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Chickens, guinea hens, and rattle snakes...

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

I just recently moved to a house located in prime rattle snake territory.  Nothing but rolling grasslands as far as the eye can see, a huge rodent population (my cat leaves at least 4 or 5 dead mice in front of my door every day), and I've got 3 ponds within 300 yards of the house.

We've been doing our best to keep the immediate area surrounding the house as manicured as possible (leaving them with fewer places to hide), and to reduce the rodent population by any means we can think of.  We built a decent sized "dog pasture" off the back side of the house, inside of the well maintained area, in hopes of reducing the chances of our dogs being bitten by a rattle snake.  Unfortunately, on the first warm day we had this year, a rattle snake made it's way into the dog area, and bit my little MinPin.

Luckily my little dog has made a full recovery, but I've got to do something to keep the snakes away as much as possible.  I was told that chickens and guinea hens will tear a snake apart if given the chance.  Is this true?

I was planning to get 4 or 5 chickens, a few guinea hens, and build a coop and a run inside of the "dog pasture."  That way I can let the flock out during the day to free range in the pasture, and hopefully kill or at least chase away any snakes that might make their way inside the pasture.  Obviously the flock would then be locked up inside the coop at night.  I also figured that placing the coop inside of the dog's area would be a good deterant to other predators looking to make a meal out of my flock.

My dogs all have pretty low prey drives, so I'm fairly confident that they will be able to peacefully co-exist with the chickens if properly introduced and monitored in the begining.  Does this sound likea feasible plan?

Thanks for any input!

post #2 of 8

There was a post on here some time back dealing with the snake problem.  One poster said he had great success  using chicken wire I believe, he  used  double layer and kinda staggered them and spread out around the coop(or pen) in a twisted spirals (kinda 'slinky" style).  The snakes would get hopelessly entangled in the coils and die.   I believe someone else suggested electrified fencing with a strand near the ground to stop slithery things.

Maybe you can do a search on BYC.

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post #3 of 8

yep, it works. my guineas have kept us snake free since I got them. They also help with bugs in the garden. Chickens not so much.

I'm the Mama    that's why

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post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 

I've seen the snake fence stuff, which sounds similar to the spiral chicken wire idea, and was thinking about putting that along the perimeter of the maintained area of my property.  But I'm confident that no matter what steps I take, snakes are going to make their way into the area immediately surrounding the house.  There will always be places for them to get through (walk ways, drive ways, etc...)

I've been reading through page after page on here (lots of good info), but to be honest, I think with this particular issue it's just confusing me more.  I read one thread about a person's flock tearing a snake in half, and then another thread about some one's chicken being killed by a snake...

I guess it really comes down to what type of snake is inside of the chicken coop, but I have yet to read a thread in which the poster specified that it was a rattle snake in their coop.  So maybe my question should be more specific?  Will chickens or guinea hens kill/chase away a western diamond back rattle snake, or vice-versa?

post #5 of 8

I wouldn't go with chickens. But I've seen guineas in action, I'm sure a couple hens would tear into a snake without a problem.

Ducks rule, but so do chickens. Proud owner of one female pekin named Sunny.
3 RIR/PRs and 2 EEs. 5 hens 28+ weeks old and almost full size! Please visit my dragons
http://dragcave.net/user/Pet_Duck_Boy114
I'm the Cocky Cockeral of BYC!
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Ducks rule, but so do chickens. Proud owner of one female pekin named Sunny.
3 RIR/PRs and 2 EEs. 5 hens 28+ weeks old and almost full size! Please visit my dragons
http://dragcave.net/user/Pet_Duck_Boy114
I'm the Cocky Cockeral of BYC!
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post #6 of 8

Last summer, my chickens and 2 Guineas were about 8 months old, we were living on a mountain and we would see the occasional rattler. One day, I see my Ovchartka (who loves to chase lizards) tear off towards the chicken coop. The chickens and Guineas started screaming, I ran over and saw a rattler cruising through. About an hour later, my beautiful Barred Rock was laying there, dead. No sign of injury, and very healthy. My theory was the snake bit her, but i have no proof. We are in the high desert now on a ranch, where there are tons of rattlers and sidewinders. We are laying electric fencing now, bottom strand is almost on the ground, to keep out coyotes and in my dogs. Nice to read here that it might effectively keep out the snakes! YAY!

Single mom juggling a teen actress daughter, the Hollywood jungle and our own jungle; starting inside: 2 Bengal cats, 2 Chihuahuas, 3 parrots, a lizard, songbirds, to outside, 2 Russian Ovchartkas, and a Pyr guarding the flock of various blue green and brown egg chickens, Seramas, Call and Ruen ducks, 2 Fainting and 1 Nigerian goat and 2 dwarf bunnies! Oh, we are both vegetarians...
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Single mom juggling a teen actress daughter, the Hollywood jungle and our own jungle; starting inside: 2 Bengal cats, 2 Chihuahuas, 3 parrots, a lizard, songbirds, to outside, 2 Russian Ovchartkas, and a Pyr guarding the flock of various blue green and brown egg chickens, Seramas, Call and Ruen ducks, 2 Fainting and 1 Nigerian goat and 2 dwarf bunnies! Oh, we are both vegetarians...
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post #7 of 8

Hollywood Chick,  so sorry about your loss.  But what an interesting story.  I get intense creepies just reading about snakes.   Wonder if they would allow mini coops in high rise buildings. If the snake wanted to climb that high, he'd probably be too winded to do anything. Then again the thought of him falling all those stories and landing on terrified pedestrians is the stuff horror movies are made of. Now I really scared myself .   Where is a hug when you need one?

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post #8 of 8

People in our area of high desert CA have laid out chicken wire and used peafowl to combat snakes.  Sounds like you need to use several things for really good coverage.  Maybe different wires and predators together?  oh, and at least one variety of snake kills rattlers (sorry I'm not sure which right now, maybe the bull snake?)  Good luck.


Edited by foxflower - 4/10/10 at 5:26pm

"Life is mostly froth and bubble, but one thing stands as stone.  Kindness in another's trouble; courage in one's own." -- Adam Lindsay Gordon

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"Life is mostly froth and bubble, but one thing stands as stone.  Kindness in another's trouble; courage in one's own." -- Adam Lindsay Gordon

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