is prowling about under cover of darkness.

Lorinne, that’s the most worrisome part, and I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen it. The possum squeezed right through one of the little squares to escape!  The fence was energized -it zapped me when I touched it.

And William, yes, an automatic door would be very helpful!
 
Artie Scott
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Here is a picture of the setup.

I was thinking more about what you said Lorinne. There is a metal t-post that I used to anchor one of the corner posts - I wonder if he could have climbed that to get over the fence?  

There is about a foot gap tho per the second picture - hard to believe he would have jumped that gap and dropped into the pen from four feet high.  
A91A33E9-D5EE-4E0C-B269-18078EB64E9D.jpeg
Electric netting
Electric netting
B967066B-0A72-4FAF-9EB3-761461341865.jpeg
Tpost corner
Tpost corner
 
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I don't know about your electro-net fencing, but 1. ours only has wires at some layers so their can be gaps, 2. it is a "pulse" so if something small can get through a gap in the pulses fast enough, it may not be zapped and 3. it works better if properly grounded.
Personally, I would only trust it for day use.
 
Lorinne Anderson
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I suspect you have "fence" and not "mesh". The zap only works on furless portions of the body - nose and paws. I'm not sure if fur acts as an insulator or if it "grounds" the charge...

Is it getting appropriate voltage? I would double check that, but if it fit through the electrified barrier, needless to say it will not protect against anything smaller that a possie.  

Perhaps the mesh size is too large? Is T-Post on inside or outside of mesh? If outside, absolutely something could climb it.

Measure the mesh opening, and go down by at least half. It may be possible to add a mesh to the electric fence you already have attached by wire ties, that would also get charged - but this is more a guess than something I have tried.

 
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I had lots of possums coming around eating anything the cats did not eat before night time. they didn't seem to bother cats or even the kittens they were just after an easy meal of kibble.
and by the way Artie those are some fine looking hens,
 
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I had a very similar experience. One chicken was missing, and there was lots of blood. I shot the the opossum.  It got past 2 barriers, a border collie who knows his job,  and into the coop. It appears to have climbed over one barrier and under another.  I did not have electric fence ....up to now, I have not needed it.
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