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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

An Unwelcome Guest

I love animals.  I mean, if you're a regular reader of this blog, you probably already know that.  Oftentimes, I think I have more affinity for some animals than I do for some people!  I know that many people like dogs and cats, but I like all sorts of animals - even ones that other people find ugly or unpleasant.  I am especially fond of little rodents - I like mice, voles, moles, shrews and other little furry critters that most people call vermin.  I don't want them in my house, unless they are in a cage of some sort, but I still think they're very cute.

So it might be surprising to you that I actually found an animal on the farm today who, despite his (her?) cuteness and general cuddly nature (in my opinion), is definitely not welcome here.


I am sure many of you will recognize this little foot, and this little tail....
 
Let me get a little closer, just in case you're not sure yet....
 
...yes, today I was visited by the incorrigible Mr. O. Possum.

He made me very cross.  See here the evidence of his misbehaving nature.
Tomorrow I have to figure out if it was a duck or a chicken.  Thankfully, it was not the wonderful Mr. Cindey Lou, the rooster, and for that I am very glad.  It may have been one of our white ducks.  They insist on staying out and night and it's very difficult to get them to go into the coop.  It may have also been a white chicken.  We had three I think.  If I can find a head in the morning, or at least a beak or a bill, that will tell me if it was a duck or a chicken.

So yes, I'm mad at him, especially since he sat there with telltale feathers stuck on his flanks.
At the same time, I saw how our summer hoop house for the chickens was giving him shelter, and how our bird had given him a meal in this hard time of winter, and even though I was mad, at the same time, my heart was softened, and I knew that he was just doing what wild animals do.  It's the cycle of nature.  Sometimes it's not very pretty, and sometimes it hurts, but it's nature's way. 
 
He does have a really cute little pink woffley nose.  And soft grey fur.

He snuggled in the corner of the hoop house, looking sort of frightened and worried.
I spoke with him sternly, and said that he may need to be relocated in the very near future, but that he could stay the night in the hoop house as long as he didn't kill any more chickens or ducks.  Fortunately, all the chickens are inside.  I hope he obeys.  We will have to look for a hav-a-hart trap and try to catch him.
Call me weird, but I still think he's really, really cute.  I just wanted to pick him up and give him a cuddle.  I don't think he would have liked that, so I controlled my instincts. 

22 comments:

Dalyn (AKA The Queen of Quite Alot) said...

I have always thought they were cute too. If you leave cat food out they'll go to that. Trapping them and relocating is a nice thing to do. The guys in my family would have shot it.

Laura said...

oh I can so relate, they are definitely not welcome here either.
I agree with you he is cute but he has got to go.Great pictures of him or her.

Deb said...

I'm sorry you lost a bird even though it's nature's way. I'm very glad you controlled your instincts and didn't give that thing a hug....you really want to remove it from your farm. They carry all kinds of germs and disease that can be passed on to your critters - I know it's hard but that's one furry critter that is definately not welcome here :(
Good luck!

IsobelleGoLightly said...

My lady thinks they are kind-of cute too. Sigh. Too bad those Opossums kill birdies and also may carry that EPM that hurts horses so much. I think Mr. Opossum looks very guilty. I wonder how the heck he moved fast enough to kill a birdie?

Flartus said...

Quite the change of tone from beginning to end...Mr. O has gotten to you, hasn't he? I didn't know that they would actually kill chickens/ducks; I thought they were mostly scroungers. How industrious of him, I suppose.

Julie said...

Oh no Claire! Not you too! there certainly is a lot of chicken losses lately. I'm soo sorry for your loss. I agree he is kinda cute tho...I admire your cool headedness. I love our wild critters too but if they heart my chickens...

Louise said...

I agree, he is cute. I didn't realize that they would go for anything as big as a chicken or a duck. Do you suppose that something else killed it, and he was scrounging the carcass? But, they do carry disease, so send him off to someplace where there are fewer domestic critters to mess with.

Joanna@BooneDocksWilcox said...

I love animals, all of GOD's critters. I can't stay mad at 'em even when they have troubled me, they are just following instincts, and trying to survive. Mike and I don't kill anything, unless, it's sick and suffering, we just try to fortify against the predators. I'm fairly certain that an o'possum killed a young cat of ours.

Karen said...

