Black snake the eats fertile eggs

CuteChick369

Chirping
6 Years
Apr 16, 2013
75
2
86
North Carolina
I just moved from town out to the country and have a coop and run setup next to the woods. My first day there, one of my hen's fertile eggs went missing! No sign at all of what took it! The second day, another fertile egg went missing! However, the non-fertile eggs (that the others were laying each day) were still there. Hens didn't seem upset, everyone looked normal.

A few days later (today), fertile eggs started hatching. One of the eggs had pipped and I could hear the baby chick inside. I went into the house and an hour later, came back to check. A black snake was in the coop and that pipped egg was gone! We killed the snake and retrieved the egg out of it, but the baby was dead.

I have a few more eggs under another hen getting ready to hatch. How is it that the snake knows which eggs are fertile, and does he purposely eat those? Or, is he just interested in warm eggs maybe?

I don't know if we have anymore black snakes, but we're moving the broodie hens to more secure coops right now. And, we're going to buy moth balls and snake repel later on. What else can I do to keep the eggs safe, and does anyone know if the snake would go after a baby chick?

Thanks!
 

sunflour

Flock Master
8 Years
Jan 10, 2013
14,974
7,757
772
Macon,GA
Bet they would, they eat frogs and mice. Guess it depends on the snake's size.

I wouldn't take the chance, protect them with 1/2 inch hard
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Nov 27, 2012
96,321
129,492
1,807
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
Sorry for your loss.
Hard to say if the snake can detect a live chick in an egg, if it hasn't pipped internally or externally.
1/2" hardware cloth securely installed should keep them out.
Not sure if mothballs will work, or any other snake repellent, but make sure the birds can't get at any of that.

You killed the one snake, but I'd bet there are others around...
...and yes they will eat baby chicks.
 

jolly wattles

Songster
Apr 27, 2017
552
514
161
West Tennessee
Moth balls and snake repellent does not work! Last week killed a copperhead behind the coop and run. 3 days ago shot a big black snake next to the house 20 yards from the coop. Today a heaving rain came then went out afterwords to let them into their open run only to see the girls surround a 5 foot rat snake in the run. I had poured snake away around the house and perimeter of the coop before hand like 2 weeks ago.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Nov 27, 2012
96,321
129,492
1,807
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
Moth balls and snake repellent does not work! Last week killed a copperhead behind the coop and run. 3 days ago shot a big black snake next to the house 20 yards from the coop. Today a heaving rain came then went out afterwords to let them into their open run only to see the girls surround a 5 foot rat snake in the run. I had poured snake away around the house and perimeter of the coop before hand like 2 weeks ago.
Yes, repellents have to be reapplied after every rain.....rain washes it away.
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
27,477
20,696
907
Southeast Louisiana
I've had a snake eat eggs out from under a broody hen in a fairly early stage of development, no pipping at all. I've had snakes eat eggs that were not under a broody hen. I've had a couple of snakes eat golf balls (after they ate them they could not get out of the coop because they were too big for the hole they used to get in). Eating the golf balls is pretty rare though, usually they ignore them. I've had snakes not eat golf balls that were under a broody hen when she had no real eggs. And I've had a snake eat a baby chick. Snakes can visit any time of the day or night.

I don't know if a snake can regurgitate a golf ball if it can't digest it or not, I've read both. I keep golf balls in my nests all the time but it is really rare when a snake actually eats one. From my experience they are not often very much help with snakes. But they won't hurt.

Since snakes use smell and heat to hunt it makes sense they might prefer warm eggs under a broody hen. I seriously doubt fertility or development ahs anything to do with it.
 

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