Finding snakes in your chicken coop can be frightening. It puts stress on your hens, and the snake might run off with your eggs or chicks. And if you have looked online for snake repellents, you might have seen a few good ideas. But upon further investigation, you will find that these methods aren’t safe for your flock. Let’s look at 6 snake repellents that won’t harm chickens.
Do Snakes Bother Chickens?
Before we get too far, will snakes harm your hens? Should you even bother with getting rid of them? Snakes are never around to harm adult hens. But they do pick off chicks, and some even eat eggs. Plus, it stresses chickens out to have predators so close. Your hens might even stop laying eggs. So while snakes might not harm your chickens, it is still best to keep them out of the coop and run.
What Kind Of Snakes Eat Chicken Eggs?
Most snakes hang out in the coop for other rodents that come around. But if you raise chickens for eggs, there is also the worry of snakes eating your eggs. Here in the USA, you should always be on the lookout for a few types of snakes. These snakes are not poisonous or cause any harm to humans, but they love chicken eggs. Rat snakes, Milk snakes, King snakes, Chicken snakes, and Black snakes are famous for eating chicken eggs. And they are common throughout most of the US. So if you notice a decrease in eggs, a snake might be to blame.
What Are The Signs Of Snakes?
Unless you walk into the coop and see a snake, noticing the signs can be tricky. But there are a few things you should look out for. The first being chicks suddenly disappearing. Chicks are the easiest prey for snakes, and often a few of them will disappear at once. You can take this as your first clue that a snake has made its home nearby.
The second sign of snakes is eggs disappearing. You won’t see several eggs gone every day. But every week or two, you will notice that more and more eggs are gone. Since snakes typically only eat once a week, the most obvious answer for consistent disappearing eggs is snakes.
And occasionally, you might see some pullets that are wet. Sometimes a snake will attempt to eat larger prey. It is almost always unsuccessful, but it does happen. Wet birds with feathers missing and small punctures are likely from a snake.
#1 Repel Mice
Do chickens attract snakes? In most cases, snakes are attracted to your coop because that’s where their food hangs out. Mice and rats are the real problems in these situations. So you have to figure out how to get rid of the vermin before moving on. Keeping food locked up and the chicken areas clean is a great starter. But mice are curious little things that will still want to see what’s going on in the coop.
People often think that planting things like marigolds, lemongrass, and peppermint are snake repellents. But they actually work at deterring the snake’s food. If there is no food around, the snakes won’t stick around either.
#2 Fix Up The Yard
Another safe snake repellent for chickens is to keep the yard tidy. Snakes like to hide in clutter, tall grass, woodpiles, and leaves. These places make the perfect home where they can go undetected for months or even years if you aren’t careful. They also make fantastic homes because it is close to their food. To repel snakes, you should take away all the places they could call home.
Cutting the lawn regularly and keeping up with seasonal clean-ups are great ways of doing this. Raking up leaf piles and cutting back weeds often are also great deterrents for snakes. And don’t forget to clean up around decks and lawn ornaments. These are excellent places for a snake to hide throughout the summer.
#3 Guinea Fowl
What animals keep snakes away? Chickens are capable of killing snakes if they wanted to. But let’s face it, they would rather mind their business than take on a potential predator. But Guinea fowl are another story.
Guineas hate snakes. Not only will they warn the entire block of snakes, but they will also pursue them. They won’t stop until they get that snake and eat it. And it’s quite the show to watch. So get a few Guinea hens in your flock for complete snake protection. Plus, you will get some tasty eggs out of the arrangement.
#4 Snake Proof Chicken Coop
6 snake repellents that won’t harm chickens wouldn’t be complete without talking about proofing. If you suspect snakes in your coop, you need to get down and dirty to figure out where they are coming from. Using hardware cloth to cover holes, patching the coop floor, and fixing ventilation are all good starting places.
But you might have to go a step further. Some owners find that raising their coop by a few feet keeps snakes out well. And they place inverted squirrel baffles on the support beams to keep snakes from climbing in. Little things like this will make finding a snake’s next meal too tricky. They won’t think the effort is worth the payoff, so that they will move on.
#5 Snake Or Minnow Traps
While these aren’t precisely snake repellents, it’s worth mentioning. If you notice several snakes in your coop, you should use humane traps until you find the source of the problem. Snake traps and minnow traps work in the same way. Add a little bait like eggs in the trap. Once the snake enters, they can’t escape, so that you can release it in a safe wilderness location. Your chickens will stay safe, and you can irradicate the problem.
#6 Electronic Devices
And finally, we have electronic devices. Gadgets like the SEALUXE Snake Repellent use ultrasonic waves that deter snakes from entering your yard. The reason these work so well is that snakes use vibrations and movements to determine if an area is safe or not. These ultrasonic devices trick snakes into thinking that a site has high traffic and not a safe place to hide. And better yet, they are solar-powered. So you don’t have to worry about cords and using electricity or batteries.
What About Home Remedies To Keep Snakes Away?
You might have noticed that we didn’t add any home remedies to our 6 snake repellents that won’t harm chickens. There is a good reason for this. Home snake repellents often rely on scent to keep snakes away. You can find everything from essential oils to human urine to keep snakes out of the coop. And some home remedies include using toxic substances like mothballs that can harm your chickens. But for the most part, there is no science to back this up.
Scientists have tried for decades to find scents that repel snakes. And while some scents might stall snakes for a brief moment, they always try again. That is because snakes are more intelligent than they seem. They can tell if something is dangerous by the heat and vibrations that the animal or human gives off. They don’t rely on scent as much as other animals unless it’s for hunting.
So while some scents might stall your slithering company, it won’t work for long. The snakes will test the boundaries until they figure out it’s a hoax. And most of them figure this out sooner than you would like.
You might have also noticed that we didn’t recommend things like fake eggs or golf balls. The reason for this is that they don’t fool anyone. Snakes smell everything before they eat it and look for warmth. There is no way for a snake to mistake golf balls for eggs.
Even if a snake accidentally ate one, snakes are notorious for throwing up. They regurgitate foods that aren’t passable all the time without difficulty. So it is a waste of time to try fake bate to kill the snakes. Plus, it doesn’t solve your original problem.
Is Snake Away Safe For Chickens?
There is a popular brand on the market today called Snake Away. It comes in either powder or sprays that you lay as a barrier to keep snakes out. But this product isn’t a scent. It actually works as a chemical disruption of a snake’s sensory reception. Imagine if you were walking and all of a sudden were punched in the nose. It would disorient you, especially if it seemed to come from nowhere.
This product seems to work well for most owners. But will Snake Away harm chickens? The active ingredients in Snake Away granules are the same things in mothballs. And we all know that mothballs are toxic to people and pets if we come into prolonged contact with them. The Snake Away manufacturers don’t suggest using this product in areas where you or your pets will spend a lot of time. So, it’s not worth the risk to try.
An alternative to Snake Away is Exterminators Choice Snake Defense Spray. Its Non-toxic ingredients are safe to use if you follow the instructions. Can be used outside and inside your garden and barns.
That’s Everything About Snake Repellents
Once you locate the reason snakes are invading your coop and how you can solve the problem. And for the best protection, you should combine a few of the 6 snake repellents that won’t harm chickens.
Below is a Pinterest friendly photo…. so you can pin it to your Backyard Chicken Board!!