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Do Snakes Eat Chickens? Tips To Protect Your Flock

Do Snakes Eat Chickens? Tips To Protect Your Flock

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Backyard chickens
Do Snakes Eat Chickens

The presence of snakes around your chicken coop is a massive threat to your flock. Snakes eat eggs and can even kill and eat chickens.

They have dangerous venom you’ll be forced to seek treatment for if it quickly bites one of your chickens.

Even though a narrow range of snakes is venomous, preventive measures are essential if you want your flock to be safe.

This article has a complete guide stating why snakes go into the chicken coop. If they eat chickens.

Signs showing the presence of the snakes near your cage, and the best safety measures to take to deter snakes from eating your flock. Keep reading! 

Why Snakes Go Into Chicken Coops

The main reasons why snakes might invade your chicken coop include;

  • Shelter: Snakes are cold-blooded mammals; they might look for a warmer place such as the chicken coop for shade or protection. Snakes love to hide in bedding. Also, being in a warm place makes them active.
  • Hunger: When snakes starve, they look for rodents, eggs, or chickens. A coop is an easy meal for them.
  • Thirst: Just like other animals, snakes drink water. Sometimes water cans on the ground in a coop will attract the snakes.

Do Snakes Eat Chickens?

Backyard chickens

The answer is yes; snakes eat both minor and adult chickens. Most snakes are too small to threaten full-grown chickens.

A single bite from a snake with a deadly venom may be fatal.

Note that snakes do not eat daily. They might take about 4-40 days, sometimes even longer, before returning for food.

Signs That You May Have A Snake In Your Chicken Coop

The common indicators that will tell you an uninvited pest are in your chicken coop are;

  • Snake skins– The skins are lying about are a good sign of a snake in your pen.
  • Missing chicks– When you have many chicks, it might be challenging to notice the missing ones. Counting in the evening will help you realize if the chicks are missing. It’s a good indicator too.
  • Eggs– Averagely, a snake can eat two eggs in a session. Keeping the daily record of your eggs will help you realize if there is a snake in your coop.
  • Dead chicken with a wet head– A snake cannot swallow the whole chicken. The presence of dead chicken with a wet head is an indicator of the snake being in your coop.
  • Regurgitated egg shells– Snakes will eat the eggs but always spit the crushed empty shells.

If you see any of the above indicators, there is a likelihood that a snake is within the vicinity. However, quickly investigate whether it’s a snake or any other predator.

How Do Snakes Get Into Your Coop?

A snake only needs a hole of about ½ inch in diameter to get its head through. Snakes can pass through holes or cracks on the floor, roofs, or walls.

Furthermore, they can climb up to ⅔ of their length but can go even higher if there are supports like the brushes, branches, or even posts.

Ways To Prevent Snakes From Slithering Into Your Coop

Below is a guide to the best methods to deter the entry of snakes into your coop.

Snake-proofing Your Chicken Coop

Snake proofing is a simple and vital step. It is nearly impossible for the snakes to gain access. The main steps to snake-proof your chicken coop are;

  1. Raising the floor of the coop

In most cases, a snake might find itself in a coop while chasing to scrunch on.

Raising an enclosed floor prevents snakes and other burrowing animals from entering the enclosure.

Remember to seal any tiny holes on the bottom and wall as they can still be access points.

  1. Add an Apron to Your Coop

An apron prevents predators from digging into the coop. Hardware cloth or fences are most suitable. Install the apron at the bottom outside of the pen.

Bring the fence out 20 inches from the cage along the ground.

  1. Cover Holes With Hardware Cloth

Snakes can go through any tiny space available. Therefore, ensure all the holes and gaps on the chicken coop are well covered with hardware cloth. Quarter-inch hardware cloths are very effective in keeping predators out of reach.

Clear The Tall Debris, Grass, or Bushes

Snakes can find their way to the coops through the hideouts. Tall debris, grass, woodpiles, or compost can be the hiding points for the snakes.

It’s a good idea to constantly trim the bushes and keep the grass short– discouraging the snakes. Also, cut any branch or a hanging object that can help the snakes to climb and drop into the coop from above.

Control Rodent Population

When the snakes chase rodents for food, they may enter your coop. The moment they realize the population of rodents is high in your homestead, they may not go far. 

The tips to ensure the rodent population is very low include;

  • Using bucket feeders to reduce spills that can attract rodents.
  • Put the chicken feeds out of reach at night because mice are nocturnal and will be busy looking for food at night, thus attracting the snakes.
  • Trap the mice and rats.

Reducing the population of the rodents around your chicken coop will less likely attract the snakes.

Can I Trap A Snake?

Backyard chickens

Yes, there are different types of traps. You can find them in your local store, and the common types of traps are funnel/minnow traps and cones.

They trap the snakes safely without causing any harm or killing them.

Before trapping the snake, carefully check if the snake is not venomous. It will help you understand the best way to handle it.

Can Noise Scare Away Snakes?

Do you know that snakes are deaf? They do not have ears– you cannot scare them away however much noise you make. In short, it cannot hear you.

Snakes are very fearful reptiles. You can make fast movements to scare them.

A snake can sense danger through the vibrations of noise. Besides chasing it, you can stomp on the ground from the vibration of the ground.

How Can You Avoid Getting Bit By A Snake?

Wearing shoes will prevent the snake from biting you while walking around your homestead. It’s better to be safe than to risk your life.

Avoid getting too close to the snake or trying to touch it whenever you spot a snake in your chicken coop. If you stay calm, a snake won’t bother you unless it feels endangered.

If you don’t have the snake traps, you can just give space and time to let it escape.

The venomous snakes include rattlesnakes, cottonmouths, sea snakes, and copperheads. They are commonly found in the United States.

How To Find An Escaped Snake

A snake might gain access to your coop or house. If it escapes, quickly confirm if there are openings around– windows, doors, or holes on the floors and walls.

If there’s none, and you have no gaps in your coop, then the snake hides just about anywhere.

Conduct a thorough search and use the correct procedure to trap it. It can be a huge threat to your flock and chicks.

What To Do With A Snake Hole

A hole in your coop is an indicator of one or more snakes in your backyard. Also, remember that most of the gaps that you might find in your coop might have been made by rodents.

If you spot a hole, the most straightforward action is just to leave it alone. They are vital in balancing the ecosystem.

They eat pests such as rats and mice, frogs, and insects. You can leave them in peace to control the rodents population but be cautious with your flock. They might be their best meal.

You can cover the hole—snakes like dark, calm, and private places. Fencing wires, burlaps, and boards cover the holes.

Closing the gaps and disturbing their habitats will discourage them from coming back.

Also, calling the exterminator– pests management exterminator or wildlife control body is a good option, mainly when you feel getting rid of them is unpleasant.

They can have many solutions, such as trapping the snakes or using glue boards to capture them.

Above all, be careful when handling snakes, even if most of them are harmless.


Snakes eat chicken; however, some people prefer keeping them. For instance, rat snakes eat rodents and copperheads, thereby controlling the population of the rodents.

Honestly speaking, they help balance the ecosystem. Snakes also hate open places without brush and tall grasses.

They may be vulnerable to predation. Keeping the areas clean with short grass and no bushes discourages the snakes from passing.

Feeling the holes and gaps on the coop floor and walls will prevent access, keeping your flock safe.

We also recommend following the tip for preventing snakes from slithering into your coop, such as raising the floor or adding an apron to your pen.

In summary, the most proven approach to removing snakes is removing their habitat. Besides, removing rocks, weeds, and clutters near your home will leave the snakes with no place to hide.

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