Snakes can climb, burrow, and squeeze through the smallest areas. Not to mention, snakes are all over the US, and you are bound to have a problem. Today we will talk about how to snake-proof a chicken coop, and what not to do.
You don’t want to wait for a predator problem to think about proofing your chicken coops. The longer you wait, the more chances there are of an accident happening. The hardest of all predators to keep out is the snake. Whether non or venomous snakes.
Signs Of A Snake Issue
If you are wondering if you have a snake issue, there are a few signs to tell. It does not matter if you live on a farm or in the suburbs; snakes can be anywhere.
- If you have rodents, you have snakes nearby. Since snakes are an opportunist feeder, they will eat any rodent that they cross.
- If you notice fewer eggs, a snake might be the culprit. Many species love fresh eggs.
- Along with fewer eggs, you might find regurgitated eggshells nearby.
- A visible sign of snakes is finding snake skins.
- And of course, if your chicks are wet, it might be a sign that a snake tried to eat them.
If you have noticed any of these things, chances are you have a snake problem that needs to be taken care of. But even if you don’t see these signs, it is best to snake-proof your chicken coop. Prevention is easier than getting rid of an infestation.
Why Do I Have Snakes?
There is no sure answer to this question. Snakes are drawn where ever food takes them. So your chickens will be an attractive natural area for snakes to seek food. Your coops are also likely to attract mice, rats, and even bugs, which then attract the snakes. Or your yard could just be the best breeding grounds for local snakes. There can be many reasons why you have them, but the best plan of action is to irradicate them.
How To Snake Proof A Chicken Coop
Now that we have identified the reasons snakes are near your coop, we can talk about snake-proofing a chicken coop. Some people can get away with minimal proofing. But if you live in an area with a lot of snakes, you might want to take every precaution possible. Using a combination of methods will help you irradicate the problem before it gets out of hand. You might find that your coop has a few issues wrong, along with a few daily changes that will deter all pests.
Check For Gaps
The first thing you will want to do is check your entire chicken coop for gaps and holes. Any small hole that is 1/2 an inch wide, snakes can get through. Make sure to double-check under the coop and run, vents, doors, and roof. Inspecting from top to bottom will ensure that you have found every possible entry point. After you have identified all problem areas, you will want to add wire fencing or hardware cloth to keep snakes out.
Replace Chicken Wire
The next step is to inspect your chicken wire. If the wire used to contain your chickens is more than 1/2 an inch, you would want to replace it. Most snake-proof chicken coops have hardware cloth to replace the wider fences. Hardware cloth is very durable and breathable. It can be used in all areas that standard chicken wire is.
Make A Coop Apron
A coop apron is a thick hardware cloth that you bury beneath your chicken run. Burying a coop apron will help keep animals and snakes from digging under your coop. If you are worried about your chickens digging this up, there is another trench version. You can dig a trench around the parameter of your coop and run to bury the hardware cloth for the same effects.
Take Away Hiding Spots
The biggest mistake anyone can make is to keep the area around their coops cluttered. Snakes like to hide in brush, tall grass, rock piles, and anything that lays around. These are the perfect hiding spots for snakes, and they will make nests here as well. It is best to keep your lawn cut short around the coop and keep everything clear.
Remove Eggs Often
If you have a known snake thief, the best way to deter them is to collect eggs often. If you collect at least three times a day, it will help reduce the chances of a snake coming back for more.
Many chicken owners swear by getting a minnow trap to catch live snakes. Minnow traps have a small opening that a snake can get in, but they can’t get out. You could easily add eggs to the trap as bait and set it in your coop. Once you have caught the snake, you can release him back into the wild. Preferably far, far away from your home. The only downside to this method is that it won’t prevent more snakes from getting in.
Mice and rats are attracted to our chicken feed and water. If you leave these out all night, chances are in the late-night hours they are coming to feast. You will want to pick up all food and water to prevent any rodents from coming around. If there are no rodents, snakes will leave your property for better hunting chances.
It can be tricky to remember to pick up food from your coop every night. A better solution would be to get a unique feeder. Ones like this RentACoop Treadle Feeder is mice, rat, raccoon, and rainproof. Your chicken just stands on the platform for it to open up. If no chickens are feeding, then the food is closed uptight. With no food source, your mice and rats should move along with the snakes not far behind them.
Elevate Nesting Boxes
Snakes can climb just about anything. But keeping your nesting boxes up higher could trick them into leaving your eggs alone. The eggs would be harder to smell than if you kept them in lower areas. Smells are stronger when they are lower to the ground on a snake’s level, so this might deter them from coming back.
And finally, our last trick on how to snake-proof a chicken coop is installing door openers. If your chickens can go in and out throughout the day, so can a snake. The ChickenGuard Automatic Chicken Coop Door Opener is the perfect solution here. It has programmable features to open and close your coops at designated times. It can also allow you to sleep in a little on the weekends, as you won’t have to wake up with the chickens.
What NOT To Do
There is a lot of great information online, but sadly not all of it is useful. There are a few things that chicken owners have sworn by to snake-proof a chicken coop. But a lot of these can have some severe consequences.
You might have seen the old trick to snake-proof a chicken coop with dummy eggs. Most people recommend using golf balls in the nest. But this can lead to terrible side effects. When a snake eats something, they usually hide until it hits a certain point in their digestive tract before moving on. The snake obviously won’t be able to digest a golf ball. So what you will get instead is a snake that has died in a hidden location that you will have to find.
While it is true that mothballs are an effective snake deterrent, but they are also harmful to your chickens. The strong chemicals in mothballs can hurt your chicken’s respiratory system and cause illnesses. Keeping mothballs anywhere near a coop is a bad idea.
Some owners also swear by using bird netting around their runs and coops. But while a snake can’t fit through it, they will try. You will have a snake caught in a trapped web of netting that they can’t escape. You will, of course, find it faster than if it was hiding. But now you are left to cut out a live snake that is probably injured and ticked. It’s not an easy task. And if you succeed in releasing him, now you have to fix the netting. It is better to go the simpler route and use hardware cloth instead.
Snake Deterring Chemicals
And lastly, do not use any chemicals around your coop to prevent snakes. These chemicals are usually not tested on chickens and can have adverse effects on your flock. Not to mention a lot of them don’t work at repelling most snakes.
We hope you learned all about how to snake-proof a chicken coop. It’s never a fun thing to know that you have a problem with your flock. But that’s why we are here to help you solve your problems. Using a combination of these solutions tailored to your situation will irradicate the problem. If you loved this article, don’t forget to follow us for more updates.
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