We had a lot of issues with predators this year, and it was our first year doing the backyard chicken thing. For the most part, we were able to solve the big predator problems, but a black snake (I think) ate our 5 Easter Egger chicks at the end of the summer. We didn't know what was getting them at first, they just slowly started disappearing. The day the last one went missing, there was a large black snake with a swollen gut sitting fat and happy in the coop. I didn't kill it because I didn't have a tool handy, and I was afraid it might be poisonous. No picture either, because by the time I came back with my phone it was gone. My question is this: How do I keep snakes away? I live in a neighborhood in a rural area so I'm sure there are plenty. I've read mothballs deter them but they're illegal (at least in Virginia). I do have two roosters that are full grown now, will they be any help? They were a few months old when the snake originally paid a visit and they avoided it with the rest of the hens around their age. If it is a black snake I don't want to kill it because they keep meaner snakes away (or so I've heard) and I'd rather have him than a rattle snake! But I'd like to get more EE chicks this spring, but not if they're just going to be eaten! Sorry for the long post!