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Can snakes do harm to 15-week-old chickens?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by NewOldMotherHen, Aug 10, 2011.

  1. NewOldMotherHen

    NewOldMotherHen Out Of The Brooder

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    I was just sitting in my fenced-in chicken yard with a chicken on my lap when ten chicken heads all turned and watched a 6-foot long black rat snake slither through a hole in the fence and immediately out a hole on the other side. The chickens all went over to watch where it had gone out the fence. I know snakes will eat eggs but my chickens aren't old enough yet to lay eggs. At 15 weeks, should I worry about the safety of the chickens if a snake gets into the chicken house when the chickens are penned up at night? The yard is 20 X 20 feet so the chickens would have room to move away from a snake if they were smart enough (also in question).

    (I will buy a couple minnow traps and try to trap it and any other snakes before my chickens start laying eggs. Right now I'm worried if the snake can harm confined chickens.)

    What about if a snake was hiding inside the chicken house at night and the chickens can't see to get away.
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2011
  2. mulewagon

    mulewagon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Several people have posted on here that large snakes have crushed grown hens, even if they can't swallow them. (And a six-footer might be able to swallow a pullet...)

    One that big won't fit into the hole in the minnow trap - try loose deer netting around the run, assuming the chickens can't get to it.
     
  3. animals1981

    animals1981 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    depends on the species and how long it is some snake species are there looking to eat other snakes some want rats and mice other want eggs


    only snakes over six feet will try to take on a bird pigeon size and up most are scared crapless of chicken because in the wild chicken size predators (hawk and owls herons and egrets) prey snakes they even take six foot size snakes so snakes usually fear large birds from what ive seen.
     
  4. NewOldMotherHen

    NewOldMotherHen Out Of The Brooder

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    Wal-Mart only had collapsible minnow traps but I found a solid rectangular shaped one for $19.99 at a sporting goods outlet store. (Gander Mountain had the same one for $29.99.) I set the trap on the same path where the snake went out the fence. I still have ten chickens this morning and the egg (bait) is still in the trap. This snake was long but not thick so I'm hoping it will be intimidated by the girls. I'm also wondering what I will do with the snake if it does go in the trap.
     
  5. Achickenwrangler#1

    Achickenwrangler#1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Your blacksnake is not a threat to grown chickens, they prey on rodents, small birds, baby chicks - my neighbor says his chickens kill snakes. Odds are you have some critters goingg after leftt over feed, and the snake is doing you the favor of going after them..I used to catch black snakes and release them in the barn - they sure got rid of the mice, going places a cat can't..
     
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Quote:If you are concerned about the legalities, you can contact wildlife control or management and ask. In many states, it is illegal to kill a snake. It may be illegal to release one anywhere other than on your property. Maybe there is a park or somewhere around that it is legal to release them.

    If you have one snake, you have more in the area. I took two different black snakes from my coop within a week of each other, both with golf balls inside them. Black snakes will eat eggs and baby chicks. How big the snakes would have to be to eat a 15 week old chicken, I don't know.

    Chickens will eat small snakes. The largest I've seen my chickens eat is around 6", but I don't know where the cut-off is that they stop eating them.

    Snakes are drawn by the rodents that are drawn by your chicken feed. Just because the snakes are there after rodents does not mean they are definitely eating your eggs, but eggs can certainly be on their diet. Once they find your eggs, they will almost certainly return for more. And they will show up in day or night time. I had one a couple of years back that was eating eggs. I never did catch it. I am almost always at home so I could check the coop almost every half hour for a few weeks. By removing the eggs as they were laid, I was able to train the snake to quit looking for eggs there. But it did eat the eggs out from under a broody.
     
  7. Achickenwrangler#1

    Achickenwrangler#1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Another nice thought, black snakes kill other snakes...gotta tell you I'd rather see a blacksnake than a copperhead. The thought of a snake crushing a chicken tickles me, somebody pullin your leg - acorse there are pythons in the everglades that are killing 6 foot gators now...
     
  8. mulewagon

    mulewagon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Achickenwrangler#1 :

    The thought of a snake crushing a chicken tickles me, somebody pullin your leg

    Several folks have posted pictures from their coops - and the ratsnake that was getting my chicks was large enough to kill a sleeping rooster, if not swallow him. The snake swallowed as many as seven two-week-old chicks at a time. At night, chickens are very easy victims.​
     
  9. NewOldMotherHen

    NewOldMotherHen Out Of The Brooder

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    I have always known that black snakes were a form of rodent control and I allowed them to come and go. I have even found snake skins in my basement and didn't panic. In Virginia it is illegal to move wildlife from one location to another. (They are concerned about spreading disease.) So you have to contact a state-licensed wildlife handler or kill the critter if it's legal. Just found out that snakes ARE protected in Virginia.
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2011
  10. NewOldMotherHen

    NewOldMotherHen Out Of The Brooder

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    Mulewagon just scared me again.
     

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