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  #1  
Old 06/22/08, 09:06 PM
donkeytime
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 224
black snake killed my chicken

I have, or I should say I had, a silkie chicken. I went into the chicken shed and there was a 5-6 foot black snake sucking on my dead chicken's head. The rooster did nothing to help her. WE tried to catch it but it slipped away. I wish I had killed it. We had a rat problem, and I would gladly of given up some eggs to have the rat killer, but it is killing my chickens!! Someone told me to put lime around the chicken shed doors. Will this help? What do I do? Wht kind of bird might kill a snake like this? Would a peacock? HELP!!

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  #2  
Old 06/22/08, 10:13 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Carthage, Texas
Posts: 12,144

All chickens are pretty much helpless when it comes to predators, after dark. A lot of folks think that roosters will protect the hens. Would be nice if it were true. They usually, in my situation, sit back and let the varmint eat the hen or the chicks.

Some of bannies will put up a ruckus when a snake or other varmint is about... and the guineas usually put up a fuss, loud enough to hear, if the chickens are disturbed. Sometimes a rooster will crow, if alarmed...

You cannot have snakes and poultry... unless you have your poultry in hermetically sealed chambers... I've had chicken snakes crawl between two sheets of tin, nested together to get in and kill chickens.

I have some mercy on endangered snakes, relocating them... however, chicken snakes must go to the next plane of existence.

Half the time, the snake can't even swallow the chicken, but it kills it in the process of trying to....

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  #3  
Old 06/22/08, 10:31 PM
Ivy League Chickens!
 
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Location: In the middle of Illinois
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Hi Texican,

I think Texas is the leader when it comes to chicken snakes. I was stationed at Ft. Hood a few years ago.

I cannot believe that a rooster would let a snake kill a hen or baby chicks. Are roosters good for anything besides breeding and attacking children?

Lonnie

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  #4  
Old 06/22/08, 10:50 PM
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
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What other kind of snakes kill chickens? We usually don't see many around here, but I'm sure their lurking somewhere just waiting for me to let the chickens outside in the shade.

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  #5  
Old 06/23/08, 05:24 AM
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: KY
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lonnie View Post
Hi Texican,

I think Texas is the leader when it comes to chicken snakes. I was stationed at Ft. Hood a few years ago.

I cannot believe that a rooster would let a snake kill a hen or baby chicks. Are roosters good for anything besides breeding and attacking children?

Lonnie
Nope... breeding is about all they are good for, unless you invite them for Sunday dinner.
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  #6  
Old 06/23/08, 07:06 AM
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: North Alabama
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Originally Posted by pickapeppa View Post
What other kind of snakes kill chickens? We usually don't see many around here, but I'm sure their lurking somewhere just waiting for me to let the chickens outside in the shade.
Any breed of snake will kill a chicken if they suspect they can eat it. Most smaller snakes KNOW they can't swollow anything that big~ but some will try anyway.

I really like snakes. I always suggest leaving them alone when possible or relocating them if you must~ but like any predator if a snake kills a chicken or chic and actually succeeds in swollowing it.....it will come back for more. Why wouldn't it? A sleeping chic would be much easier to catch at night than a nocturnal and wary rat! But mostly~ if they've never succeeded in getting a meal out of a chicken they will not waste their energy trying. They know they can eat a rat~ and most smarter snakes you'll never see and never know are busily taking care of varmint problems on your property. MOSTLY that is~ snakes ARE stupid and some will kill a chicken HOPING to be able to eat it~ if he succeeds.....he'll be back for more in a week or two.
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  #7  
Old 06/23/08, 07:33 AM
donkeytime
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 224

Thanks for your observations. Please give me some advice on how to go forward. Someone said that putting lime around the cracks to the shed might help, as the snake does not like to crawl over lime. Is that right? Right now they are in a stall in the barn. This snake is huge. It is the biggest black snake my husband and I have ever seen. We really tried to catch it and came close at one point, so there was a "struggle" so to speak. Any chance this might deter the snake from coming back? Ever heard of "snake away?" Does it work? This happened around 5:00 in the afternoon and not at night. We came home from vacation and it was dead quiet in the chicken stall. When I opened the door, the chickens came out except the one, so I went in to see if she was nesting or under something and the snake was curled around her with her head in his mouth. She is a small chicken--a silkie--but I don't see how that snake, as big as it was, was going to swallow that silkie. Her head was elogated from the snake tryiny to get her down, I guess. I don't want to keep going out to find more dead chickens and you all said that snakes can get through a tiny crack. So how do I keep it away or catch that snake? Would it help to get a few ginneas? A peacock?

I really like snakes too, and I know this snake could help us keep the rats away, which were a problem. Any ideas to prevent another chicken death would be appreciated.

