The chicken coop can be an attractive food source location for snakes as well as somewhere warm to curl up to sleep.
Snakes do not come into a yard just because there are chickens there.
Rodents and eggs are their desired food source, whereas the chickens themselves tend to be a later thought. So there is no truth in the rumour that having chickens encourages snakes to come. It’s a matter of rodent control which starts with how your control the food source for your chickens.
Take care of your yard
- Keeping everything as neat and tidy as possible is essential to keeping snakes away. Don’t leave any place for them to hide within.
- Clear out all yard clutter.
- Cut the lawn and grassy areas.
- Keep up maintenance on all parts of your property to prevent new hiding spots.
- When composting, choose compost bins rather than the open pile method.
- Get rid of tree branch cuttings quickly.
- Check boundary fence lines for holes and gaps.
Take care of the coop
- Use treadle feeders instead of open feeders. Scattered food encourages rodents.
- Use a small gauge wire mesh that specifically keeps out rodents and snakes, rather than tradition chicken wire.
- Collect eggs early in the day.
- Keep all water sources well up off of the ground as some snakes are just looking for a water source.
How to deter snakes from the coop
- Place fake eggs in the nesting boxes, such as ones made from wood or ceramic. Snakes that are eating eggs will not be able to digest and break down the fake egg and therefore go away to die.
SPECIAL NOTE: In SA the law does not permit killing of snakes. This does not apply to other Australian states unless the law states. Snakes can be a serious threat and become a big problem in certain areas. Some people will be offended by this notion that snakes can die by eating fake eggs, but they do consume them whether it is lawful or not.
- Sprinkle sulphur and cayenne pepper around the perimeter of the coop or yard.
- Guinea Fowl are great natural snake predators on the ground. Not recommended for towns or urban areas due to their noise.
- Scott’s Phenyle (Wheelie Bin Cleaner) is also said to deter and is highly toxic for snakes when wet.
Once dry it will not cause sickness. The snake will taste it with its tongue and be deterred by the burning sensation it causes. It will not hurt the snake in its dried state. Do not be tempted to spray the snake directly with this product. Yes, it will kill it but in the meantime while you are waiting for it to die you will have one very angry snake on your hands.
- There are two (2) methods for using Scott’s Phenyle.
1) Mix 2 litres of PHENYLE to 3 litres of WATER. Sprayed around you’re the coop and house, running it around the bottom of the outside wall and over doorways. Reapply every 2 weeks.
2) Pour some in a jar and put holes in the lid. Leave a few just outside the pen. Do not dilute.
Different snakes do different things
Pythons are more likely to attack and consume chickens and eggs.
Other venomous snakes are more likely to be after rodents only.
Myth Busting - What does NOT work
- Moth balls
- Electronic pulsing snake repellents
- Blue Tongue Lizards (or any other type of suburban lizard)
- Rubber hose or rope laid on the ground
- Milk and Lemonade do not attract or repel snakes
6 Main Points
- Reduce rats and mice visiting the chicken food source.
- Collect eggs as early as possible, never leave any in the nests overnight.
- Nesting boxes are high up off the ground, where possible.
- Use a smaller wire fencing on the coop to keep out pests and predators, where possible. Bunnings>
- Keep chick brooders away from the main coop area as chicks make a good meal for snakes.
- Clean up the yard to eliminate hiding places.