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HUGE rat snake tried to get into my coop/run + chickens wont stop digging for china! They are diggin

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by chem, Apr 15, 2012.

  1. chem

    chem Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 30, 2012
    Space Coast, Florida
    good morning everyone

    i wasnt really sure where to put this question so i stuck it here. i have a few issues that i need to address and fix ASAP. a few days ago i was out in my yard doing some gardening. i grow many vegetables in both my front and back yard. the chicken coop/run is located in the back yard. as i was rounding the corner to enter the back i almost stepped on a 4 foot long rat snake! this snake was just leaving my pen!!!! i had just missed stepping on it by a few inches... i almost had a stroke i swear to you all. it scared the bejesus out of me and i screamed bloody murder! it slithered off into my garden against the back fence. the whole time im screaming my neighbor behind me is outside and can hear me. he grabs his rifle and we start searching for it to kill it. he told me they are normally harmless but since it was large and i do have a VERY TINY bantam it could have easily eaten her :(
    eventually he spotted it and shot it dead. thank god. i would have been a nervous wreck if it left to roam the area. here is my problem:

    what can i do to try and "snake proof" my yard to protect my chickens? i live on the space coast of florida, kinda near a ton of woodlands. i do not own a lot of land but what i do own i want to protect from these things. god forbid something happens to one of my chickens it will break my heart. now i have a hunch some might live under my house. i have one of those manufacture homes/doublewides. whatever you call them. so the underside is exposed if you take the skirting off. the skirting is really old and crappy anyways. i build their coop/run up against the house. i made sure there was solid wall on the house side so none of the skirting or house was exposed to my chickens. i used 2x4 for the base/beams and all that. this is where i am running into my second problem :(

    my 7 week old babies are starting to dig up the corners! any snake could get in if they wanted to i am assuming. my little buggers are digging all day long and sometimes i will catch them and they run off pretending they arent doing anything wrong. i will see 2 chickens used as a lookout to see if i am coming. i swear my chickens are that smart! i have to keep filling in the dirt but they dig it back up! what can i do to fix this problem once and for all?

    any suggestions or ideas please dont hesitate to let me know what you think. i hope you all have a great morning!
     
  2. Aeropennchick

    Aeropennchick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 20, 2012
    Southern PA
    Lots of people sink some wire fencing into the ground to deter from digging predators - maybe you could sink some to deter your digging prey! I would also be nervous about a snake that large with the chickens being so little, but I doubt it will bother them when they are older.

    I know that some snakes come in for the eggs, or to chase mice, but with your young flock I doubt that's what they are after. Make sure you keep the food locked up tight though so mice don't start visiting you, giving the snakes reasons to hang around later on.
     
  3. chem

    chem Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 30, 2012
    Space Coast, Florida
    you know, that sounds like a great idea! thank you very much :)

    it just so happens i have the perfect wire in mind and i think i have enough to go around the whole run/coop! i am terrified of snakes to begin with and just the thought of one near my babies makes me want to have a panic attack lol my silver duckwing OEG is very tiny. i mean RUNT tiny. i do not think they are supposed to be this small in general. she is the one i am most nervous about. all the other babies are the same age as her but are more than double her size. if a snake can easily eat an egg than i think they could easily eat my baby.

    when you say to keep the food locked up do you mean the bulk? i keep the food in a tupperware kinda container in the house that has one of those snap lids to keep the food from spoiling. but i always have food for them in their feeder that sits on the ground inside the run. they are little piggies and like to spill the food all over the ground. do you think that will become an issue with rodents?

    thanks again for your help! [​IMG]
     
  4. Hawkeye95

    Hawkeye95 Chillin' With My Peeps

    If you have the very small Hardware cloth, that would be best. Most snakes can't get through it if the holes are small enough. :)
     
  5. Montana-Hens

    Montana-Hens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 20, 2008
    Buxton, Montana
    You make me thankful for the snow that is falling right now. I don't think I could do with snakes. Lots of rattlers around the area, but we are just high enough that we don't have them at our place.
     
  6. galanie

    galanie Treat Dispenser No More

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    Aug 20, 2010
    Colmesneil,TX
    The bulk, yes locked up but take it up at night too. Mice will come in and eat it from the feeder at night.
     
  7. marlo1968

    marlo1968 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 31, 2012
    Lorenzo, TX
    You could dig up about a foot of dirt inside your run, lay hardware cloth down staple it to the wood around the base of the run walls then put the dirt back over it. It would be a lot of work, but should eliminate the problem of snakes getting in your chicken run. I hate snakes too, awful creatures....I know some will say they serve a purpose, but I just don't care, horrible animals. I grew up in southeast Texas and learned very early that the only good snake is a dead snake! Best wishes to you!!
     
  8. chem

    chem Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 30, 2012
    Space Coast, Florida
    hawkeye, i think that is what i have to use. i am not certain on specific names of different types of wires but the wire i was planning on using has very small little squares and its a lot tougher and stronger than chicken wire :)

    montana, i do not envy you with the snow! [​IMG] however i do kinda miss it from time to time.... im pretty sure we have rattlers here in FL. but than again we probably have every dang type of snake known to man living here in FL and that scares the crap outta me! i try not to think about it. i have become super paranoid now and im outside re-enforcing the whole coop/run today. i must protect them at all cost!

    galanie, i was debating something....
    i was planning on actually locking them in the coop at night. before the snake incident they just put themselves to bed at night. i thought that was safe since the coop was located inside the run and the run was sealed up from predators. but today i am going to make doors for the coop and close them in at night. this is a common thing to do right? should i be doing this even though they are protected since the coop is inside the run? the other debate i had was letting them out in the morning. they wake up before me and have always let themselves out when they woke up. is it bad for me to lock them in and have them wait for me to wake up in order to let them out? here is a link to my photobucket-thingy so you can see pics of the coop/run if you need a visual to go on. i have since added the strong tiny square hole wire around the outside chicken wire. i didnt update the pictures of that lol
    also as far as food and water go, should i make sure they have it in the coop with them at night when i lock them in, if i lock them in?

    sorry for all the questions, i appreciate any help or advice :D

    ***EDIT***

    oops! i almost forgot. here is the link:

    http://s93.photobucket.com/albums/l58/chemcopout/
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2012
  9. chem

    chem Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 30, 2012
    Space Coast, Florida
    i agree 100%
    the only good snake is a dead snake! terrible things that serve no purpose in my mind but to scare the crap outta me lol

    i think thats what i am going to do. im about to go make measurements and make sure i have enough to go around. i am still debating on bringing my tiny bantam in the house to live with me since she loves me anyways. she is extra small for a bantam and easy snake prey :(
     
  10. Jakoda

    Jakoda Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 12, 2012
    Old Lyme CT
    I'd have a stroke, I'm not a fan of snakes and after reading all this 'snake stuff',,,and in the process of building my coop, I'm lining my chicken run with hardware mesh, it's gonna cost me a bundle (these are now million dollar chicks and I haven't even gotten them yet! LOL) with a run that's 12 x 18 (Ft) and 5-6 ft high, but worth it for me to find NO snakes:)
     

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