Well I went out to the run/coop day before yesterday to get the eggs & found a 4 1/2 foot snake inside the cat litter converted nesting box in a circle around two eggs. Since I have gotten as many as three eggs I am wondering if he ate one. I scared him away with my husbands grabber stick as he was smaller in diameter than the opening of the grabber stick or I would have carried him outta there. My husband thinks he was a venomous snake because he had a diamond shaped head with indentations behind the head. I don't know what kind he was I just wanted him out of the nest box and out of the coop and run but he slithered behind a hay bale I have in there and I couldn't get to him. The previous night I had spent picking teeeny tiny little black dots off myself by painting them with superglue and peeling them off with the result of some seriously itchy spots left behind. Then it happened again the "night of the snake" visit and I am suspecting they are mites either from the chickens or the hay as I usually sit on a concrete block when I go into the run with them and try to get them to get used to me enough to jump onto my lap for a mealworm treat. The two oldest will follow me through the yard to the lightweight tractors I made for them out of plastic toddler enclosures with welded wire roofs but the younger four are not so cooperative yet as the only two I have tried that with so far didn't want to go where I wanted them to yet. Hence the treat training. But I digress. I am hoping for advice as to how I can collect eggs, catch the younger chickens to take back & forth to the tractors and do other coop/run related activities without becoming an ongoing meal for the tiny black bugs. I am scratching and itching as I speak. I have since covered the entire downstairs wood floors with diatomaceous earth including some in my bed, put my rubber coop boots into a bag of diatomaceous earth and completely covered them inside & out with it, laundered & hot dryer dried all the clothing I've worn out there. But now I'm gun shy & they need their food not to mention tractor time. I'm heading out to feed them regardless if I have to throw it through the welded fencing but am forlornly wondering if I have to get rid of my chickens which would mean giving them to the Chicken rescue group in Memphis that takes loving care of them until they die naturally. My husband says he is gonna have a guy come take all the hay outta there but I don't know if that's gonna solve the problem. My husband is in a wheelchair or he would brave the bugs and do it. I'm sure among all you VERY knowledgeable chicken afficianados out there is some good advice for me. I hate to give up my girls (and one surprise of a very beautiful rooster) but I can't handle itching like this going on long term.