It's been happening more and more frequently this winter. Furry critters are hanging out with my hens.
The first visitor was a baby skunk sniffing around under the nest boxes. I didn't notice him (her?) until I had filled the waterer and feeders. When I turned to gather the eggs, we were both surprised. The puzzled skunk watched me back out slowly. The next morning, it was gone.
A week later, I reached towards a nest box to gather eggs and was surprised to find an American Opossum curled up, napping in the straw. I keep a small rake in the hen house, so I grabbed that and did my best to annoy the possum out of place.
The possum hissed and grinned so I could appreciate its fifty sharp teeth, but would not leave the cozy nest. I went to get a camera and when I returned the possum was gone.
It's been back in the henhouse twice since then. I've started leaving my mother-in-law's old cane there. It's perfect for hooking the possum and dragging it out. Today, after persuading O. Possum to leave, I went to the house and got my camera. My two beagles were barking up in the woods, so I walked up there and found the possum.
It was doing a great impression of road-kill.
No amount of prodding and pulling by the dogs got a reaction
I called the dogs off and walked back down the mountain to lock them up.
Then I went back to where we'd left the possum. It had revived and was wandering away. I followed at a discreet distance until it stopped. Possums sleep during the day and this one was feeling very nappish.
It yawned several times, then turned and burrowed into a leafy depression.
After a few more pictures, I stopped annoying the possum and left it to nap.
He is nestled above the stream, below the rhododendron, in the middle of the next picture.
Looking in the other direction, I could see where he'd rather be.