Will black snakes harm my chickens and chicks?

RareDuck

Chirping
6 Years
Jun 30, 2013
141
19
71
Black snakes are not poisonous but they do have fangs. They kill by crushing their prey to death. They kill birds that are too big for them to eat. I have had birds killed by them and I tried to rescue a duckling that was being crushed and could not get the snake to let go in time to save it. They can move quickly when they want to and they can get to be many feet long. I think the snake is guilty. If you do not get rid of it it will keep growing and its appetite will grow with it. They are much better at eliminating eggs or chicks than rodents who are generally smart enough to get away.
 
Last edited:

BoppsBees

In the Brooder
5 Years
Jun 30, 2014
51
4
31
I think they keep the mice problem away but to keep them from you chickens find out where there hole is and place a dead mouse at the front if you want them to eat more rod ants or place an egg at there den every week or find it and kill it
 

Nezzi

Hatching
5 Years
Jun 29, 2014
4
0
7
I am being watchful now for the snake. I did put a golf ball in one of the nest boxes. I also turned on the light in the coop at night as I think snakes prefer to hunt in the dark? It is almost impossible for me to plug up all access for something as slithery as a snake since the chickens are in a metal shed and there is both a gap between the inside and outside wall and the ceiling and sides. At least I know my puppy was blameless, sigh.

 

RouttyChicks

In the Brooder
6 Years
Aug 24, 2013
64
3
49
Carrollton, Va.
Holy crap - i just killed my first black snake. It began pouring down rain and i ran out to shut the coop door and he was 1/2 way in the door. I panicked, grabbed him by the tail and pulled him out of the coop and grabbed a shovel and finished him off. I realize they are not poisionus and actually provide some environmental benefits, i just panicked and did not know what else to do. I am 5'6" and when i picked him up he was almost as long as i am tall, I'm guessing he was 5'.
 

steph00232

Hatching
Apr 10, 2015
1
0
6
While my chicks are growing I only let them out of the coop to free range when my 1/2 blue heeler, 1/2 feist dog is in the yard. I went outside when she was barking just today to find her chasing away a 4 foot black racer. She doesn't kill the snakes just barks and runs them off. I introduced her to the chicks when they were just a few day old and now she feels like a part of the flock. When the chicks are full grown I wont worry about always making sure she is with them when they are out of the coop during the day. I am a wildlife lover and know that the wild animals are fighting to eek out a living too.
 

Cearbhael

Chirping
Apr 2, 2015
247
49
72
I intend to cover the sides of my runs with small hole hardware cloth. My paddock will have electric netting all around and small hardware cloth again from the ground to quite a ways up. I doubt the snakes will want to climb live electric net. Hopefully it will keep them out of the coop and the paddock.
 

pleasantfiction

In the Brooder
Jun 9, 2015
10
9
31
North Carolina Piedmont
Hi all -- new here, from NC, and first time raising chickens.

Just went out to the barn to check on our chicks and found a 4'-5' long black rat snake on the brooder box! Fortunately the box is sealed well with a heavy wooden lid and 1/2" hardware cloth on the floor; 1/4" on the window.

The chicks are all OK. The snake... not so much. I feel like I may have reacted emotionally (with a machete) -- we do love those little chicks. I wasn't thinking, "Oh, a black rat snake on the brooder box, we should find him a new home because he is beneficial and the circle of life and blah blah blah." It was more like, "Aw hell naw those chicks better be OK!"

I'll have to do some research on relocating snakes so I can handle things more properly next time around. How far away is enough? Is simply chucking them out somewhere in the woods good enough or do I need to look for a spot most conducive to snake happiness? What are some good snake recipes?
tongue.png
That kind of thing.

Also, this has made me reconsider the thought of using 1/2" hardware cloth only on the bottom 3' of the run I'm building, with regular "chicken wire" the rest of the way up. I was just hoping to save some money on the wire.
 

critterkeeper25

Songster
6 Years
Jun 16, 2014
219
39
131
South Jersey - down on the farm.
Hi!


I just relocated 2, 5ft black akes! Last week! The first was one I kept finding in our nest boxes. I was trying to be a good neighbor to it and let it go out back in our hay shed which is crawling with mice, but he kept going into our coop. I think it was eating eggs. I found that it was living in the soffits above. It would come down, have a nice egg snack and then head back up to the soffit to digest. I had to rip apart the soffit of the coop to get the snake out. I didn't take any chances with the possibility of it coming back, I drove it 20 miles away! LOL And believe it or not, when I got back home from removing that snake I walked back to the coop and found a SECOND 5 ft black snake on the ground laying parallel to the nest boxes! I was so mad! I reached down, snatched that snake up by the tail, stomped back over to my car, grabbed the bag that was still inside and stuffed the snake in and drove that one off to another section of uninhabited woods.

The snakes will eat anything that it can get into its mouth. They can unhinge their jaws and stuff anything inside that is a few times grater in diameter than its head. So I would say, eggs...yes, chicks...yes, it may even try to eat bantam types of chickens if its head is big enough, but I would say that regular sized chickens are probably safe.

I am sad that you killed it. I know how mad you must have been, but everyone's first thought is to kill them. They are great predators of rats, mice, voles, moles and even baby squirrels and chipmonks. They keep the local rodent population in check. They will even eat songbird eggs, toads and frogs. That's why you sometimes hear bluejays and mocking birds squawking in the treetops....snake alert! I had a big discussion on the subject of snake killings with my in-laws last night. They were yelling "Why did you let them go?" "You shoud have chopped it up!" And the quite surprising "I even run them over on purpose if I see them in the road!" Made me really sad and perplexed. I was like, "Why kill them?" "They serve purpose, they keep the mouse/rat population down!" They just didn't get it...
 

critterkeeper25

Songster
6 Years
Jun 16, 2014
219
39
131
South Jersey - down on the farm.
Black snakes are not poisonous but they do have fangs. They kill by crushing their prey to death. They kill birds that are too big for them to eat. I have had birds killed by them and I tried to rescue a duckling that was being crushed and could not get the snake to let go in time to save it. They can move quickly when they want to and they can get to be many feet long. I think the snake is guilty. If you do not get rid of it it will keep growing and its appetite will grow with it. They are much better at eliminating eggs or chicks than rodents who are generally smart enough to get away.

I have been bitten by a black snake before. While I was trying to pick it up to remove it from my mom's garage. They do NOT have fangs. They DO, however have sharp bristly kinds of teeth which can puncture your skin, as would a steel wire brush. I don't advocate killing anything that is a predator of pests that is not dangerous to humans. Snakes do what they do. Do I want them eating my eggs or chicks (which I do not raise), HECK NO! But I will don some gloves and relocate them, far, far, far away in some uninhabited area. My father taught me to respect them and how to handle them from the time I was a little kid. I would kill the non-native snake species that are taking over the natural habitats in Florida. They don't belong there and are destroying the ecosystem and endangering the human and pet population also.

Have you witnessed a black snake killing your full grown fowl? It must have been a HUGE snake.
 

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom