Fox and possum proofing

Discussion in 'Breeding, Raising, Feeding and Caring for Animals' started by magnoliabloomberg, Nov 27, 2009.

  1. magnoliabloomberg

    magnoliabloomberg Junior Member

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    Hi every one. My first post here. I'm trying to set up an urban permaculture system on my large suburban block in Epping, Sydney. But my four beautiful chickens which we had for 3 years were all killed by a fox (I think) and many of the trees we have planted are getting close to dead because of possums. We have had no produce for ourselves in the years we have been trying so I am glad there is a greengrocer down the road still and we are not really dependant on our own produce (but would really like to be self sufficient). But the birds and possums and now foxes are doing very well by us. Normally, I am a live and let live sort of person but these recent events has caused me to discover my inner axe murderer when ever I think about foxes and possums. What are people's humane(ish) solutions to these permaculture vandals? The chickens (replacements) are mostly free range in the day and at night they have a shed where they sleep which is secured by an internal screen door as well as an external solid door which is locked by key (foxes are smart but not that smart). I am building a 5 foot high gate for the driveway. I am thinking to build something portable for the chickens to scratch around the yard during the day but sort of enclosed so they can be safe if unwatched. Has this already been invented by some one? Do you have the plans and/or photos? As for dealing with the possums we've tried quassia bark boiled with soap and sprayed around but to no result. Same for Possoff. We have also tried glaring darkly in their general direction sometimes with running and hand gesticulations and some screaming but surprisingly it is not working. Anything more effective will be gratefully received and put into practice immediately.
     
  2. milifestyle

    milifestyle New Member

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    Re: Fox and possum proofing

    Hi, Welcome to the forum...

    One thing i have found ove the years (logical really) is that everything in life has a predator.

    I'm not really a fan of tieing animals up (i'd rather keep them in a cage), but in this instance, a dog with a really loud bark might do well tied up to the base of the tree/s where the possums are causing the problem.

    Also i have often considered installing sensor lights in areas where possums tend to roam. They might be activated several times in the first few weeks, but after a while, they might get the hint.
     
  3. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    Re: Fox and possum proofing

    Please, please, please don't get a barking dog. If you have any neighbours that are noise sensitive, it will drive them crazy. That kind of thing can ruin the quality of people's lives (sorry Eric).

    I'm not a fan of bright light at night either, as life needs times of dark. Sensor lights might be worth experimenting with, but city possums are pretty adapted to light.

    Are you allowed to kill possums in Oz? In your situation I'd be kill trapping them and adding them to the compost or digging into the garden. If you simply lock them out or repel them, then they will just be too much for other places nearby. Not that that is your responsibility, but what if some of your neighbours did that and the possums all came to your place ;-) ? If there are too many possums there, they need to be predated.

    Possums lay scent lines, so if you kill one, then another one will come along eventually. This is true of nesting, not sure for food. Maybe research something that will confuse their scent.

    Biodynamics has a way of burning possums to make a preparation to repel them. I've never done it, it sounds labour intensive, and might not be easy to do in a suburb but could be worth checking out.


    As an aside, I don't consider animals that annoy me to be permaculture vandals, although I completely understand the rise of the inner axe murderer (having dealt with rats and possums over the years). I find that if I engage with the animals as parts of the system (instead of trying to have a war with them), then it becomes easier to find solutions. For instance, the possums can be harvested to make good compost for the fruit trees.
     
  4. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    Re: Fox and possum proofing

    I have never used a possum pepper pebble, but I do use a fox pepper and it seems to work well.
    A while back I saw a fox in the day time come trotting towards my place then did a left turn and ran right around the perimeter of my peppered area and continued on his way. We redo it every three months and have not had a fox attack since we started doing it. (touch wood)
     
  5. milifestyle

    milifestyle New Member

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    Re: Fox and possum proofing

    And the possums won't ? :mrgreen:
     
  6. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    Re: Fox and possum proofing

    I'd take a possum I can trap over a neighbour's barking dog that I can't do anything about, any day :p
     
  7. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    Re: Fox and possum proofing

    That's cool Mark. Where did you get the pepper from?

    Urine might work too. Fresh ;-)
     
  8. milifestyle

    milifestyle New Member

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    Re: Fox and possum proofing

    You should be able to lodge a formal complaint, that would be classified as a noise nuisance in most governing bodies around the world.
     
  9. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    Re: Fox and possum proofing

    Road kill pebble a male fox was kit in front of a mates place and we skun it (testicals intact) then burnt it and potentized it as prescribed.
     
  10. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    Re: Fox and possum proofing

    Cool. Does it have to be male?
     
  11. magnoliabloomberg

    magnoliabloomberg Junior Member

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    Re: Fox and possum proofing

    We actually had a dog for a few weeks a few months ago and it drove us all mad for various reasons, including the neighbours. It barked, a lot, and the possums didn't seem to mind at all. It also trashed much of the garden and chased the chickens so we are not going to go the dog route for a long time to come as much as I personally love them. I already have a dog but most people just laugh when they see him and he is no threat to possums. I tried to get a trap from my local Freecycle group but the moderator wouldn't post my request as apparently a license is needed. Which I will get if I need to next week. Where is a good place to situate the trap? Near the fence? The trees? Anywhere? We seems to see them traveling along the fence tops and up the trees not often on the ground. Are there any plans for making a home made trap as the shop bought ones are more than $150. And Pebble, no, we are not permitted to kill them in Australia. Even though the little buggers are everywhere one looks they are native and protected. I shall release any I catch, after I take them for a ride in the boot of our car to disorient them, into a local park or bushland. I know they are a pest in NZ so it may be open season there. Like foxes here which are considered a pest.

