Hen was frightened by snake and now will not lay in nesting box

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by CountryGalLisa, Jun 9, 2019.

  1. CountryGalLisa

    CountryGalLisa Hatching

    Jun 9, 2019
    Hi...looking for some advice. About 5 days ago I opened the upper part of my coop and a copperhead snake was in it. He was right at the top of the ramp where my hen goes up to her nesting box. She has been using it to lay for about 8 months but since that day she will not go up into the upper area. She has started laying her eggs on the ground in other areas of the outer coop. Any hints on how I can get her to go back up? I had opened it up so that she could see me from the bottom of ramp and although she always comes to me and appears to trust me, she will not go back up in. Any suggestions greatly appreciated! I have two other young hens that have not started laying yet and I'm counting on her setting the example of where to lay, so a little concerned to get them all on track.
  2. Shadrach

    Shadrach Roosterist

    Jul 31, 2018
    Catalonia, Spain
    My Coop
    Secure your coop so the snake can't get in would be a good start. Half inch hardware cloth covering any openings.
    DobieLover likes this.
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Yikes, I'd be scared too!!
    Venomous snakes are nothing to mess around with.

    Agrees about securing are to keep snakes out, might be hard to do but still....
    You may have to lock birds in coop to help them 'get over it'...and to re-'home' them.

    Oh, and....Welcome to BYC! @CountryGalLisa
    Where in this world are you located?
    Climate, and time of year, is almost always a factor.
    Please add your general geographical location to your profile.
    It's easy to do, (laptop version shown), then it's always there!
  4. BigBlueHen53

    BigBlueHen53 Songster

    Mar 5, 2019
    SE Missouri, USA
    Hmm. I would say first, thoroughly clean the area, change out the nesting material and clean the ramp thoroughly to remove the scent of the snake. She may still smell it. I have a very sensitive sense of smell (a blessing and a curse, lol!) and I can tell you, snakes STINK. Get rid of the odor as best you can.

    Then, if you can, pick her up and place her in the nest. You might even put a couple of eggs in it before you place her there. This will assure her that it is safe, hopefully. You may have to repeat this every day for a while, but if she jumps right out I would not force her back in at that point. Just let her feel safe jumping out and going on to whatever she wants to do.

    Good luck! Keep us posted.

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