rat or king snake, which is worse?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by paparootzi, Sep 19, 2009.

  1. paparootzi

    paparootzi Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 25, 2009
    Kingston, TN
    I saw my first rat last night about 8:30 when I went in to shut the chicken door. When I flashed him w/ my flashlight, he ran under some stacked hay bales. He wasn't huge but not a little mouse either. I was worried about my chickens but didn't know what to do at the moment so I'm pondering over traps or poison ??? (to decide which would be safer for my chickens.) But then today when I decided to see if the rat was homesteading in the hay bales, I moved the bales away from the wall and just about had a heart attack! There was a HUGE snake coiled up but it didn't move so I rolled the bale of hay back over it. It could have been digesting the rat! I had a friend come over and he said it was a King snake. It's about 5 feet long. The heads about as big as a quarter. He got it on a stick and it was twisting around on it and this nut even let it crawl up on his arm a little bit but we put it in a trash bag and knotted it and now I'm just wondering WHAT TO DO????? Should I keep the snake to get the rats? I don't care if it eats some eggs, but I don't want it to kill my last 5 growers? Would the snake be a good rat deterent and leave the adult chickens alone? It seemed kinda' nice? I have 11 full grown, 12 born 6/1 so they are fairly big but I have 2 born 7/22 and 3 on 8/10. The mother hens get up in their boxes about 3 ft. off the ground at night with the little ones. But in the day-time, I have a little guy get out sometimes so I'm afraid he would get in a trap and same thing for the poison. My friend said that chickens will sometimes attack a snake? I haven't had any deaths in my flock for a year and I would like to keep in that way! Please help....which is a worse threat?
     
  2. willkatdawson

    willkatdawson Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 31, 2008
    Ga
    They are both VERY important snakes. If you can't stand the idea of having it on you property than take it a few miles away and release it in a field or woods. I would welcome either snake on my property but I can see your concern of having it around chicks and eggs. The snake is harmless and very helpful to humans so please be kind and don't kill it. It can take several years for it to reach that length and if it's a rat snake it has most likely killed rodents on your propery, if it's a king it might have even killed a copperhead or worse.
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2009
  3. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Well...I wouldn't put out poison for the rat, because the chicks/chickens could end up with it. Even if the rat ate the poison and crawled out and the chickens got it, they still might end up w/poison. I would try a live trap and then dispose of it. I'm biased about the snake, because I appreciate them, like the previous poster. I think they are very beneficial w/rodents. If I had only big chickens, I'd leave it where you found it. But if you have little ones (depending on how little), I'd try to rehome it nearby, but out of the coop/run area. I would not kill it...it hasn't done any harm to your chickens.

    Or WAS the snake your live trap??? lol [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2009
  4. Laurieks

    Laurieks Where did the time go???

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    Aug 14, 2009
    Sonoma County, CA
    Quote:[​IMG][​IMG]
    If the snake gets enough rats he might not want a chicken, feathers prolly tickle & poke his gut too much.
    I would let him out (or give him airholes) asap, outside the coop.
     
  5. NateinFL

    NateinFL Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 7, 2009
    Wesley Chapel FL
    I have had an issue with yellow rat snakes. I have cats so I dont have rats/mice that I have seen. However, I had a yellow rat snake last year get onto my back porch and into the pen with babies and momma hen and ate 3 bantam babies. I also had one scale the pole outside the house and get into the bluebird nestbox and eat babies, I saw the parents going nuts and went to check and a rat snake was in there:mad:. This year I have lost 2 baby bantams to different yellow rat. I am not a fan of rat snakes!!!!! Oh and last year I found one in the nest, my bantam hen was hollering, and he was in the process of eating an egg. I won't tell you what happened to the rat snakes but let's just say there are less of them around this year.
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2009
  6. paparootzi

    paparootzi Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 25, 2009
    Kingston, TN
    Quote:Yes, I agree, it is an asset to have a "good" snake around! It seemed nice. I wouldn't like it to get near me but my friend had it on a short stick and letting it go up his arm a bit and that snake would just stick it's little tongue out (but it didn't bite him). I don't think the rat would have been as calm as that! Thanks for your quick response!
     
  7. paparootzi

    paparootzi Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 25, 2009
    Kingston, TN
    Quote:That's what I was thinking! I'm thinking about putting it back in the woods to take care of the rats because I don't like to kill anything myself but an infestation of rats would be much worse than a "good" snake around! I'll just put those 3 bales of hay up off the ground so a rat OR snake can't hide in the chicken house! [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2009
  8. koifarm

    koifarm Chillin' With My Peeps

    You could try one of the available live traps to catch the rat, the snake on the other hand will likely eat eggs so it's a catch 22.
    Find rat traps and other methods here:

    http://store.doyourownpestcontrol.com/Catalog/category.aspx?iid=94

    The rats are likely there because of the feed present, I don't know if they would be a threat for eggs, maybe for chicks but I doubt that.
    The snakes, just remove them more than 1/4 mile from your place or even further. I take mine, place them in a pillow case and drive on out to a nice little creek and let em go there. You could do the same thing with the rats.
    Barring that, you could chop the snakes up and feed them back to the chickens....they will eat them. It all depends on your outlook about predators...
     
  9. paparootzi

    paparootzi Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 25, 2009
    Kingston, TN
    Well, he didn't like that bag too much. He made his own airholes ! Shoot, I was going to get a picture to show ya'll how big he was but he's also a little closer to the house now. Oh well, happy hunting Mr. Kingsnake!
     
  10. Ken H

    Ken H Chillin' With My Peeps

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