So, we had a suspect in the crimes. The evidence--fresh chicken kill--combined with being caught near the scene of the crime, was pretty damning. It was time to administer some farm justice.
For those of you who love all animals, and believe that people should just let them live their lives however they choose, I would suggest you stop reading now. For those of you who know how farm justice works, or those who are seeking what to do in similar situations, say, the slaughter of your chickens, let me tell you how this particular case played out.
Used to be, our dogs were our possum and woodchuck dispatch units. Little Dog, our Jack Russell Terrier, was particularly fond of killing possums and would gladly drag out of hiding possums bigger than he was. Old Dog, too, used to delight in shaking possums until their necks snapped. However, Little Dog passed away almost two years ago, and Old Dog at age twelve and a half, is too unsteady on his feet to shake anything but his own tail. So, it's now up to me to rid this little place here of livestock annihilating critters.
Since possums tend to be nocturnal creatures, moving around in the dusk and darkness, it's kind of hard to catch them in the act. It's even harder to shoot them holding a .22 in one hand and a spotlight in the other. So, to even the odds in my favor a little, and to make sure the offender doesn't suffer unduly during the carrying out of it's death sentence, I employ a live trap. This works well for raccoons too.
The latest case went like this:
1. I set a live trap in the barn near the cat feeding area, and baited it with a dish of cat food. Experienced cats won't bother the trap, having learned not to go into it. Kittens, however, don't have this knowledge yet.
2. Released a kitten from the live trap the next morning.
3. Reset trap that evening, and baited it with more cat food. Told the kittens to wise up and not make the same mistake twice.
4. Checked barn in the morning, found wise kittens greeting me at the door, and an unhappy looking possum in the live trap. Possum proceeded to hiss at me and show me it's needle sharp teeth. I laughed, because I have the upper hand, and there's nice sturdy wire between the possum's teeth and my body.
5. Carried the live trap out of the barn.
7. Returned outside. Took mug shot.
8. Conducted swift trial: you are a possum, possums kill chickens, I have had dead chickens lately, chicken feathers found in barn, you found in barn, now found in trap in barn, case closed. Gave possum the death penalty.
9. Put the end of the .22's barrel up to wire opening in live trap. Aimed at possum's head. Released safety, pulled trigger.
10. Dead possum. Took out of trap (after death throes ended), tossed body into loader bucket of tractor, transported body to woods where the local wildlife will benefit from the death.