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Slithering Chicken Predators

Slithering Chicken Predators

Slithering Chicken Predators

While I was prepared to ward off sneaky foxes, clever coons, hungry coyotes, and other chicken predators, I wasn’t prepared for yesterday’s experience.

I came home late in the afternoon from work and began some chores around the house. I filled up the 2 chicken water containers, topped off the chicken feed and threw in some grit and calcium. All the while the hens were acting normally and everything seemed in order. I walked out to the chicken nesting boxes, flipped open the top, and began to stick my hand in to grab some eggs.

My hand was fully in the nesting box before I saw a 6ft black snake that wasn’t to happy with me. I jumped back and shut the lid. Not so much scared of the snake, but very startled by its presence. The snake turned out to be a nonvenomous Eastern Rat Snake, however it did try to bite me several times while I relocated it out of the the chicken coop.

I clearly learned a few things from the experience.

1. Look before shoving your hand into places!

2. Chickens aren’t always aware of the danger of chicken predators

3. I need to be prepared for slithering chicken predators

The fact that the snake was nonvenomous didn’t relive me much. There are plenty of venomous snakes in my part of the country and it easily could have been one of them. Although my chicken coop was built to be strong, I didn’t account for slithering chicken predators. There are vents underneath the nesting boxes and on the back of the coop to provide some air flow and this must be how the snake entered the coop. Although the snake was not interested in chicken for dinner, it did eat the eggs.

After talking to my neighbor, these specific snakes are known to raid hen houses for the eggs and he has had similar events in the past. So, what do I do now?

I considered sealing up the vents in the coop, however I think that I will leave them and hope that    this was a single instance. I am, however concerned that a venomous snake could potentially kill some of my flock and will be thinking on this for a few days.

I guess the reality is that snakes are just another animal that is part of  living in the country and keeping chickens. I will be investing in some snake shot for my rifle in the case that I have no other choice than to kill a snake if it comes to that.

For now I will just try to evaluate the situation and see if I can successfully protect my eggs and chickens from a snake attack and see where it leads me. The upside to this event is that I didn’t get bit and the chickens seemed to care less that there was a 6ft snake in their coop!

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