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  #8  
Old 06/23/08, 08:08 AM
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: North Alabama
Posts: 2,107

I'm sorry~ I really don't know if any of those methods will work or not. I breed snakes for pet shops and retail~ so I know a little about thier behaviour. That snake can swollow anything up to 1 1/2 times the thickest part of his body. If the chickens head looked elongated and slimey it sounds like the snake was interupted in the process of swollowing. If may be that he gave up and backed off on his own or he was startled by you and backed off the prey so he could flee when he percieved danger. If your attempt to catch the snake freaked him out enough AND other prey is percieved as an easier meal he is unlikely to try it again. But if he has ever succeeded in getting a meal out of that location and from eating a chicken he will most likely be back. They are opportunistic feeders and will go for the easier prey item whenever possible.

Never pick up a wild snake with your hands. Even if your reasonably sure you have ID'ed the snake as non-venomous. It's just not a good idea (but I'm stupid and often pick them up and then remember I should never do it). Your best bet (in my limited opionion as I have very little exp with wild snakes) is to keep a sharp bladed hoe handy. If he comes back aim to kill him. Don't get with strike range~ about 3/4 the length of his body~ once he realizes you aim to kill him he will attempt to fight back. May even rattle his tail and try to convince you he is a rattler (almost all rat and chicken snakes know this trick!). Don't get close just in case. Freak him out the best you can~ if you CAN kill him with the hoe without getting in strike range do~ if he comes back he believes your chicken coop is an easy meal opportunity.

You could also try those sticky traps they sell for mice in areas the chickens can't get too but he can. He will stick to it as well as a mouse would. Kill him quick if you catch him (Chop the head off with that sharp hoe). Don't leave him to suffer on the glue board~ he can go WEEKS~ even MONTHS without eating~ if you don't kill him he will have a horrible death on that board.

Good luck

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  #9  
Old 06/23/08, 03:28 PM
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: North Georgia
Posts: 255

We are having a similar problem...found a big black snake in our brooder pen today and it had already swallowed two of our new batch of chicks...we moved them to a smaller brooder pen (a little more snake-proof) but they can't stay there long...it is too small...the snake also eats our eggs...

At this point I'm not sure what to do about it. DH wants to keep the snake around. I want my chickens and eggs. I know even if we kill this particular snake, there will be others, so we need to find a way to keep snakes and chickens apart.

We haven't had this problem before this summer so still trying to find out what we need to do

Sorry about your chicken...

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  #10  
Old 06/23/08, 03:38 PM
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: North Georgia
Posts: 255
If you free-range chickens...

what exactly do you do? Do you have a coop/house and put them away at night? Do you have a portable coop? Anyone have NO coop? Do you supplement their feed all year, or only during winter months? Is there a certain coop design you have found works best? I have books...I just like to also hear about real experiences

I am rethinking how we are doing ours. We started out with coop/pen (never really had a "house") but the chickens started preferring to roost up in the trees and never spent time in it, so we eventually tore it down. They also have several other "shelters" they can go to if they want.

We only supplement their feed in winter months, which is only about 2-3 months here that things are not green and bugs are not out. We have nine acres and they stay within our property. Partly woods and partly weedy pasture so plenty of variety for forage.

I guess my main concerns are whether or not we need to build a chicken house, and whether or not we are doing the right thing with regard to their diet.

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  #11  
Old 06/23/08, 04:13 PM
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: North Georgia
Posts: 255
Oh I am so very sorry!

I meant for my last post about free-ranging chickens to be under a new thread...I am sorry for hijacking your post!!!!! Please excuse me and can someone please move my post??!!!

TIA!

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  #12  
Old 06/23/08, 06:33 PM
donkeytime
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 224

i have been asking around and here is what i learned...i can put "snake away" around the door cracks (smells like moth balls) but the snake could climb up the side and go down through the chicken wire anyway.

I can lay golf balls around and it may eat those and die.

As far as the suggestion to hoe it to death, I would do that if I could get it again, but I can't stay back 3/4 its size and reach it as it is 5-6 feet long.

Also, it is not a black snake but a "racer" which we learned can be very aggressive. This snake "stood up" about 4 feet off of the group and tried to strike us when we were attempting to put it in a plastic bag.

I may have to get something to shoot it with.

I am also going to build a little pen, as suggested and put it in the yard iwth the donkeys and see what happens.

any other ideas?

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  #13  
Old 06/24/08, 08:47 AM
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Oklahoma
Posts: 457

Okay, this is what I do-

Put golf balls (or a round glass ball or something resembling an egg) in a nest where you have been losing chickens. If it's a snake, it will swallow the ball and then it will either die from not being able to pass the ball or, it will not be able to fit back out the hole it came in through and you can kill it then.

IMO, dealing with predation is the biggest challenge to raising chickens.

