You are probably here because you want to know how to keep snakes out of a chicken coop. Many chicken coops are prime locations for a snake to get an easy meal. They especially like baby chicks and eggs that have been left inside the nesting box overnight. An added bonus would be finding a clutch of unhatched eggs.
If you live in an area that is prone to having snakes and you also own chickens, it is important to know what to do to protect your flock from them. There are several simple things that you can do to keep snakes out of your chicken coop.
Common North American Snakes that Get Into Chicken Coops
This is a list of the most common North American snakes that get into chicken coops:
- Corn Snake (North American Rat Snake): non-venomous
- Western Rat Snake (Black Snake): non-venomous
- Rattlesnake: venomous
- Gopher Snake: non-venomous
Adult chickens are usually not eaten, but bitten defending their clutch of eggs or baby chicks. Even a bite from a non-venomous snake can cause death of a fully grown chicken. Most of these snakes are after rats or mice, but find baby chicks and eggs while they are inside your coop.
How to Keep Snakes Out of a Chicken Coop-10 Best Tips
1. Use Natural Herbs in Nesting Boxes and Chicken Coop
Natural herbs can be used in nesting boxes and around your chicken coop to help deter snakes. Use herbs that will not only deter snakes, but rats and mice too.
Mice and rats are one of a snakes delicacies. If these rodents are making visits to your chicken coop, snakes will follow their tracks of urine and feces straight to your coop.
Once a snake finds a food source, it will be back for more. It is up to you to prevent them from getting access to your chicken coop.
Nesting Box Herbs to Deter Snakes
Sprinkle up to 1/4 cup of these nesting box herbs inside each hen nesting box on a weekly basis. Many of these herbs have multiple benefits, including increased egg laying and nutritionally healthier eggs! Choose the herb that you like the scent of the best or combine all of them together.
Dried Herbs to Deter Mice and Rats
You can combine several dried herbs together that help to deter mice and rats or choose one with a scent that you prefer. Scatter it around the perimeter of your chicken coop on a weekly basis. It can also be sprinkled inside your chicken coop.
2. Plant Natural Snake Deterrents Around Perimeter of Chicken Coop
There are certain scents that snakes don’t like and make a great way to help deter them from visiting your chicken coop. Marigolds, lemongrass and the Snake Plant are all nice looking plants that will help to make snakes think twice about making a visit.
Or plant a little vegetable and herb garden with garlic, onion, cloves and cinnamon.
- Snake Plant (Mother-in-Laws Tongue)
3. Put Mulch Around Perimeter of Chicken Coop
Snakes don’t like sharp things and mulch is sharp to their underside. Plant some snake deterring plants such as lemongrass and marigolds around the perimeter of your coop and put some mulch around them. It not only will dress up the chicken coop, but snakes are less likely to want to slither across it to get inside.
4. Clean Debris From Around Perimeter of Chicken Coop
Snakes like to hide under things during the day to keep cool. The following is a list of suggestions to make snakes feel less welcome.
- Locate Compost Pile Far From Chicken Coop-rats and mice love compost piles and snakes love rats and mice. Try locating your compost pile far from your coop and turning it more frequently.
- Remove fallen tree branches from around your coop.
- Keep your lawn trimmed. Snakes like to hide in tall grass and overgrown weeds.
- Don’t stack your wood close to your chicken coop.
- Avoid storing crates or farm equipment close to the coop.
- Make sure hoses are not leaking. Snakes will hide by leaking hoses for a water source.
5. Install 1/4″ Hardware Cloth on Chicken Coop
Chicken wire is good at keeping your chickens in. That’s about it. It is not effective at protecting your chickens from many predators, including snakes.
Most chicken wire is made of thin galvanized steel wire with 1″ diameter hexagon gaps in it. Most snakes can fit through these openings to get in, but will have difficulty getting out after eating some eggs, baby chicks, rats or mice.
Hardware cloth is sold in both 1/4″ and 1/2″ openings. I would recommend the 1/4″ to deter even the smaller snakes and baby mice. This wire is not only stronger to deter larger predators from getting in, but the openings are small enough to stop snakes and mice from getting into your coop.
