Opossum in the chicken coop
Anna: There's a opossum in the chicken coop! I need you to shoot it. Should I get the rifle?
Mark [perusing his half-clad wife]: First, you should put on some pants.
we first moved to the farm, I wouldn't have dreamed of shooting a
opossum (or asking Mark to shoot one). But our closest neighbors are all
four-footed, and we soon realized that if we wanted to grow our own
food, we had to protect that food from the wilds. To that end, we now
hunt deer for our table and will occasionally kill varmints in the
chicken coop. Not snakes or hawks --- I figure those guys have a bad
reputation and need a bit of help. But a opossum or a raccoon who's
stealing eggs and might make a stab at a living bird? Those guys see no
If it makes you feel any
better, I'm pretty sure this wasn't Mr. Opossum's first offense. I'd
seen signs of broken eggs in the nest box off and on over the last
couple of weeks. But I'd just assumed someone was laying thin-shelled
eggs. Wrong. Likely our egg predator had been snacking for quite a
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used to be in charge of border patrol, and I remember seeing more than a
few opossum carcasses over the years. But as our hardy farm dog has
gotten older, Mark has taken over up-close-and-personal strikes
like this one. So, Monday night, my steady husband took a deep breath,
pulled the trigger, then we gave the carcass to Lucy to dispose of. With
me to run out when the hens cackle after dark, Mark to kill the beast,
and Lucy to eat what's left, we make a pretty good team.