Possum treaty would help the balance of nature

Published 7:45 am Wednesday, March 27, 2024

By Harold Brummett
Denmark Star Route

Every day the chickens are turned out to graze. I read somewhere that if allowed, a chicken’s diet  would be 60 percent grass. Chickens scratch and add an occasional insect to their menu. 

Yard birds produce eggs that are the way nature intended. The difference between caged hen eggs and yard bird eggs are substantial. The birds that are free range in my opinion are healthier, happier and produce a better egg. 

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Last night about thirty minutes after dark Wes (the farm dog) and I went out to tuck the birds in for the night. Wes ran ahead (as is his custom) and inside the chicken pen was a large boar possum. 

Wes grabbed the possum and ran from the pen with it while I retrieved a shotgun. The possum acted the part and played dead while Wes crunched his bones. Wes stood down and backed away for a moment while I dispatched the possum. 

There is nothing more disheartening than to kill a creature for doing what they do. This possum was doing nothing more than what nature had programmed him to do. The carnage this animal could impose on a flock of chickens would soon eliminate chicken and eggs from my diet if unchecked. The manner that a possum kills a bird is horrible and to clean up after an attack is unpleasant to say the least. 

Crows can be reasoned with. 

I feed crows and allow them to dine with the songbirds and guineas. Supplying the crows with a steady dependable diet ensures they nest near the house and the chicken pen. I speak to crows daily and they are allowing me to get close before taking wing. No doubt, being a human is a dangerous thing and not to be completely trusted. Crows are very smart and can tell the difference between individual humans.  

Crows and hawks are enemies as hawks invade crow nests and take young crows. Crows drive hawks away from crow territory and away from my chickens as well. Crows combined with guineas makes an intruder alarm system that has built in redundancy. 

There is a bit of disappointment as the possum carcass is disposed of. If only a treaty could be reached or perhaps tribute given to possums, coons, bobcats and coyotes who are simply going about their life as their nature tells them.