    Unfortunately suburban Epping does not have too many road kill foxes but I will be making use of any that I do find.
     
  12. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    Re: Fox and possum proofing

    Yes, Pebble, instructions call for a male - a part of the territorial thing I think. And the time of year is also important but you would be best to follow Brian Keats calendar for preparing animal peppers.

    I would try a female if thats all I had though.
    regards
     
  13. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    Re: Fox and possum proofing

    I councils here rent out killtraps (you pay a refundable deposit of $35 but you can keep the trap if you want). But they're pretty motivated to kill possums, whereas I imagine in Oz the authorities don't have to think about possums if they're protected. Might be worth asking though - if you get the right person they can tell you lots of stuff about traps and possum behaviour. Or maybe your wildlife service lends them out?

    Cage traps are much simpler than kill ones, I'm surprised they are so expensive.

    Ah, here's a PDF from the SA Department of Environment and Heritage, which talks about various trapping options. Sounds like they hire out the traps too. Do you have that department in NSW?

    https://www.environment.sa.gov.au/biodiv ... ossums.pdf

    I'd go for the ground, because it's easiest*. Use flour and apple with aniseed oil (an essenital oil, so be careful not to get it on other things) on it as bait. That will get their attention. The apple can be on the trigger, and the flour can be sprinkled on the ground leading into the trap.

    *although so maybe put the trap on something a few feet off the ground that possum can still get to easily but so they don't get hassled by foxes once trapped?

    How many do you think you have? It's interesting that they are native and protected. Maybe you can find a way of integrating them into your design.
     
  14. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    Re: Fox and possum proofing

    Thanks Mark. I was always put off a bit because the burning seems like a difficult thing to do. Would like to experiment with this some time. Do they think it works for rabbits?
     
  15. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    Re: Fox and possum proofing

    Yes and rats and possums too as well as winged insects like cockroaches and weeds like fireweed though I am not prepared to use them on anything till I am sure the "pest" is not actually "part of the solution" and how can you ever be sure.
    regards
     
  16. SueinWA

    SueinWA Junior Member

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    Re: Fox and possum proofing

    Solar powered electric net fencing? A friend of mine had raccoons, opossums (American kind) and foxes getting to her poultry, and she tried everything, then finally broke down and ordered some electric fencing of the mesh kind. Now she says she should have done it long ago.

    A fish and wildlife officer suggested it. He said you can trap them, but more will always take their place. He said that it's easier to repel them.

    Sue
     
  17. magnoliabloomberg

    magnoliabloomberg Junior Member

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    Re: Fox and possum proofing

    Thanks everyone for your good advice and ideas. I think we'll go with the traps and solar powered fencing. Any good leads for finding the solar powered net fence locally?
     
  18. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    Re: Fox and possum proofing

    https://www.allsun.com.au/Electranets.html
    edit ) sorry eric - where should I put info such as this?
     
  19. helenlee

    helenlee Junior Member

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    Re: Fox and possum proofing

    Just to add another voice to the fray ....

    I've done the dog thing & my experience & advice is a dog is not the solution for this situation - for all the reasons you cited yourself magnolia.

    The critter pepper is not fail proof. It may work some of the time but is not a guarantee by any means, in my experience. I've seen animals ignore it & walk right through it frequently.

    The depressing truth is the only thing guaranteed to work is a physical barrier between the chooks/foxes & the fruit trees/ possums. Period.

    You may have good success with the electric fencing. It can work well in some circumstances but requires frequent maintenance & supervision to be effective. It's only as strong as it's weakest link, so if it's not turned on/not earthed properly/earthing out somewhere - it's as good as nothing. A well designed physical barrier can't fail - unless you're trying to keep out Grizzlies or something!!! Remember that electric fences can also cause fires.

    I have netting over my whole vege garden & am resigned that I'll have to extend it over the orchard as well. Netting also has it's drawbacks. It's unsightly, expensive & birds can sometimes become entangled in it, although I've never had that happen here. If you live within driving distance of an area that has acres of fruit tress under nets you can try the local dump. After storms orchards often discard huge quantities of damaged nets.

    I've come to the conclusion that mother nature/evolution/god/the universe is conspiring against me & wants me to be a consumer not a producer. I look at myself in the mirror some days & see a stressed out wreck, worn down by years & years of fighting off wild dogs, possums, bandicoots, black cockatoos, foxes, straying cattle, horses & goats. I wonder about the so called benefits of eating home grown chemical free produce. All those bright bouncy people shopping in Bullworths are going to live much longer than me, I just know it!!! :)))
     
  20. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    Re: Fox and possum proofing

    If I get as sad as you I may have to shoot myself LOL
     

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