Do Possums Kill Chickens?
A possum may seem like an innocent cat-sized nocturnal creature known for acting dead when under threat. Nonetheless, this animal is a lazy hunter, although it can sometimes kill your chickens and steal their eggs.
Possums are opportune scavengers that avoid confrontation, but they won’t be reluctant to kill your birds or steal their eggs once they get an opportunity. Whereas these creatures rarely kill adult chickens, they are known to prey on young chickens and baby chicks, and they threaten your birds alongside their eggs.
What do Possums Eat?
Possums are omnivores; therefore, they eat insects, fruits, and grains. Some possums will also frequent pet food dishes, garbage cans, and compost piles in search of food. Most possums, especially those inhabiting areas far away from humans, are known to eat birds, fish, and mammals.
Other favorite foods of these creatures include Eucalyptus leaves. Possums also eat veggies and flowers. Overly, possums can eat anything when they don’t get access to their favorite foods. That’s why you should protect your birds from these creatures because they attack and kill them or possibly steal their eggs when they are hungry.
Will Possums Attack Chicks and Chickens?
Although possums rarely attack your birds, that doesn’t suggest these rodents can’t attack and kill your chickens. Possums are scavengers and won’t hesitate to kill chickens if they don’t get their favorite foods.
Most possums won’t attack adult chickens because they will confront them and possibly engage them in a fight. These predators, however, won’t hesitate to attack a small-sized chicken, bantams, and their eggs if they a chance arises. Furthermore, these creatures can attack your chickens and their eggs.
Possums rarely conflict with chicken owners and their birds unless when scavenging for food. These creatures will happily munch on chicken eggs, chicken feed, and small chicks when they lack food at their disposal.
They will also attack, kill and eat ailing chickens that are defenseless. Possums will rarely attempt to attack an adult chicken unless these creatures are starving. They seldom attack adult chickens during wintertime when there is a roaming food scarcity.
The worst thing about a possum’s attack is that you can’t figure out when it will happen. You won’t know whether this creature was around because it doesn’t frequently attack like other predators, like wild cats, feral dogs, and raccoons.
You can only tell if your birds are under a possum’s attack by looking at some tell signs that this creature has been around your birds recently. These are some signs that will help you tell whether a possum has been around to attack your chickens and steal their eggs.
- Footprints– Footprints will give you the most certain clue that a possum has been around your yard and your chickens. Their footprints seem more like handprints than footprints. Furthermore, the footprints of these creatures are about 2 inches wide.
- Wound marks– A possum usually bites a chicken in its breast, thigh, and neck. Possums mostly eat a chicken’s abdomen and crop areas right in the coop.
- Droppings– Because possums attack chickens in their coops, any trace of their droppings is the ultimate sign of their presence. Their droppings resemble those of dogs, although they are much smaller in quantity. If you get some weird-looking dog poop in your coop, it can be a telling sign that a possum has been around.
- Empty eggshells– Possums are timid creatures, and they will first steal and eat your chickens’ eggs before killing your birds, only if they have no other food source. Chances are that a possum has been around if you get some empty eggshells in the coop. Besides empty eggshells, the other sign to prove a possum has been in your cage is missing eggs because this predator will first steal the chicken eggs before turning on the chickens.
- Trash bins– Before attacking your chickens, possums will first ransack everything in your yard, including the trash bins. Check the trash bins for any signs of ransacking to tell whether a possum has been around.
Do Possums Eat Chicken Eggs?
Yes, possums can eat chicken eggs. These predators will first attempt to steal chicken eggs before attacking chickens. Because they are timid and wary of confrontations, these creatures won’t risk getting into your coop to attack chickens unless they have no other place to get food.
Can Possums Get Through Chicken Wire?
Although possums are some of the common chicken predators, these creatures aren’t small enough to get through chicken wire. These cat-sized predators can’t fit into the small spaces in the chicken wire, although they can effortlessly tear through the wire. Hence, chicken wire can’t be an effective barrier to these predators.
How to Keep Possums Away from Chickens?
Possums aren’t some of the biggest threats to your chickens compared to other lethal predators like cats, dogs, raccoons, and birds of the air that will attack your chickens, whether adult or baby chickens.
Nonetheless, possums can attack your chickens when they are starving and desperate for food. Because you never know how and when these predators will strike, keeping them away from your birds is best.
Below are a few ideas on keeping your chickens safe from possums, especially if they spend all their time outdoors, apart from the nighttime when they come to the coop to roost.
- Secure the coop-Securing the coop is the first defense strategy against possums that are waiting to attack your chickens and steal their eggs. Lock the coop’s door once your chickens retreat inside to roost. Also, ensure the chicken wire is sturdy and strong such that a possum can’t tear through the wire.
- Collect chicken eggs-Possums will first go for chicken eggs before attacking your birds. Ensure you collect every chicken egg from the coop or backyard so these creatures won’t find anything to bring them close to your chickens.
- Scare away the predators- Possums are pretty timid and will run away once they detect someone or something is detecting their movements. Placing some scarecrows around the yard can scare away these predators, thus ensuring your birds and eggs are safe.
- Get rid of all attractants– Chicken feed and other food items can attract possums to your yard. Please eliminate such attractants to ensure these predators don’t have something to bring them closer to your chickens.
Although possums may not be the biggest threat to your chickens, these creatures aren’t your chickens’ best friends. It helps to deter them from accessing your chickens by ensuring there is nothing that can attract them to your birds. Possums are easy to keep at bay if you put good preventive measures in place.