Wednesday, November 12, 2008

'Possum Problem

Twice Anthony has had to chase an opossum out of the hen house after midnight. Saturday night I was still up when we heard for the third time the unhappy clucking of the chickens.

I was walking down to the chicken yard while Anthony got a flash light when the clucks turned into screams. I ran but I couldn't see anything. When Anthony got there, we saw that Chicka the China was hunkered down in the hay, bleeding from her ear.

The problem with the opossum is that it plays dead when Anthony first pokes at it to get it out of the chickens' hutch. Then it hisses and shows its mean teeth (like an R.O.U.S.), but can't figure out how to get out. He keeps getting stuck in the corners. This time, in addition to the PVC pipe Anthony used, I had a bamboo stick to help steer it out of corners, then away from the house. We didn't want to kill it, although I deeply considered it after seeing my bleeding hen. I beat him on the butt repeatedly with my stick, yelling, "Get out of my yard and never come back!!!" In the adrenaline rush, I got a big scratch on the back of my right hand that I did not even feel at the moment.

I do not trust that I was fearsome enough to keep the opossum from coming back, however, so I have borrowed a "Have-A-Heart" trap from work. Hopefully next time we will catch him and relocate him.

Retelling this story at work, a coworker asked me, "Do you say 'opossum' or 'possum'?" I say Opossum, unless I am talking pretty quickly, then I revert to the southern Possum. However, others had not even heard of Opossum.

"Maybe the 'O' is silent?" one asked.


peevish said...

They are strange and fearsome creatures. My friend and I once had to quickly relocate 2 cocktails on the porch at the old Cedar Door bar, when it was down on Waller Creek. My friend (Jimmy Rittenberry. Where is he now?) and I were having some leisurely Mexican Martinis when a possum fight broke out in the treetop over our table. Leaves were flying and very narrow limbs were bending under the weight of 2 hissing, battling possums. We enjoying watching the fight from a safe distance after we'd saved our drinks from harm.

I hope your hen wasn't too badly injured!

Sinda said...

The O is silent, but luckily the chickens are not!

get2eric said...

Yes that's right the o is silent, like in folk and yolk.

mainlyclearskies said...

That's kind of scary - possums are nasty. Is Chicka ok?

I have heard opossum, but I just say possum.

Emily said...

I laughed at the thought of you chasing the (o)possum with a stick and giving him a talking to! At least you got to vent some of your frustration. Poor Chicka.

=^..^= Kitty =^..^= said...

Hope Chicka is doing well! Must have been frightful for her. I'm currently in the process of evicting an habituated opossum from my house. She isn't a fearsome thing, it's just that she's been around so long, she thinks mi casa es su casa! I have cats and there's no problem there. However, she has begun to think that my bedroom (most secluded room in the house) is her potty. My house is old, probably having openings I don't even know about. She keeps getting back in. Time is of the essence, as probably in about 8 weeks, she'll be with child. I hope she stays on my property, as I've enjoyed our symbiotic relationship. Most people think I'm crazy -- I don't confirm that.