No one will be happy seeing a snake in or around their chicken coop. Some snakes can consume eggs from the nest-box, kill the chickens and some large sized snakes can eat you live chickens. You or one of your chickens could wind up suffering from a bite if a venomous snake gets into the coop that requires medical treatment in most cases. So, it is very important to take necessary steps for keeping snakes out of chicken coop or house. The more time and efforts you spent for keeping snakes out of chicken coop or preventing them, the safer you and your chickens will be. Find out all the openings from where snakes are coming inside and then take necessary steps for preventing them. Here we are describing some useful methods for keeping snakes out of chicken coop.
Find Out How Snakes Enter Your Coop
First of all find out all possible ways from where snakes are entrancing into your chicken coop. Snakes don’t have any legs. But that doesn’t stop them from crawling into your chicken coops. They can fit through any holes or cracks in the floor, walls or roof of the coop. They can enter through the holes that are larger than 1/4 inch. Snakes can get in by going underneath the fencing of the outdoor run of the coop. Sometimes they can also get in through the fencing or even over the fencing. So, keep the fencing not larger than 1/4 inch.
Cover All Openings
For keeping snakes out of a building, filling in all holes that are larger than 1/4 inch is recommended by the U.S. Geological Survey. The hole need to be covered with hardware cloth or another type of sturdy mesh less than 1/4 inch that can’t be filled. Observe your coop and find out holes or gaps in it. If you find any then cover the holes or gaps in the windows, roof, floor, walls, doors, skylights and the entire fenced and the outdoor area of the chicken coop. Don’t use too much hardware cloth for keeping snakes out of chicken coop and preventing other predators. Your chickens also need flow of sufficient amount of fresh air and light. You can consult with your neighbor or take suggestions form an expert.
In accordance with running hardware cloth over the openings in your coop, you can also create a coop apron for keeping snakes out of chicken coop by placing wire mesh underneath the coop. For creating a barrier against snakes, ensure that maximum 12 inches of wire extends out from underneath all sides of the coop while building a coop apron.
Protecting Your Chickens
Taking a single steps can’t prevent snakes from entrancing into your chicken. Instead, take multi-faceted approach and this works best for keeping snakes out of chicken coop. Regularly mow the grasses in your yard and around your chicken coop. Tall and thick grasses provide good shelter and hiding places for the snakes. On the other hand short, well maintained grasses provide the snakes with fewer places for hiding. Also remove all types of rocks, wood, debris, or brush piles from the sides of your chicken coop. By doing this the snakes will not find any convenient place for hiding near your coop. Snakes can climb trees very well. So cut down tree branches and vines for preventing them entrancing into chicken coop from above.
You can also purchase several snake traps. Set out the snake traps in the area surrounding your coop for trapping the snakes that may be living nearby. There are many commercial snake deterrent products available in the market. By using those products, snakes will keep away form your chicken coop. I have heard about a product called “snake be gone” and as far as I know it is very helpful for keeping snakes away. Humane Society of the United States states that “none of these products are specifically proven to work in a humane manner”. And the poisons and chemical agents can also be harmful for your chickens. So, before purchasing and using this type of products, it would be better if you discuss this matter with one of your nearest vet.
Snakes like to eat small sized animals or birds. And they try to enter inside the chicken coop to have a easy meal. Small sized mice, chicks, eggs etc. attract them very much. So never leave chicken feed, eggs and any other type of easy snacks inside your chicken coop. Especially after dark. This types of easily accessible foods sources are great attraction for the snakes and other predators. Always remember that, snakes are attracted to any type of potential meal. They will eat almost everything edible. If there any rodent or pest within your coop, snakes may be just as attracted to the rodents and pest as they are to your chickens or eggs. Try to remove the snakes by yourself if you see any in your coop. You can also call a professional for disposing it if you are afraid of snakes.
All snakes are not harmful for you and your chickens. Some snakes can also help you by eating rats. But it is not a good idea to keep snakes inside the coop for controlling rats or other pests. So dispose it immediately after seeing any snakes inside or near of your chicken coop. Keeping snakes out of chicken coop is also important to ensure a secure place for your children. Have a good day!