Do black snakes eat chicken eggs? Should you be fortifying your coop if you live in an area where black snakes roam?
In this article, I'm going to explain the dangers black snakes - and other species of snakes - pose to backyard chickens and their eggs.
Do Black Snakes Eat Chicken Eggs?
Black snakes are a common sight in many parts of the United States, and they are known to eat a variety of things - including chicken eggs.
Black snakes, also known as Eastern Rat snakes, are non-venomous snakes, and they grow up to 2 meters in length (7 feet).
Their heads almost look too small to eat a whole chicken egg, but don't be deceived!
Snakes are able to literally unhinge their jaws so they can eat prey, eggs, and other things that are several times the size of their heads.
While black snakes don't typically go after chickens or their eggs, if given the opportunity, they will eat them.
If you have a black snake in your area, it's important to take steps to protect your chickens and their eggs.
How to Keep Snakes Away from Your Chickens
There are a few things you can do to keep snakes away from your chickens and their eggs.
The best way to deter snakes is to remove their food source, snakes almost always approach an area because they think they're going to find food.
I'm not just talking about chicken feed, either. If you have rodents in your yard, they will attract snakes. Try using traps or poison to get rid of any rodents.
You can also make your chicken coop unattractive and harder to approach for snakes by trimming back any tall grass and weeds around the perimeter of the coop.
Finally, you can try using a snake repellent around the perimeter of your property.
Be sure to read the instructions on the repellent carefully before use, as some products may be harmful to chickens.
Related - Read my review of Snake Away and if it's safe for chickens here.
What Kind of Snake Eats Chicken Eggs?
Now that we've answered the question "do black snakes eat chicken eggs?", let's talk about some of the other types of snakes that may be after your chicken's eggs.
There are a few different species of snakes that are known to eat chicken eggs, including:
- Copperheads (Venomous)
- Cottonmouths (Venomous)
- Rattlesnake (Venomous)
- Corn snakes
Some of these snakes are venomous, so it's also important to take steps to protect your chickens if you live in an area where any of these snake species are found.
How to Keep Venomous Snakes Away from Your Chickens
If you know you have venomous snakes in your area, it's important you take steps to protect your chickens as well as their eggs.
The best way to keep venomous snakes away from your chickens is to remove their main food source - rodents.
As I mentioned before, snakes are attracted to areas where they think they will find food.
If you have rodents in your yard, they will attract snakes. You should also make sure your chickens' coop is 'snake-proof', which means checking for any small entry points.
It's rare for a snake to attack a chicken during the day, hens are likely to spot the snake and make a lot of noise.
If you have a rooster in your flock, you also have a bodyguard of sorts. It's part of a rooster's role to spot predators and potential threats and raise an alarm.
Keep in mind that if a snake is going to attack a chicken, it's almost certainly going to be at night when they're trapped and relaxing in their coop.
Do Chickens Scare Away Snakes?
Some breeds are better than others when it comes to scaring away snakes or protecting themselves.
It also depends on the size and level of threat the snake presents, of course.
Generally speaking though, hens are pretty vulnerable and they can suffer from stress if they feel threatened.
Chickens are seen as prey to so many animals, it's better you provide as safe and stress-free living conditions as you can.
As a general rule, you want to do everything you can to stop snakes from coming into contact with your chickens, just to be on the safe side.
However, if you're looking to add some birds that are effective at scaring away snakes, I recommend taking a look at Guinea Fowl.
These birds are known to actively attack snakes, and they come with some other awesome benefits, too.
Related - A look at Guinea Fowl's eggs compared to chickens.
Black snakes might not be on the prowl for eggs or have them high on their list of preferred foods - but they will eat chicken eggs.
If you have any snakes roaming freely where you live and there is any chance they can come into contact with your chickens or get into their coop, you should take steps to make sure they can't.
Black Snakes - Britannica.com