Snakes can find their way into a chicken coop while looking for food. Snakes in a chicken coop can eat chicks, eggs, chicken feed, and rodents hiding in a chicken house. Therefore, a big coop provides them with both food and shelter.
To keep snakes out of a chicken coop, block any entrance and exit they may use to move in and out, then cut tall grass or bush around it. Remove extra chicken feed at night, keep eggs plus chicks away, and set snake traps around the coop.
Snakes in a coop cause stress and discomfort to a flock. Stressed chickens cannot produce eggs or grow as required. They may also attack you or your loved ones when cleaning, feeding the chickens, or collecting eggs. Here is a video of snakes eating chicken eggs;
Table of Contents
- Signs of snakes in chicken coop
- How to keep snakes out of chicken coop
- Do chickens attract snakes?
- Are chickens afraid of snakes?
- Do chickens attack and eat snakes?
Signs of snakes in chicken coop
To ensure the safety and comfort of chickens and their eggs, be keen and observant of the chicken’s behavior and surroundings. You can tell if a snake has been in the coop or has eaten the chicken eggs in the following ways:
1. Missing eggs in the nesting box
Though egg production is mostly reduced during winter and fall, always check if some eggs are missing. If the eggs keep disappearing regularly, there is a likelihood that a snake is sneaking in and swallowing them.
2. Disgorged eggshells
After swallowing the nutritional content of chicken eggs, snakes usually vomit the eggshells. The disgorged eggshells are generally compressed and have an irregular shape. If you find such eggshells and have previously noted that some eggs are missing, there might be snakes invading the chicken houses.
3. Shaded snake skins
Seeing their skins is the clearest indication that a snake has been in the chicken coop or the surrounding area. Snakes usually shed off their skins regularly after feeding. The presence of shaded snake skin means it’s time to take action.
4. Noise at night
Chickens will be restless at night when a snake is in the coop. As the snake moves, some will flee while others will try to attack it in defense. Whichever the case, chickens will make a lot of noise as they panic.
How to keep snakes out of chicken coop
Leaving chicken food overnight in a coop can attract rats. Snakes can eat rats, and that will be an extra meal. Cleanliness and removing excess chicken feed to avoid rats in a coop can help control snakes. Preventing snakes from slithering to the chicken coop is the best option. Keep them away using the following methods:
1. keep the coop clean
The chicken litter and food leftovers attract rodents, which in turn attract snakes. Ensure that the coop is always clean and rodent-free. Additionally, clear the bushes, lawn, and grass around the coop to prevent snakes or rodents from hiding there.
Stagnated water sources can also attract water. If you want to let the chickens have some water at night, ensure it is not left in a large bucket on the ground. Snakes can become thirsty, and they may go away on their own without water or food.
2. Block them
The chicken coop needs to be secure with no gaps exceeding five inches. You can also use chicken wire with the smallest holes to secure it. Consequently, mount nesting boxes on the walls that snakes can’t access.
Collect laid eggs daily and keep chicks in safe brooders that snakes can’t sneak through. Finally, replace eggs with mothballs or golf balls, killing snakes if they swallow them.
3. Rearing guinea fowl
With a proper introduction, guinea fowls will live with chickens peacefully. However, they dislike snakes. They will surely attack and scare them away if they spot them.
Having a cat on the farm will help eliminate rodents that attract snakes. Cats can kill mice that disturb chickens at night in a coop. However, cats can also rattle chickens as they sleep at night. Therefore, it is a good idea to release the cat into the coop during the day when the chickens are out.
5. Using snake repellents and traps
According to the Department of Wild Life Ecology & Conservation, “There are a variety of commercially available humane glue board snake traps that you can set along walls to capture snakes.”
You can purchase snake repellents or traps and position them around the coop to either keep away or trap the snakes. However, seek professional advice on the repellents that are harmless to you and your flock.
Besides commercial repellents, natural plant herbs such as rosemary, lemongrass, mint, marigolds, etc., repel snakes.
6. Remove snakes around the coop
If you find a snake on a farm, avoid attacking or killing it since it is illegal to kill protected species. Contact the nearest wildlife office and request them to remove the snake.
Trying to trap it yourself can make the snake attack. Most snake bites are venomous and can kill within hours! The best option is to protect the flock using our discussed methods and always ask for help if a snake invades a farm.
Do chickens attract snakes?
Chickens do not attract snakes directly since they are not among the best prey for snakes. However, they attract them indirectly since chicken eggs will attract snakes. Chicken coops are commonly infested with rodents that snakes love feeding on.
Rodents such as rats hide near chicken house units to make it easier to feed on leftover chicken feed and keep warm. These rodents are snakes’ prey, and they attract snakes. Snakes may also come to chicken coops to hunt chicks.
Are chickens afraid of snakes?
Chickens are susceptible birds and are usually afraid of threats, including humans. Therefore, they may be frightened of snakes, especially if they threaten their safety. Regardless of the fear, chicken, especially roosters and mothering chickens, can defend themselves and their chicks fearlessly from snakes.
Because chickens flock together, they can attack a snake with their beaks until they kill it or escape. However, even with speed and unity, chickens do not usually kill snakes since they easily give up after a few pecks. Therefore, the best option is to keep snakes away from the chicken since they may injure several birds before escaping.
Do chickens attack and eat snakes?
As mentioned earlier, chickens can attack snakes, and since chickens can also feed on meat, they can eat and swallow the snakes. However, this depends on the size of the snake. A small-sized garden snake, like the garter snake, will be killed and consumed by a chicken.
Though chickens can attack and even eat small snakes, don’t let them near your flock. Snakes feed on chicks and chicken eggs and may even kill some mature chickens. Since some snakes are very venomous, they can bite chickens, leading to almost instantaneous death.