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Contents: Chickens vs Snakes
How to Protect Chickens From Snakes
Most snakes are too small to cause any harm to adult chickens. But deaths and injuries still do happen, like when a snake tries to swallow the chicken by the head and gives up because the chicken is too big for it.
Instead, snakes tend to be more of a danger to chicks and they’ll also eat the eggs.
So here are some quick tips on what to do if you spot snakes around your chicken coop.
Keep Rodents Away
Some people think that chickens attract snakes to their property. But it’s usually small rodents, like rats and mice, that make your backyard and chicken coop an attractive hunting spot for snakes.
Fewer rodents mean your yard will be a less attractive hunting spot for snakes.
Keep your property rodent-free by:
- Stop Feeding Rodents: Rodents will try to eat chicken feed and treats that you leave around your backyard. Store chicken feed in locking lid cans made out of galvanized steel (Amazon). Also, consider using a treadle feeder (Amazon) to keep pests away.
- Clean Backyard: Snakes and rodents love backyards with plenty of hidding places. The fewer places to hide, the less attractive your yard and chicken coop will be for rodents and snakes. Keep grass cut, bushes trimmed, and your yard free of dead leaves and brush piles.
- Rat Traps: Set rat traps (my favorite is the AB Humane Animal Trap on Amazon). Just please be careful that any trap you use won’t hurt your chickens or chicks!
- Cats: Consider adopting a cat. It might not directly help with your snake issue, but it’ll love to hunt those pesky rodents.
Chicken Coop Security
Especially if you’re trying to protect chicks and eggs from snakes, the best practice is to make sure snakes can’t get inside of your chicken coop and run in the first place!
So I made a small checklist of things the coop really needs.
No Gaps or Holes
Even large snakes can squeeze through the smallest gaps and holes.
To protect your chickens from snakes, you never want any openings in your chicken coop and run that are larger than 1/4 inch.
Make sure to add weather stripping or additional molding to door gaps. And check over the entire coop, from top to bottom, for any holes or gaps. You need to cover these with 1/4 inch hardware cloth (Amazon).
I also added hardware cloth over the ventilation holes. But if you are thinking of doing the same, only use a single layer of the hardware cloth! Your chickens need sufficient ventilation and light.
I don’t use chicken wire because snakes can slip right through it. Plus, other predators can easily tear through it too. For coop security, chicken wire is just a bad idea. It’s more for keeping your chickens in than keeping predators out.
Protect Your Nesting Boxes
Keep your eggs locked securely. A nesting box with a latch is essential as large snakes can easily lift the lid to get to those eggs.
Collect the eggs regularly so the snakes aren’t tempted to get the eggs in the first place.
It only takes one animal to dig under your chicken run or coop for the snakes to enjoy the tunnel. That’s why it’s a great idea to add a predator apron around your chicken coop.
If you don’t know what a predator apron is, check out my post: How To Keep Predators From Digging Under a Chicken Coop
Snakes really don’t like to travel in open spaces because they might become the prey!
Tall and thick grass provides good shelter and hiding places for snakes. So regularly mow the grass in your yard and especially around your chicken coop.
Also remove all rocks, wood, leaves, brush piles, and other objects that are near the sides of your chicken coop.
Snakes are very good at climbing trees. So cut down tree branches or anything that could help the snakes from getting into the chicken coop from above.
Guinea fowl are good to keep with your free-ranging chickens during the day, as they will alert the flock if there are any predators around. Guinea fowl especially hate snakes.
Just keep in mind that you’ll need more than one guinea fowl as they are very social with their own species. Also, you’ll probably need a seperate coop for your guinea fowl.
Snake traps can be a great way to get rid of snakes if you’re not scared of them and you’re positive their not going to hurt you.
There are some glue snake traps, but I prefer a more humane way of trapping anything, including snakes. Try placing a minnow trap (Amazon) wherever you keep finding snakes. Then, place an egg in the trap.
The snake gets in the trap through the small hole and drops down where the egg is. After eating the egg it cannot get back out. Once trapped, take the snake for a drive and release it far away from your house.
Commercial Snake Deterrent
Snakes rely on a unique patch of sensory cells in its nose to interpret its surroundings. Snake repellent granules (Amazon) temporarily blocks this important function, making the snake retreat immediately to a place without this deterrent in the air.
Natural snake repellent granules can be safely used around people, pets, and plants when used as directed.
That’s it! I hope this post helped you out!