One of the essential things when keeping a poultry house is to protect the chicks from predators. They should enjoy nature and fresh air, but walking outside can be very dangerous.
Poultry is often a tasty morsel for potential snakes around, so these tend to attack chicken coops frequently.
If you want your chickens and chicks to roam freely in their territory without the risk of being attacked, this post will explain how to protect your poultry from snakes.
Do chickens attract snakes?
Poultry does attract snakes. Like all other creatures, snakes seek food and shelter and will be attracted to your chickens’ eggs (and, on rare occasions, a chicken, except in places where snakes are huge) as another snack.
If you have rodents around your property, you may also have snakes. Many owners believe that chickens attract snakes, but it is rodents and rubbish.
Snakes can enter through small openings and hide in poultry litter. These reptiles eat whole eggs, so it is challenging to detect a snake in your coop as it leaves no trace; other animals will leave at least one eggshell that will let you know something is going on, but snakes will not.
Will snakes eat chickens?
There are more than 50 snakes throughout the United States, most of which are not large enough to eat chickens.
However, due to increasing python populations in Florida, snakes that feed on larger prey are becoming more widespread.
Not all of them will eat chickens, but several will eat baby chicks or eggs.
They generally tend to be attracted to eggs or chicks because they are easier to digest and they are too small to pose a danger to adult chickens, although a bite from a venomous snake could be lethal.
Because snakes do not eat every day, it can take 4 to 40 days – or even longer – to resume feeding.
- Keep your coop fenced
The construction of the coop should be sturdy, floors should be solid, and gaps in door openings should be 1/4 inch or less. Since snakes can crawl through small areas, it is advisable to cover the poultry house with wire mesh with holes no larger than 10 mm. This mesh, placed outside the edge of the coop, will deter snakes from crawling under the coop wall.
- Keep the poultry clean
In addition, it is necessary to regularly clean your coop to detect these threats to your hens and chicks. Clear out bushes or other things near the enclosure that may attract rodents.
- Don’t leave the eggs in the coop
The sooner you remove the eggs after the hens lay them, the less attractive the feeding place in the coop will be for snakes. Try to stick to this every day.
- Snake Repellent
Electronic snake repellents work by sending an electronic signal or ultrasonic vibration that repels snakes.
- Plant lemongrass trees
Marigolds, peppermint and lemongrass are good choices. The scent of these plants repels most rodents and snakes. This is a solution from other poultry keepers but is not scientifically confirmed.
- Raise the floor of your poultry house
Snakes and burrowing creatures will not be able to enter your coop if you raise the bottom of the cage a few inches.
- Use rat traps and poisons.
Rats also attract snakes to your coop, so you can set some to keep them out. This method is highly effective, but you must be very careful when setting them up to avoid the accidental death of your birds or pets.
- Bring other animals to help you
A slightly less risky and effective option is to get a pet cat. They will not scare the snakes away but will keep the rodents out of the way, which will keep the coop clean.
You can also bring in guinea fowl. The snakes are terrified of these chickens, and they will get along with your coop very well after the necessary introductions. They will also help keep insects and small mice out of your garden.
What to do if a snake is found on your property?
The first thing to do is to remain calm. If this is the first time you are faced with this situation, contact your local nature protection office and ask them to send an expert.
It is risky to handle a snake without training, and most people suffer bites when attempting to remove or kill a snake.
Many snakes are protected species, and it is illegal to kill them. They have not entered your yard to harm you, so there is no need to penalize them for eating.
How to know if there is a snake in your chicken coop?
Snakes do not usually leave traces of their victims, but some signs can help you know snakes have been around.
Keep your calculations correct, and your eggs are counted to know if eggs are suddenly missing.
Eggshells that have been regurgitated
This indicates that the yolk and contents of the egg have been digested. Once the snake has eaten the yolk, it will regurgitate the shell. The shell of a regurgitated animal is crushed and rolled up in appearance.
Wet hens and chicks
Snakes often swallow their prey whole, so if you notice that a chicken, chick, or any animal on your farm is wet for no apparent reason, it may have been a failed attempt.
Snakes shed their skin regularly, so this is a sure clue that they have been in the coop.
Snakes are a silent danger to your poultry, so keep an eye out for the signs, and block their path with these tips to protect your chicks, eggs and chickens from snakes and other animals.