Umm, cute in a sort of evil way...

Mom L said...

Like some others here, I had no idea opossums ate big critters! I've fed them cookies, hard boiled eggs (and they left the shells!), and I bravely touched a 'possum's tail (until it hissed at me), but crikey! What a brazen critter. I do hope you can safely relocate him/her.

Nancy

Lola Nova said...

We get the occasional one here, in fact one walked right up to our front walk and then died in the middle of it, very odd. We seem to get quite a few more raccoons than anything so, we have thoroughly raccoon proofed our coop. Cute critters? Sure! But I'm afraid they will have to move along.

taylorgirl6 said...

I've struggled with the thought of killing unwanted rodents on our property now that we have chickens (which means free food and bedding for stray mice, rats, etc), but, in defense of our chickens, I think I'd be pretty much okay with snapping the head off of a possum covered in feathery evidence. We, as humans, tend to have this sense of guilt about killing critters, especially when we think they're just doing what comes naturally to them. Well let's not forget that we are animals, too, and I intend to do what comes naturally to me when I face this same foe.

That said, the little bastard is cute as hell. Nature is perverse.

frolicnfibers said...

Kindof cute, but he needs to go to a new home...I admire your sensitivity though :)

Callie said...

I think O. Possum is pretty cute too. We have skunks, fox, coyotes, raccoons and sometimes bears and other critters that would like to have our chickens for a meal. But, like you said, it is natures way.

Snappy Di said...

I think he's ugly.. sorry, but those beady eyes and that pointy witch-like nose just don't fit the image of cuteness.

He is TOTALLY guilty of the crime and needs to be locked up away from society.

LOL

Di
The Blue Ridge Gal

angie said...

Hi Claire, s/he is cute until I see the tail. Then, too much like a rat. Sorry, urban living has made me dislike rats immensely.

When I was younger and lived with my parents, when I drove home at night from my part-time job, I had to drive up a hill (in suburbia, mind you) and I could see them hanging from the trees by their tails and my headlights would bounce off of their eyes. It was neat yet creepy.

polly's path said...

Found your blog through a link re: tail ligaments.
We are a small organic farm in GA raising a smallish herd of goats(new at it!) and rescued dogs and cats. We had a duck too, but he is now at his forever home with a dear friend of ours.
Anyway, just wondering if your goat has kidded yet? Our girl China was purchased in October and we were told she bred in August sometime, but the owners didn't know for sure since the bucks were kept with the does full-time.
She looks like she is really close, and friends of ours who raise goats for a living came to check her and confirmed she was pregnant. Her udder has grown about 2 times its size since we bought her, and there are many other signs, too. Lately I have been worried that she may be getting overdue, since we haven't seen a baby yet. She has the opaque- whitish discharge and swelling, and her belly has dropped. Ligaments come and go, and since I am such an amateur I can't tell if I am checking the right spot.
Anyway, we keep hoping
"today is the day".
By the way, a possum ate several of our chickens too, and left their feathers in a pile like yours. Now our coop has a reinforced bottom, but we had to learn the hard way.

Apifera Farm said...

So sorry - but you know the routine...farm friends bring farm friends who bring more unwelcome guests...sorry though. We've has one on the deckc, but he was ratted out by 'coons, which are cute too, but Huck is in charge of running them off deck. Those possums can do some damage, so be careful.

Animals with Opinions said...

o possum cuddler ye be. my human thinks they are ugly but cute. she says they have a sort of helpless look about them though they obviously aren't helpless. the little guy or gal must go. just like the sheep. they are very much like the o possum. they look cute and helpless but are evil through and through.

gerald majestic

WeekendFarmer said...

I dont think he/she killed your chicken. I am not sure if they are capable of it though. I always thought they would go after the eggs, but not really kill the chicken. hmmmm. Who knows anymore!

Are you going to 'relocate' him/her?

Helena said...

I think he's cute too! I want one! LOL! I never saw one before this photo. Awww... shame he is so vicious!!!

dizzylettuce said...

Claire, I love your posts. The photos are excellent, too!
I think that opossums are so ugly they're cute. We have many of them around here. They are successful urban dwellers. One took up residence in a flower pot in our garage a few years ago. I left the light on & made a lot of noise & it finally left. They sleep in the daytime & didn't want a noisy place.