Rearing chicken comes with several challenges, including predator attacks. While predators come in all forms and shapes, most can be dealt with and prevented. Knowing what to do with specific predators is the first step to eradicating the danger and protecting your chicken. Snakes are among the most common problems chicken farmers have to worry about.
Does Snake Size Matter?
The large snakes are probably going to be your major concern. Those that can feed on your chicken or bite them and inject their venom in the birds can cause you severe losses. Your fight should be against such snakes because they tend to affect the birds directly. They are also the major culprits when it comes to egg-eating.
On the other hand, small-sized snakes are not going to be much of an issue. These tend to feed on insects and small crawling reptiles like toads and frogs. They are at more risk with your birds because the chicken can quickly peck on them. Either way, you do not want to be the farmer that assumes or leaves anything to chance.
While most snakes are small, and a minor risk for large chicken, they may still lead to severe concerns when small snakes try to eat your chicken from the head and give up midway because it is impossible to swallow the birds whole. To minimize and eliminate the chances of snake attacks on your chicken farm, specific strategies to keep snakes away should be applied. Below are some of the best techniques that have been used and found to work.
1. Keep the Rodents in Check
Most people assume that the birds are attracting snakes into the coop and their surroundings. However, this is not necessarily true. On the contrary, snakes creep into the coop and compound because they search for small rodents to feed on. Check to see that you are not encouraging the infestation of rodents in your compound by leaving food particles around. It would help if you were careful not to allow rats and mice to multiply in your compound. Below are a few tricks that can ensure your compound is free of snake-attracting rodents.
• Keep the chicken food away from rodent’s reach. Use rodent-proof material to store the food.
• Eliminate any small spaces that snakes can creep into and hide. Just like rodents, small spaces offer a convenient hiding space for snakes. Ensure you seal all holes and openings between buildings that can easily become hiding spaces for these animals. You will discover that your yard will have few to no rodents and snakes because it is unattractive for them to hide.
• Use traps that target rodents and snakes. In case you cannot keep the rodents and snakes away naturally, consider setting safe traps. The more specific a trap is, the better it will be to use around the farm. The last thing you want is to trap your birds as you attempt to trap the rodents and snakes.
2. Prioritize Chicken Security
Most farmers appreciate the fact that their chicken needs to be secured and protected in proper housing. You should, thus, prioritize building safe coops for your chicken. Consider building a coop that accommodates all safety needs. To do this, you may have to consider the following tips.
• Cover all Gaps or Holes
The chicken coop should properly be enclosed. Ensure that there are no holes large enough to allow a snake to squeeze into the coop, especially if you come from a snake prone region. Consider adding weather stripping and extra molding that come in handy when molding door holes and gaps. Once you are done creating the coop, make sure to inspect it thoroughly for any gaps before putting your birds in. Using hardware cloth also makes the coop gap-proof.
• Take Care of the Nesting Boxes
Apart from rodents, your chicken eggs are a major attraction for snakes. You should ensure that the nesting boxes are well secured and even locked to prevent any unnecessary entry. Snakes will be waiting for any opportunity to creep in and feed on the eggs that have been laid. On this same subject, make sure to collect your eggs regularly. Letting them accumulate for days is a tempting move.
• Inspect the Coop Regularly
Every time you leave, the coop’s doors open is an opportunity for snakes to creep and hide. Do not assume that they will only come in when there is a hole. Before letting the chicken back in, randomly inspect the coop’s inside to ensure that everything is okay. It can be very disappointing to wake up to several dead birds because you failed to check if there was any danger lurking when you locked the coop the night before.
• Raise the Coop
This is a trick that should be considered when building the coop. Most people lift the coop off the ground to discourage burrowing animals from penetrating through the coop’s flowing. Moles and other small animals that drill the ground leave holes through which rodents and snakes can access the enclosure.
• Ensure the Flooring is Solid
Your chicken’s coop should have a solid flowing. Ensure you cement the floor or have it in a different solid material that ensures all the gaps are covered. This saves you the pressure of worrying about tunnels that can be drilled by other animals.
3. Keep the Landscaping Clean and Clear
One secret all chicken farmers need to learn about snakes is that they love bushes and thickets. They will rarely exist in open spaces, where they easily become targets and preys of other predators such as flying birds like eagles and hawks. As such, clearing the surroundings around your chicken houses and compounds is a trick that will discourage snakes from hanging around your compound.
You need to ensure that you have idle bushes and vegetation overgrowing near your chicken coops. You also need to clear rocks, wood and leave piles, as well as other forms of piles around the chicken coop.
Do not have too many trees around the chicken coops too. Snakes have been known to be excellent climbers, which means that they could hide in the branches and leaves, only to attack your chicken when you release them in the morning.
When working on your landscaping plan, be sure to include marigolds, lemongrass, and other naturally growing snake repellents. Work with the local research centers near your home area to know what plants work well, especially those that will not affect your chicken. After all, you may not always be around to verify and confirm what your chicken forage on.
4. Get Some Guard Animals
You have probably heard about including guardian animals among your flock as a safe and easy way of scaring predators. Different guard animals work for different predators. When trying to deal with the snake issues, consider including guinea fowls. Apart from the fact that they will alert you in case of an imminent predator attack, these birds also have the potential to fight off snakes because they do not like them. They are also generally considered more robust and more agile than chicken, putting up a stronger fight. You can also have a cat around to hunt all rodents that attract snakes into your yard.
5. Use Deterrents
Find out which snake shield works well for you and your chicken. The right shield or deterrent interferes with the snake’s sensory mechanism, thus affecting its interpretation of its surroundings. Whenever these are used, snakes tend to retreat immediately since this could mean danger for them.
Victor VP364B Way Snake Repelling Granules
I Must Garden Snake Repellent: Powerful All-Natural Protection
Refastmon Solar Snake Repellent for Outdoors
6. Remove Snakes
Finding a snake in your property can be intimidating and scary, especially if the snake is a large one. However, you should be careful not to startle the snake because this may prompt it to get into attack mode. Carefully pick it up and release it into the wild. If you have never handled a snake before, consider calling the nearest wildlife officers to your home for a rescue mission. The last thing you want is to be beaten by a poisonous snake. Do not attempt to kill or remove a snake if you are untrained for this.
7. Killing Snakes
While trapping snakes may be allowed in your region, killing should not be done indiscriminately. Most areas protect snakes from indiscriminate killing. After all, snakes are crucial to the ecosystem’s balance because they feed on other rodents that would otherwise cause a menace to the environment. Rather than kill the snakes, consider calling the wildlife control team to have them collected every time you find one. Unless it is a matter of life and death, killing a snake should be discouraged.
Before you give up on controlling snakes, remember a technique that works without endangering the snakes or jeopardizing your chicken. Explore measures that guarantee peaceful co-existence between the two species. It is best to discourage snakes from creeping into your home. Work with experts in instances where the infestation is severe.