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Country Discussion Topics
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Snakes in a hen house?
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Cynthia    Posted 02-07-2005 at 06:56:36       [Reply]  [Send Email]
A while back someone mentioned collecting eggs from a hen house and having a snake in there. Does this happen often? I have always wanted to have chickens when we move to the country but I am scared to death of snakes (yes that makes me quite a city girl I know). I know that lots of ya'll have chickens so do you come across lots of snakes and if so what do you do? Thanks for your help.

Dave 2n    Posted 02-07-2005 at 16:10:34       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Got all finished up with chickens when I had to clean my Grandma's chicken houses when I was a kid. Would rather shovel a load of oats off the old KB International on a humid day in August. But yes, the snakes would occasionally get in and get an egg.
Never seen any snakes in the egg cooler at the super market.

MikeT    Posted 02-07-2005 at 16:01:43       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Oh yeah, make sure the chicken house is closed up at night. A skunk can kill a dozen or more hens in one night. They will bite their neck while they're on the roost, then drag them into a pile. I once found about 20 dead hens in a pile on morning when I opened the chicken house. We had forgot to close the trap door that night.

ps - our trap door was just large enough to let the hens in and out, but to small for most dogs or coyotes. Our hen house was a totally enclosed building with insulation and with one regular sized door.

The chicken yard was about 1 acre in size and was inclosed inside a tall chicken wire fence that was buried about 6" deep at the base.

ret    Posted 02-07-2005 at 10:24:48       [Reply]  [No Email]
raise a few guineas along with your chickens. Guineas will get rid of snakes for you. They practically take care of theirselves, so maintenance is low.

puldeau    Posted 02-07-2005 at 08:28:52       [Reply]  [Send Email]
yes mam, they wiil get under a ole hen and eat the eggs, or get a egg and crawl off some where.when we had chickens , we would catch one now and and then under a hen and funy how the hen just sat there so quietly. as boys we would pick them up and dispose of them.dont think they were poisonous.

KellyGa    Posted 02-07-2005 at 08:13:24       [Reply]  [No Email]
I haven't had that problem where I am now, but I still took precautions. THe run has chicken wire running down into the ground on all sides. The floor of the chicken house is layered with chicken wire and then bricks are set around as a foundation for the house, so the weight of the house sits on the wire, and I also have the top, under the roof wired and stapled down. I do this mainly in case of rats, or possums, or anything that may try to get in there. Its virtually a fort knox, lol.

Cynthia    Posted 02-07-2005 at 09:01:39       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Thanks for the advice it sounds like you planned your hen house well. Do you like having chickens? I think that I would love it but my husband thinks that I am crazy.
Once again congratulations on your new property. I will be updating everyone on our search for land. The waiting is the hardest part.

KellyGa    Posted 02-07-2005 at 09:27:47       [Reply]  [No Email]
I love having chickens :) Anytime I get stressed, I can go outside and feed them a handful of treats and when they come runnin', its so sweet. I hand raised mine from day old chicks. Lots of attention, I even had bird toys haning in the brooder for them. My husband says they are too tame, you can't shoo them off! LOL! Course now I am raising ten new babies, I love that part too :) Poo does not really bother me, it does some people, but I have to deal with it all day. We have other animals that I have to clean up after, like an iguana, a rabbit, two cats, a cockateil, and the dog, but she is private, so she goes behind a tree in the corner of the yard, lol. :) Not to mention cleaning out the chicken house.

MikeT    Posted 02-07-2005 at 07:49:11       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Yep, big ol' black snakes or king snakes will swallow eggs and baby chicks. We used glass eggs in our nests to encourage the chickens to lay. Once a snake swallows one of those, you won't have any more problems with that snake! Allways look in a nest before putting your hands in there.

Cynthia    Posted 02-07-2005 at 07:57:48       [Reply]  [Send Email]
I am not sure if I should be happy for completely grossed out by your advice. I do apreciate your writing to tell me though. I realize this is a stupid question but will a chicken sit on a snake?

MikeT    Posted 02-07-2005 at 15:50:31       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Grossed out? I'm not sure what i said grossed you out? Do you mean about a snake swallowing a glass egg?

Once a snake swallows an egg it will crawl out and find something to coil around and constrict enough to break the egg. I don't even know if you can buy these glass eggs any more. We had one in every one of our nests. I am aware of a snake swallowing one of these once.

Judy in NC    Posted 02-07-2005 at 10:15:23       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Cynthia, your questions aren't stupid at all.
Please don't hestitate to ask something for fear somone will mock you - the folks here are so helpful and knowledgable.

You asked will a chicken sit on a snake. The answer is; not knowingly. When she goes to her nest box to lay, if the snake is already there, she will pick a different box to go to that day (though they usually prefer to go to the same box each day). It would be a very rare event for a snake to try to enter a nest with the hen already sitting on it (for one thing, a laying hen does not spend that much of her day actually on the nest). But if they did try, if they approached from a direction the hen saw them, she would most probably peck it. If the snake approached from the back, he could possibly slip under her without her notice. (Hens sometimes get very dreamy, almost trance-like when laying.) I once had a hen setting (hatching a clutch of eggs) and a snake was in the box next to her. When I went to get him out, he crawled past her nest and she gave him a good going over (broody hens are very protective of their eggs; and some hens just laying are just as protective while they are on the nest).

The bottom line is, a snake in the hen house or nest box is not really a COMMON occurence. Having said that, it is still something that will possibly happen at some point unless you take the sort of precautions Kelly has.

Please don't let a fear of "what might happen" stop you from the tremendous personal enjoyment you will receive from raising chickens.

Judy in NC

Cynthia    Posted 02-07-2005 at 10:19:25       [Reply]  [Send Email]
You gave me the answer I was looking for. Yes, I am scared to death of snakes but I am not going to let that stop me. Thanks!

SusanMo    Posted 02-07-2005 at 07:40:55       [Reply]  [No Email]
my husband found a black snake in our chicken house last summer. they will eat the eggs so far havent seen anymore.

sdg    Posted 02-07-2005 at 07:21:19       [Reply]  [No Email]
Cynthia, We have chickens in a fenced in run that leads to a ladder going into thier coop. I'm not sure where you live and if snakes are a big deal in your area, but we only have little snakes here and never once have I ever seen one near my chickens and ducks. I also though have cats that come and go in the barn and around the chickens, so if one is around, no snakes. But like I said, about our run it is 7 ft high wire around it and 2 slabs on the inside and outside nailed togather with the wire in between and never once have I seen a snake in the run.

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