We have lived somewhat peacefully with our rat snakes for years. As long as we grab up the eggs before they do and as long as we have kept our chicks closed in until they are big enough to fly up high to roost at night, we haven't had any problems. Until now. This batch of chicks we bought from a feed store. Usually they are hatched by a mama hen and then when they are big enough to fly up high, mama hens takes them way up into the rafters (we keep them closed at night in a pen until they are big enough). Since this batch didn't have anyone to teach them to fly up high, they were roosting up off the ground but not up in the rafters. They were certainly big enough to let out of the closed coop as they are almost as big as a full grown hen... maybe more than half way. But a snake killed two of them.... swallowed up their heads and got to their shoulder and said 'oops, just can't fit' or whatever... I mean serious??? And their is no way the hens attacked them first because we made sure they were safe and sound and tucked away on their little perch that wasn't very high off the ground but still off the ground...all 6 were asleep and within hours of darkness they were swallowed up and regurgitated ( because I went out to check later).... it was awful. It was a big black rat snake. Its not like we don't have tons and tons of things for them to eat...we live on the lake in the woods with oodles of rabbits and mice... So since then we keep putting them in a coop at night and closing them in tight... and if we are going to be gone late at night we can't let them out because we have always had free roaming chickens...... they come in at night and usually they are safe. Never had big snakes kill big chickens...not full grown but still... I need to know if the snakes are going to keep killing them as long as they aren't roosting way up high... will they killl them as long as they are not in the rafters or locked up?