We had been finding empty egg shells
now and then
for months.
Wondered who might be responsible:
cats? snakes? skunks? the rooster? a raccoon?
Then one night
I went down to the barn after dark
to shut off water
and when I started to open a barn door,
I sensed something amiss
and looked up,
to see a possum
sitting atop the door,
its pointy tail dangling,
its shiny black eyes
staring at me.
I think we scared each other.
It froze.
I backed off
quickly.
Next day,
we reinforced the space above the barn door.
But we suspected the possum
was in the barn—
more broken egg shells.
And then,
a few mornings ago,
one of the Silkies was missing.
No sign if it,
except perhaps some extra feathers
around the doorstop
where they like to roost.
We were sad
and shocked
and stumped:
the Silkies were, we thought,
well-protected in their pen.
We decided to let them out into the barn
with the other chickens
so they weren’t sitting ducks,
so to speak,
for something somehow getting into their pen.
Next morning:
another Silkie missing.
We put the Silkies back in their pen
and barricaded them in
with all kinds of scraps of this and that
nailed here and there.
So far, they have been safe.
And,
we set two have-a-heart traps.
Three nights ago
we caught a possum.
Two nights ago
we caught a bigger possum.
Last night,
nothing.
We carried the possums
in their cages
and let them go
several miles away,
hoping they don’t find their way back.
We’re hoping too,
there aren’t more.
The traps are still set.
The Silkies are still in their barricade.
The hen house
feels more peaceful.

First Possum

Bigger Possum

Alpaca Watching Caged Possum