Stealth Snakes??

I❤️ChickenMath

In the Brooder
Mar 27, 2018
12
25
49
I have had chickens for 2 years, and a still on the steep side of the learning curve. Last year we put 4 wood eggs in coop to help the girls figure out the preferred place to lay eggs. We had no snakes last year and also didn’t have any chickens die. This year we found one of our girls dead in the coop. A few days later we killed a 5 foot snake in the coop. (This was in June.). In July, my 4 wood eggs disappeared. We have a “portable” shop close to our coop that had the lovely death smell around it for a week or so. We did find another 5 foot snake on our porch last week (about 50 yards from coop).
We have 12 layers who were pretty consistent until these snakes started appearing... consistent in laying in coop, then a few started laying in a bush, but now - only 2-3 eggs a day (in I laying box in coop (they have 5 boxes).

We have only had a visual on 2 snakes - which we were told are rat snakes?

1). Wood Egg Mystery (do you think it was only one hungry snake, or 4 - thoughts)
2). Egg production - suggestions...
3). I think there are more snakes around - they are just stealthy. I want safe hens and would like more eggs.

Suggestions? Thoughts?
 

Farmer Connie

Gallus gallus domesticus
Feb 28, 2017
17,712
60,785
1,317
Florida Peninsula
My Coop
My Coop
I have had chickens for 2 years, and a still on the steep side of the learning curve. Last year we put 4 wood eggs in coop to help the girls figure out the preferred place to lay eggs. We had no snakes last year and also didn’t have any chickens die. This year we found one of our girls dead in the coop. A few days later we killed a 5 foot snake in the coop. (This was in June.). In July, my 4 wood eggs disappeared. We have a “portable” shop close to our coop that had the lovely death smell around it for a week or so. We did find another 5 foot snake on our porch last week (about 50 yards from coop).
We have 12 layers who were pretty consistent until these snakes started appearing... consistent in laying in coop, then a few started laying in a bush, but now - only 2-3 eggs a day (in I laying box in coop (they have 5 boxes).

We have only had a visual on 2 snakes - which we were told are rat snakes?

1). Wood Egg Mystery (do you think it was only one hungry snake, or 4 - thoughts)
2). Egg production - suggestions...
3). I think there are more snakes around - they are just stealthy. I want safe hens and would like more eggs.

Suggestions? Thoughts?
If you indeed had a snake prob, the egg production would halt due to stress/anxiety. Once the snake's food source diminishes, that dude rambles on. Looking for "not so easy feasts".
I wish the best for you.
FC
 

PatriciafromCO

Songster
Aug 17, 2016
152
213
156
Don't be too harsh on your rat snakes if they are rat snakes.. If you have other snakes (we have rattlesnakes) it's the Rat snakes that keep the rattlers away from our barns, our home and animal areas.. You can get a snake stick Amazon has some nice ones. And move the rat snakes to a better place, especially if they become a problem.

Yes to your question that a hungry snake would eat your wooden eggs, Especially if the snakes are getting ready for the winter months. August for us is the main month the snakes are out to eat as much as they can.. They keep lots of the smaller vermin down, especially the mice and I don't mind some egg poaching as they don't harm the birds for stealing egg and they don't harm the adult birds. It's a beneficial relationship for us with Rat snake especially keeping the rattlesnakes away.

If your hens are laying out in the yard penning them in will help retrain them. Having your nest boxes up higher could help too.
 

I❤️ChickenMath

In the Brooder
Mar 27, 2018
12
25
49
Don't be too harsh on your rat snakes if they are rat snakes.. If you have other snakes (we have rattlesnakes) it's the Rat snakes that keep the rattlers away from our barns, our home and animal areas.. You can get a snake stick Amazon has some nice ones. And move the rat snakes to a better place, especially if they become a problem.

Yes to your question that a hungry snake would eat your wooden eggs, Especially if the snakes are getting ready for the winter months. August for us is the main month the snakes are out to eat as much as they can.. They keep lots of the smaller vermin down, especially the mice and I don't mind some egg poaching as they don't harm the birds for stealing egg and they don't harm the adult birds. It's a beneficial relationship for us with Rat snake especially keeping the rattlesnakes away.

If your hens are laying out in the yard penning them in will help retrain them. Having your nest boxes up higher could help too.
I agree conceptually about not killing rat snakes - but being surprised by them changed the dynamic... Our coop is on stilts - about 2.5 feet off the ground. I am good with penning the girls in to retrain them, but, it seems like I need to figure out this snake issue first so that they will feel safe laying in coop again.
And then maybe I am analyzing this too much, and giving my human feelings to my girls... trying to figure out Chickens is very humbling!
 

PatriciafromCO

Songster
Aug 17, 2016
152
213
156
Might consider a different set up for your birds, a full enclosure around the coop, An area where you can lay down chicken wire on the ground that is too small for the snakes to come through.

Once the snakes are unable to get into your bird area..the hens settle down.
 

I❤️ChickenMath

In the Brooder
Mar 27, 2018
12
25
49
Might consider a different set up for your birds, a full enclosure around the coop, An area where you can lay down chicken wire on the ground that is too small for the snakes to come through.

Once the snakes are unable to get into your bird area..the hens settle down.

I have heard that snakes will try to stay away from dog areas. Not sure of the accuracy of that statement. We have a small dog kennel with a large fenced in area. I wonder if we move coop to other side of property closer to dog kennel if the location would be snake deterrent.

I do appreciate your suggestions/comments. I feel pretty clueless!
 

PatriciafromCO

Songster
Aug 17, 2016
152
213
156
I have livestock guardian dogs they are pretty active about alerting on the snakes. The rat snakes are not aggressive (unless they feel or are cornered with no way to retreat) the dogs barking at the snakes , the snakes go back under what they were trying to crawl out from under from the dogs barking at them.

I feel it's true that snakes avoid active traffic areas of humans and animals. Most snakes that I have seen was right after we built our house that was on vacant open pasture land, and during a flood and we were higher ground. Other then that I don't really see them until they are "I call it" feeding frenzy month, right before the cooler temps and cold fronts start happening heading into winter. And they only there because there is a food source. Chicken feed does bring mice , we get a good population of rabbits because we have hay. They like the baby rabbits as well
 

sorce

Songster
Aug 26, 2019
170
387
146
Snakes eat eggs by crushing them and regurgitating the shell right away.
I doubt one got to wooden egg four without realizing it was wood.

Perhaps it regurgitated them along with some other actual food by the shed, that could account for the smell.

However, it sounds more like a human took them out.

Look for smashed eggshells.
https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/does-this-look-like-a-snake-ate-this-egg.711999/

Also found.
https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/rat-snake-ate-ceramic-egg.1203218/

Sorce
 

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