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  #14  
Old 06/24/08, 03:09 PM
Banned
 
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Location: georgia
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Smile

I already got beat up for telling this one time BUT it works 100% (so far ) for me.
I use sulpher , every one around here puts sulpher around there pens to keep snakes out. most snake products ARE sulpher. It works for me. I put sulpher all around my pen & top it off with hot pepper flakes , the ones that still has the seeds in it. I buy BIG bottles of hot pepper it in the big box stores ... keeps rodents away & the sulpher keeps snakes out
Dan

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  #15  
Old 06/24/08, 08:20 PM
donkeytime
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 224

Where do you get sulfur?

Hey guess what!? My husband and I killed the snake!!! I bought a playhouse to make a chicken shed out of and we were loading the stuff in the barn and he said--there is the snake. So we took shovels and killed it, which we hated to do but there it was at the SAME TIME OF DAY to go after our chickens. I had the snakeaway around the door and lime too, so I don't know if it had approached the door or not. It turns out it was a racer and I will send photos as soon as we know it is stone dead. It is in a garbage bag right now.

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  #16  
Old 06/24/08, 09:45 PM
Ivy League Chickens!
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: In the middle of Illinois
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I think people in the southern states have the most predator problems. Here in central Illinois we don't have rattlesnakes or fireants. We do have snakes but they are not as prevalent as down south. We do have problems with coons, possums, owls, and hawks.

Lonnie

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  #17  
Old 06/24/08, 09:54 PM
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: PQ
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lonnie View Post
\
I cannot believe that a rooster would let a snake kill a hen or baby chicks. Are roosters good for anything besides breeding and attacking children?

Lonnie
Don't forget making NOSIE!

Patty.
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  #18  
Old 06/24/08, 10:20 PM
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
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We've had a terrible time with black snakes this year. Lost two young pigeons.

One afternoon while DS was out filling the rabbit's water bottles he heard such a ruckus going on in the duck pen. There was a black snake wrapped around the duck's neck strangling her. She was sitting on eggs at the time. She recovered thankfully.

I was amazed when I found one in the pigeon loft that went up between the back of a shelf and the wall. The space could only have been about a half inch at the most. They must be able to flatten themselves out.

The first snake we carried off up the road a few miles but I'm afraid the last two got the chop. Just can't afford to raise livestock to feed snakes.

Since both my pigeons were left dead with the slimy head and neck. I have a feeling that the snakes are just sucking out the contents of the bird's crop rather than trying to swallow the whole bird.

Pauline

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  #19  
Old 06/25/08, 07:17 AM
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: North Alabama
Posts: 2,107
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pigeon Lady View Post
Since both my pigeons were left dead with the slimy head and neck. I have a feeling that the snakes are just sucking out the contents of the bird's crop rather than trying to swallow the whole bird.

It isn't~ the snake begins swollowing at the head as it is the smallest area then works it's way up over the prey. When you find a prey item in that condition the snake has begun swollowing the bird then backed off it for one reason or another. Either the snake discovered the bird was in fact too large to swollow or something frightened it so it backed off the prey item to flee. The can not move far while eating and can not move fast with a full belly. Backing off a prey item is an incrediable waste of energy for the snake. If you've found two birds in that condition you either have one snake that has gotten a good meal off a pigeon before so he keeps trying or two snakes giving it a try for the first time.
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  #20  
Old 06/25/08, 07:34 AM
donkeytime
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 224

I am in the mountains of North Carolina, which does not have that many different kids of snakes, compared to the lowcountry. I had always liked black snakes, knowing they keep down the rats and mice. I knew they could go after the eggs, but this one left an egg to try to suck off my Silkie's head. Gross. I just can't have that, so it had to go.

Here is a great link on black snakes and their range: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/UW251

After we went after the snake in the barn last night the barn looked like there had been a bar fight in there. We had everything turned upside down. We put this HUGE snake in a garbage bag. I went out their this a.m. to see if it was really, really dead and when I poked it with the shovel IT MOVED. It moved slowly but IT MOVED. So I am leaving it in there today and will look again tonight. Once I get a photo I will post on a new post.

Last night when I went to put my donkeys in, the two year old (Ruby) walked in, stopped dead in her tracks and sniffed and sniffed and sniffed the air in the direction of where the snake was and turned around and left. The other two adult donkeys would not even step food in the barn. I had to take them around the field gate to put them up. Funny how they can smell things we can not, and they knew they didn't want to go in that building with a SNAKE (although the snake was outside in the bag, the odor was still in the barn.)

My chickens had been in the stall next to the donkey stall and it had worked out very well for 2 years. Obviously, it is time for a more secure chicken area, so I did some research and settled on converting a Lowes playhouse to a shed. I am going to caulk all of the seems and put mesh over the windows. Plexiglas can go over that in the winter.

I will put the playhouse in the barnyard with the donkeys. Lets see the snake get past them.

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