Chicken snakes

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Mkoonsman, Jul 8, 2019.

  1. Mkoonsman

    Mkoonsman Hatching

    Jul 8, 2019
    i have killed 5 chicken/rat snakes in my hen house this year. That does not include the ones who have eaten the golf balls I put I he nest and gone off and died! I just put 5 eggs under a hen yesterday and are all gone today! The snake away is a joke and the smell of mothballs makes me sick ! Any suggestions on how to deter snakes ! I’m sick of them stealing eggs!
  2. sylviethecochin

    sylviethecochin Free Ranging

    Jun 14, 2017
    Central PA
    Welcome to BYC!

    My cats like to kill snakes, and I hear that guineas do as well. Hardware cloth all your cracks, store your feed well, trap/poison rodents.

    I've heard that most snake repellents do nothing against snakes; they're supposed to not care about naphthalene or sulfur after a brief adjustment period.

    I had a brief stint as a kid when I could not incubate eggs due to rats eating them. So I put the nesting hens in boxes made of hardware cloth and just turned them out once a day.
    so lucky likes this.
  3. I actually like snakes and the ones i have here are blue racers. I only see one every couple years or so. They help keep the mouse population down.
    Having said that my mother had a farm near a river and she had a similar problem as you. She could not get her well pit seviced without killing a dozen snakes first.
    Years ago i baught some bird netting. It is supposed to stop wild birds from eating your berries if you tent the bush or dwarf tree while its fruiting. Well parts of this netting got on the ground and the grass grew into it. I had to rescue 2 snakes from this netting. They weaved thru it and could not go all the way thru so they double back and get wound like an accordian. One i found to late to release and he was dead. You may be able to just lay some around the edges of your run and snakes may get tangled. I am sure you will check it every day and dispatch or relocate these snakes so they do not suffer. This is the lightweight stuff any garden store carries. Amazon sells it also. The squares are about one half to three quarter inch.
    Sorry for your troubles.
  4. flyin-lowe

    flyin-lowe Songster

    Jan 24, 2016
    You can use a minnow trap set with an egg to catch them. Youtube has many videos showing how they work.
    FowlWitch likes this.
  5. MROO

    MROO Free Ranging

    This isn't my video, but it's a good way to trap snakes using a standard minnow trap. You may even find someone willing to take on rat, black, garter and many other types as they keep the pests in gardens and outbuildings. Good Luck!

    sylviethecochin likes this.
  6. chazz0861

    chazz0861 Chirping

    Jun 8, 2019
    Bedias, Texas
    I have been researching this myself since we lost a hen yesterday to a snake. So far it looks like the best way to keep snakes out is to cover all opening with hardware cloth with 1/4" - 1/2" holes. I have gone to several sites and this is a common theme on all of them. Seems if we use anything with larger holes like Chicken Wire the snakes can crawl through it but anything with 1/2" or smaller holes the snakes can not get through them. They also say to bury some about 6" - 12" deep around the coop and pen so other predators can not dig under the fence.
    MROO likes this.
  7. MomJones

    MomJones Songster

    Feb 22, 2019
    South Carolina
    Hey, we're having the same problem down here in South Carolina. We too found out that the so-called Snake Rid does nothing to deter them. Neither does the 12-inch deep hardware cloth we buried around the entire 18x40 foot run and coop. It's really bugging me! I killed one 5 foot adult rat snake last week and thought that was it. Nope! Last night we found another adult right in our coop, "snuggled" up underneath a pile of very confused, slightly worried looking pullets. :mad:

    Probably like you, I did some research on snake trapping and decided to go with the loop thing. I took 3/4 inch PVC pipe--about 3 feet long-- and threaded 7 feet of thin cable through it and back up to form a loop at one end. The idea is to loosely encircle the head area, then pull sharply, fold over the cable to hold tension and then sever the head. Haven't tried it yet but I'm pretty sure I will be soon. I killed the first one with a rake, husband killed the second one with a shovel (it's messy that way). So hopefully we'll get a system going here. It's so unnerving not knowing when or where the next one is gonna show up.

    By the way I like what you said about the golf balls. We did that and so far none have been taken. Keep us posted on your progress!

    Rat Snakes 001.JPG
  8. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    I have a Black Rat Snake problem as well. Two approaches are at play. One is to have too many eggs produced each day and harvest table eggs before dark. With broody nests in barn I either put them in locations harder for the snake to reach or atop a 55-gallon barrel the snakes can not climb up.
    MROO likes this.
  9. jaxonann

    jaxonann Chirping

    Jul 7, 2019
    Dallas, TX
    Deterrents do not work and mothballs aren't legal in some states as they can leach into the ground, plus they also do not work. Hardware cloth, patching holes and reinforcing the perimeter are your best best. Make sure chicken feed is not inviting mice and rats into the area. Trap vermin rather than poisoning as they can track the poison into the coop.
    MomJones and MROO like this.
  10. AuntieWeasel

    AuntieWeasel Chirping

    Jun 23, 2019
    In the town museum in Nashville, there's the mummy of a snake that had eaten an alabaster egg and died of it. Why on earth someone thought that was important enough to put in a museum I do not know, but it was a favorite with the kids when we went there on field trips.
    ShannonR and MomJones like this.

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