Can a snake kill my chickens?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by krista74, Dec 8, 2014.

  1. krista74

    krista74 Songster

    Jun 4, 2014
    Victoria, Australia.
    Hi all.

    I had a nasty surprise today, finding a brown snake hanging from the roof in my chicken coop. Brown snakes are highly venomous and can kill people, but I'm wondering what is the likelihood it will come after my chickens?

    The snake was 2.5 to 3 feet long, quite thin, but lightening fast! snakes eat chickens? What about young chicks?

    Or would it be happy with he ample supply of mice in the coop? (We are in a rural/cropping area with tons of mice about.)

    Any advice appreciated, including suggestions on how to discourage said snake the heck away from my coop!

    I have the heeby-jeebies just thinking about it.....

    - Krista
  2. theoldchick

    theoldchick The Chicken Whisperer

    May 11, 2010
    Howdy! Now I have the heeby-jeebies. Although I handle snakes when needed, I avoid venomous species, and the thought of one hanging above me makes certain parts of my body clinch in fear. Anyway, yes, your scaled visitor will eat your chicks, eggs, mice, and may attempt to eat an adult chicken if hungry enough.

    While my first instinct is to kill a venomous snake, I usually contact the local herpetologist (contact a nearby zoo to find one near you) and make plans to capture the snake. The only reason why I suggest this is that the venom is needed for research. However, if you have small children, I recommend dispatching the snake and using hardware cloth to prevent entry to the coop.

    Good luck and keep your eyes open!
  3. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude

    Yes, they can be killed by poisonous snakes. A very valuable Barred Plymouth Rock cockerel of mine that I had given to a friend for his breeding rooster was killed by a copperhead while free ranging. The vet, after finding the puncture wound, refused to give antivenin, saying it was illegal, though the vets here in my county do it, albeit, it's very expensive. He died despite her "less than best" efforts-she did everything other than administer the very thing that might have saved him, is why I say "less than best". I'm only saying this because it may be illegal where you are to give the antidote to your birds if they are bitten, not sure about Australia's rules on that.

    ETA: I guess that's more than you wanted to know, sorry. I just have some personal experience.
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2014
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Me TOO!!!

  5. gawildlife

    gawildlife Chirping

    Nov 3, 2014
    Hampton, GA
    While I cannot speak to snakes down under I would believe snake management would be similar if not the same as for our north american species.

    Control is best achieved via a two pronged approach of habitat and food source management. Remove one or both and snakes will move on to better digs.

    Whatever is a brown snakes primary and secondary foods need to be eliminated or access to it in the case of chickens need to be controlled, if possible. Combine this with altering the habitat to deny snakes places of refuge and your most of the way there.

    If need be you can combine this with a trapping program using large glueboards.
  6. I am not familiar with the kinds of snakes that you have down there but the Brown Tree snake will certainly eat birds and their eggs.
  7. bjp70437

    bjp70437 In the Brooder

    Dec 6, 2014
    Chicken snakes will kill your chickens sometimes bc they will try to swallow a chickens head and suffocate it.
  8. krista74

    krista74 Songster

    Jun 4, 2014
    Victoria, Australia.
    Hmmm. This does not bode well for me. I guess there is not an awful lot I can do, considering I don't currently know of the snake's whereabouts.

    I just I'll just have to tread carefully and count my chickens each night.

    - Krista

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