Snake proofing

Mixed flock enthusiast

Free Ranging
May 21, 2018
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Ugh, a large black rat snake got into the coop night before last and killed two keets. I’m not sure how it got in, but I saw weakness in waviness of the apron and possible door gaps. I put in 150 additional landscape staples and now the apron is lying pretty flat.

I don’t know if the door gaps are big enough to be a problem or how to eliminate them. There are two doors but the solid door is boarded up and has almost no gap, except at the hinge side... I had placed 1x4 boards around the outside of the screened door but they interfered with its function and probably weren’t closing gaps much as I had them. I don’t have a picture, but the screened door has a board screwed to the inside to decrease the bottom gap. I’m interested to hear whether anyone has thoughts on modifying the doors to exclude snakes...
 

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Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
27,845
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Southeast Louisiana
That looks like 1/2" hardware cloth. A snake big enough to eat young chicks or keats can get through 1' hardware cloth but 1/2" should work. The rat snake that got through my 1" hardware cloth and ate a chick was maybe 4 to 4-1/2 feet long.

Snakes can climb really well so look high and low for gaps. Gates and doors can be weak spots. So can windows, ventilation areas, or nests you can get to from outside the coop. It depends on how they are built. It can be challenging to close gaps around doors because they still have to operate. Depending on door swing and what is flush you can usually close off the top and bottom doing what Aart showed, either on the frame itself or on the door. Maybe wood or even weather stripping or flashing.

The sides can be a bit more challenging because if you put anything in that gap on the latch side or the hinge side it could keep the door from opening or closing. On the latch side you might be able to put something on the outside of the door itself if you can't fit it on the inside of the frame. On the hinge side it pretty much has to fit in the frame itself. If you can't fit a piece of wood in there you might go to the hardware store and look for some kind of flashing or weatherstripping that you can fit.
 

Quackter

Songster
May 15, 2019
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Yes that’s a good idea, thanks! Anyone have pictures of what that would look like?
I don't have any pics. Just latch the door, (with you inside), and trace a line around the frame of where the door closes at. Yo might use a drywall knife as a guide where the gap is to far for the pencil. Then just "frame" the inside of the door jamb with some 2x2, (you might need a 2x4 on edge on top, or rip it down to a 2x3, whatever it needs). Run your top, bottom, and strike side first. Then on the hinge side, either hold a block up and mark, or hold the 2x2 in position and make sure it is back far enough it clears the door. (The way your hinges pivot to the outside of the frame, it looks like flush with the other is fine), just check before you screw down.
If you want to go this far, I personally don't think you need to, you can put weather stripping on the jamb also. Just when you mark out your 2x2 stop trim, lay a shim about half the thickness of you weather strip, to mark off of. Your coup looks well built, I am sure you got it.

Not so much for your door, maybe someone else that doesn't have a door frame that deep, you can make a flange around the top, btm, and latch side of the door itself, then get an inner tube, cut cross wise both sides of the valve stem, then split the inside long ways. Staple, fender washer. or best a couple thin furring strips, it to the frame and door on the hinge side.
 

Mixed flock enthusiast

Free Ranging
May 21, 2018
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Assuming inner surface of door is flush with inner frame around it,
and door opens outward,
just add a 1x board inside the frame....
..something like this:
View attachment 1912384
Thanks! The inside of the door is not flush with the inside of the frame, so I guess I’d need to add a spacer frame around the inside of the door and then add the inside stops to the frame.
 

Mixed flock enthusiast

Free Ranging
May 21, 2018
3,512
8,662
656
Stillwater, OK
That looks like 1/2" hardware cloth. A snake big enough to eat young chicks or keats can get through 1' hardware cloth but 1/2" should work. The rat snake that got through my 1" hardware cloth and ate a chick was maybe 4 to 4-1/2 feet long.

Snakes can climb really well so look high and low for gaps. Gates and doors can be weak spots. So can windows, ventilation areas, or nests you can get to from outside the coop. It depends on how they are built. It can be challenging to close gaps around doors because they still have to operate. Depending on door swing and what is flush you can usually close off the top and bottom doing what Aart showed, either on the frame itself or on the door. Maybe wood or even weather stripping or flashing.

The sides can be a bit more challenging because if you put anything in that gap on the latch side or the hinge side it could keep the door from opening or closing. On the latch side you might be able to put something on the outside of the door itself if you can't fit it on the inside of the frame. On the hinge side it pretty much has to fit in the frame itself. If you can't fit a piece of wood in there you might go to the hardware store and look for some kind of flashing or weatherstripping that you can fit.
Yes, it’s 1/2” hardware cloth. I’m confident that there is no gap on the top or elsewhere besides the doors and apron. Actually, it’s found some pretty big gaps in the apron when adding landscape staples last night, so I think that was the most likely point of entry, but I still want to cover my bases with the doors. Thanks for the suggestions; I’ll need to go home and do some measuring and thinking to try for tight door seals!
 

Mixed flock enthusiast

Free Ranging
May 21, 2018
3,512
8,662
656
Stillwater, OK
I don't have any pics. Just latch the door, (with you inside), and trace a line around the frame of where the door closes at. Yo might use a drywall knife as a guide where the gap is to far for the pencil. Then just "frame" the inside of the door jamb with some 2x2, (you might need a 2x4 on edge on top, or rip it down to a 2x3, whatever it needs). Run your top, bottom, and strike side first. Then on the hinge side, either hold a block up and mark, or hold the 2x2 in position and make sure it is back far enough it clears the door. (The way your hinges pivot to the outside of the frame, it looks like flush with the other is fine), just check before you screw down.
If you want to go this far, I personally don't think you need to, you can put weather stripping on the jamb also. Just when you mark out your 2x2 stop trim, lay a shim about half the thickness of you weather strip, to mark off of. Your coup looks well built, I am sure you got it.

Not so much for your door, maybe someone else that doesn't have a door frame that deep, you can make a flange around the top, btm, and latch side of the door itself, then get an inner tube, cut cross wise both sides of the valve stem, then split the inside long ways. Staple, fender washer. or best a couple thin furring strips, it to the frame and door on the hinge side.
That does sound very tight with the inner tube! I originally had something of a flange on the outside of the door, but it was interfering with the function of the door so I took it off. I’ll go home and look at the door again and come up with a plan. Thanks!!!
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Nov 27, 2012
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My Coop
Thanks! The inside of the door is not flush with the inside of the frame, so I guess I’d need to add a spacer frame around the inside of the door and then add the inside stops to the frame.
You could....or go on the outside then, attach to door.
Won't work on hinge side as RR pointed out.
 

MANNA-PRO

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