Distress can play a major role in a dramatic decrease in egg production within your flock. A snake just being present and not necessarily eating the eggs can make your egg layers turn off their switch. RAIN, that is a reality we are dealing with at the moment. An unprecedented amount of precipitation. With the rain comes the need for rodents to seek out dry and higher ground. We are catching rats in record numbers right now in our barn. They are even up in the rafters. Back to egg production. Our barn is in close proximity to our big egg house. Currently it houses close to 100 egg layers. For the last few days, we have been collecting only 7 eggs! Yesterday, only 3 eggs. Good grief. We are still feeding the birds $ but getting no return for our investment. Proof positive their is a problem- we have 5 other hen houses far away from the barn and big hen house and they are producing a bounty of eggs! Last night, right at 11 P.M., upon locking down the barn, as I approached the building, all of the young newbie chickens in pens were flapping-jumping-screaming in mass hysteria! Great, drama at bedtime. A massive yellow rat snake was on patrol. Doing his job- seek and destroy rats- their staple. I yelled out for my secret weapon, hubby. He walks out a snatches it up while the young birds are still all going ape poop. These creatures are fabulous for rodent control but not so good for poultry egg production. If you have rodents, you have snakes too. If not now, soon enough you will. that's what they do. While you are watching Netflix and have your butt planted in your lazyboy chair, these creatures are trying to find a meal to survive. They come out at night, just like the rats do. We measured the yellow rat snake at 6 ft 7 inches. The largest one we've caught ever was an 8 footer. This one is not as long but has a good circumference. Also this one is not aggressive. They have been thrashers in recent past. This one was almost tame. No twitching and very little constricting. Not fighting to get away at all. So being my Husband, and all the ridiculous stuff he does, when I was putting the camera away, he came out from the hallway, from the bedrooms after I herd a scream. I said "why did you bring that thing in my house'?!. He knocked on our guests bedroom door and said open up, I think you lost something. What a clown. Try going back to sleep after that sight, being city folks. So hopefully egg production resumes here shortly. We are paying out a bunch of change for feed and almost zero return. In the meanwhile, DH has placed the snake in an old 100 gallon fish tank and is going to feed it rats from our live traps for a few weeks before releasing it. As a token of gesture for helping us keep the rodent population on it's toes and aiding in the reduction of the rodent's numbers. Here is a pic of a recent past one who was mean and nasty- I guess this is why hubby is going to feed the friendly one. Never a dull moment.