Snakes are found in almost every part of the world. If you’re raising backyard chickens, this is one predator that you are worried about. You may wonder if your chickens attract snakes.
So, do chickens attract snakes? Chickens themselves do not attract snakes. Snakes are more interested in prey that are easier to catch such as rodents and other small mammals. Chickens are usually too big for the snakes to swallow, so they will not attempt to prey on them. However, snakes will eat chicks and chicken eggs. The snakes are usually attracted to the chickens by the rodents that feed off the leftover foods around the chickens.
Do Snakes Eat Chickens?
Depending on the size of the snake, they may or may not eat the chicken. For most species of snakes in the United States, they are not large enough to swallow an adult chicken.
Instead, they will go after chicks and chicken eggs. These are usually what attracts the snakes to the chicken.
Their main diet is usually rodents and other small mammals. These animals tend to be around the chicken coop due to the abundance of food supplies.
The snakes will follow the scent of the rodents, which leads them to the chicken coop.
Are Chickens Scared Of Snakes?
Like most animals, chickens are fearful of anything that are unfamiliar to them. As for a snake, chickens are scared of them.
However, when it comes to defending themselves or their eggs or chicks, chickens will fight the snakes.
In the United States, most snakes are small to medium size. These snakes will not stand any chance against a flock of chickens.
Chickens will stay in flocks for safety and will attack the snake together.
These birds are quick to move and will be able to avoid getting bitten by snakes.
If there are snakes in the coop, the chickens will resist going in there. They rather not risk their lives and will stay away from danger.
Therefore, at night, if the chickens are just wandering around their coop and not going inside, even after you chase them, it’s likely there is a snake or other predators that are in there.
Do Chickens Eat Snakes?
Yes, chickens will eat snakes. These birds are omnivores which means they will eat both meat and plants.
Depending on the size of the snakes, they even eat them whole. For small snakes, the chicken may slurp them up like spaghetti.
As for a larger snake, the chickens may peck at them and eat pieces of it.
Signs You May Have Snakes In The Coop
When there are snakes in the coop, there will be a number of tell-tale signs. Below are the most common ones:
Snake skins: A snake could be in the coop and shedding its skin. Some snakes will find the coop as a good place to shed since it’s dark and plenty of food around.
Missing Eggs: If you notice that the egg production is less than normal, this could mean a snake is in the coop or nearby. However, if it’s during the fall or winter season, it’s normal for hens to lay fewer eggs.
Regurgitated Eggshells: Snakes will swallow the eggs whole. Once in their stomach, they will squeeze to break the eggs and remove all the content inside of it. Then they will get rid of the eggshell by regurgitating it. To regurgitate shell is generally compressed and in a curled shape.
Chickens Staying Outside The Coop: When it’s time for the chickens to go inside the coop in the evening, and they seem to resist, it could mean a snake is in there. Chickens are smart creatures and will try to avoid danger as much as they can.
How To Keep Snakes Away From The Chicken Coop
To avoid the snakes from getting into the coop, it’s best to prevent them in the first place.
The best way to keep the snake away from the chicken coop is to limit the ways they can enter it.
Also, remove anything that will attract the snakes to the coop.
Here is a list of other things you can do to keep the snakes away from the coop:
Collect the eggs on a daily basis. It’s a good idea to collect the eggs once a day. If there are no eggs, a snake will unlikely come to the coop. They are really not interested in eating the chickens but are interested in the eggs.
Mow the lawn regularly. Snakes tend to move around under heavy covering. If the grass is high, they slither around unnoticed. By cutting the grass short, it makes them less likely to move through the grass.
Protect baby chickens. Chicks are vulnerable and will make an easy target for snakes. If there are a lot of chicks, they will attract the snakes to the coop. Keep them in a garage brooder or somewhere that will make it difficult for the snake to get to them.
Control the rodent population. Rodents such as mice and rats are the snake’s primary food source. If there are a lot of rodents in and around the chicken coop, it will definitely attract the snakes to it.
Have a cat around. Cats are skillful hunters and will prey on rodents and even kill snakes. By removing the rodents from the coop, a snake will less likely come around. Also, when a cat is around, snakes will tend to not come close.
Install electronic snake repellents. This is a great deterrent to keep snakes away from the chicken coop around the clock. It will send an ultrasonic vibration or electrical signal when a snake comes near.
This solar-powered repellent does a good job of keeping not only snakes away but also rodents.
Chickens do not attract the snakes, but what’s in and around the coop that does. Snakes are mostly interested in rodents and other small mammals. If these animals are in and around the coop, you can expect the snakes will come. To prevent snakes from getting near the chicken coop, always keep the place clean as much as possible.