Sssssnakes. The name alone might make you frightened for your flock. But fear not! Although chickens do occasionally fall victim to snakes, they are mostly after an easy meal, and if you’ve ever seen an angry chook you know they’re not it! For snakes, eggs are a much more attractive option, although that’s small comfort to the innocent chicken keeper confronted with one of these slithering villains on their coop floor. Luckily, dealing with them is as easy as can be!
Keep rats away
Some people think that chickens attract snakes to their property, but in actual fact snakes come hot on the tail of rascally rodents. No rats, no mice, no snakes! Keep your property rodent-free by:
- Safely securing your chicken feed in a treadle feeder or similar option
- Clearing any brush, or other objects near the coop where vermin could hide - time to bin that old cubby!
- Setting rat traps (though be careful that they are safely away from your chickens)
Secure your coop
Even large snakes can squeeze through the tiniest gaps if given the chance, so make sure you have a sturdy, secure coop like one of ours. And while you’re at it, make sure the mesh on your coop is sufficiently narrow to prevent entry (we use 10mm x 10mm). Finally, keep your eggs locked securely - a nesting box with a latch is essential as large snakes can easily lift the lid to get to those delicious cackleberries. Better yet, collect eggs regularly to make sure there’s nothing to tempt them to begin with!
The cantankerous guinea fowl is an absolute terror to snakes. With the proper introductions, they should get along great with your flock. As a bonus, they’ll also keep your garden clear of insects, and small mice.
Alternatively, consider buying or adopting a cat - they won’t necessarily help with your snake problem, but they will deal with any rodents quick smart. Plus they make good cuddle buddies, and can be purrfectly well-mannered around chooks.
But, allies don’t have to be of the flesh-and-blood variety! Golf balls (or similar) can be a very effective stand-in for real eggs when the snake comes slithering. One fake plastic meal, and the snake will lose interest for good. This is what you get when you mess with chooks!
If you do find a snake on your property, don’t panic! If you have never dealt with this situation before, call your local wildlife office and ask them to send someone over. Handling a snake without training is dangerous, and most people are bitten attempting to remove or kill a snake.Speaking of that latter one, most snakes are protected species, and killing them is illegal. But quite apart from that, they didn’t come into your garden to hurt you - there’s no reason to punish them for looking for a snack.
Now that we’ve dealt with any snake issues, let’s figure out those pesky foxes!