6. Inspect Chicken Coop for Small Holes
Make it a routine to inspect your entire chicken coop for small holes. Most snakes can fit through holes as little as 1/2″ in diameter. This is why I recommend the 1/4″ hardware cloth. Make any necessary repairs.
Chicken Coop Inspection for Small Holes
- Are your chicken coop doors shutting completely?
- Are there gaps in your window sills?
- Consider installing 1/4″ hardware cloth instead of screen. Rats and mice can easily chew holes in the screen, making the perfect entrance for snakes.
- Inspect perimeter to see if rats and mice tunneling into your chicken coop.
- Inspect your eves for any holes or gaps in your hardware cloth.
- Make sure debris is removed so snakes can’t use them as a way to gain entry into your coop.
7. Remove Eggs Before Dusk Each Evening
Sometimes hens will lay eggs later in the afternoon. If you live in an area where snakes are prevalent, make it a point to check your nest boxes and remove eggs before dusk each evening.
Chicken eggs make a tasty treat for many different types of snakes. Some will eat the eggs whole and others will use their vertebrae and their fangs to crush the egg and eat the inside contents.
How to Know if Snakes are Getting Into Your Chicken Coop
- You may notice a drop in the number of eggs that you are used to collecting.
- Baby chicks are missing.
- You may find snake skin in the chicken coop.
- You may see eggshells in the chicken coop. Snakes will often crush the egg and regurgitate the eggshell.
- Chickens are found dead in the coop with unknown reason why. Chickens can die from a snake bite, both from venomous and non-venomous snakes.
- You may notice slither marks in the dirt where a snake traveled.
8. Put Chicken Feed and Water Away Each Evening
Leaving chicken food and water out after dusk is only inviting chicken predators, including snakes. Make sure you are not overfeeding your flock and inviting predators to feast on their leftovers while they are sleeping.
Once a snake knows it has found a 24 hour diner, it will continue to come back. Wouldn’t you?
9. Check the Coop Each Evening for Snakes Before Closing
If you let your flock free range during the day and leave your chicken coop door open, this makes it easy for a snake to slither in, hide in the bedding, only to reappear when your hens are tucked in at night.
Make it a routine to make one last inspection each evening before they go to roost at night. Be careful! Use a rake to rustle the bedding and be prepared, just in case one pops out!
10. Homemade Snake Repellant Spray Recipe
Ingredients for Snake Repellant Spray
|6 CUPS WATER
|4 CUPS WATER
|2 CUPS WATER
|3 TBS CINNAMON
|2 TBS CINNAMON
|1 TBS CINNAMON
|3 TBS CLOVE
|2 TBS CLOVE
|1 TBS CLOVE
|3 TBS CEDARWOOD
|2 TBS CEDARWOOD
|1 TBS CEDARWOOD
|1/2 GALLON PUMP
|64 OZ SPRAY
|32 OZ SPRAY
Instructions: How to Make Snake Repellant Spray to Deter Snakes from Chicken Coop
- Combine crushed garlic and hot water. Let this seep overnight in a glass container.
- Add crushed garlic and water solution to the spray bottle. If making the larger quantity of 6 cups, I recommend using a pump sprayer to make it easier for dispensing.
- Add essential oils, place lid on the bottle and give it a good shake to combine all of the ingredients.
- Spray around the perimeter of your entire chicken coop. This can be done on a weekly basis.
CONCLUSION: How to Keep Snakes Out of a Chicken Coop-10 Best Tips
|10 BEST TIPS
TO DETER SNAKES
|1. USE NATURAL HERBS IN NESTING
BOXES AND AROUND CHICKEN COOP.
|2. PLANT NATURAL SNAKE
PERIMETER OF CHICKEN
|3. PUT MULCH AROUND
PERIMETER OF YOUR
|4. CLEAN DEBRIS FROM
AROUND YOUR CHICKEN
|5. USE 1/4″ HARDWARE
CLOTH INSTEAD OF
|6. INSPECT COOP FOR
|7. REMOVE EGGS BEFORE
DUSK EACH EVENING.
|8. PUT CHICKEN FEED
AND WATER AWAY
|9. CHECK COOP EACH
EVENING FOR SNAKES
|10. USE SNAKE REPELLANT