What can you do to keep snakes out of a hen coop?

Dave Campbell

Do you have a chicken coop and wondering if the rooster is keeping snakes away and what other snake repellants are effective? Maybe you are wondering if snakes smell out chicken eggs or if they eat chickens.

You can find out here everything you need to know from snake-proofing the coop to answering all your questions.

So before we get to secure the pen, make sure to read the answers to all your questions following here.

Roosters as a repellent

Roosters are known to show real pluck to defend their brood when it comes to snakes. Maybe you have seen the video making its round on YouTube where a rooster fights off a cobra.

A fact is the bird has quick pecking maneuvers allowing it to grab a snake to keep him out of harm’s way.  The rooster will defend the chickens by pecking at it and even running with the snake dangling from its beak.

Once he achieves what he wants, it will swallow the snake whole to make sure he never returns. For birds, this is not unusual as many of them prey on snakes.

A fact is that your domesticated rooster is always on the lookout for rodents and other predators. However, there are times that bigger snakes do win and kill off the chickens and eat the eggs.

If you do have a rooster you count yourself lucky! However, always take precaution as well as the rooster can also lose the battle.

Types of snakes that will go after hen and eggs

Maybe you have been wondering if snakes can smell chicken eggs. Alternatively, perhaps you are wondering what type of snake enjoys making your poultry part of their meal?

To the first question, a snake does have an excellent smell but only through tasting? A fact is the first things that will attract the serpent are the rodents living around the chicken coop.

You need to take care of the rodent to take care of the snake. The important thing is to gather the eggs daily to prevent them from becoming the snake’s meal.

Now to answer the second question, you can find different snakes that do enjoy making chickens and the egg part of their meal.

how to keep snakes away from chickens

King snake

You can find five different kinds of kingsnakes that eat chickens in the United States. The serpent is ground-dwelling and often kills other snakes as well.

Furthermore, you can find them with different pattern and color variations. The characteristic feature is the banding of light to dark colors.

However, you can find them with stripes running along the body as well. A fact is that sometimes you can confuse them with other species like the venomous coral snake.

The snake’s diet consists of lizards, rodents, birds, and eggs. Furthermore, they do not produce venom and subdue their prey.

Once they are on the scent of food, they grab it in the mouth and coil around the animal’s body to stop the animal from breathing.

Therefore, if one of them has made their way to your chicken coop, the poultry and eggs are in danger.


The copperhead gets its name from its bronze-hued head. The body color can range from tan to copper shade with gray.

The serpent is venomous but not potent and rarely deadly for humans. However, the venom can make you very sick as it breaks down your blood cells.

The reptile preys on small rodents, lizards, frogs, and little birds. So if you find one around the pen, it will eat the chicks as they are small enough to digest.

However, they will only do this when there are no more rodents around in the vicinity.

Furthermore, you will find them outdoors during the day in spring but become nocturnal during summer. Therefore, they will come out at night.

On the other hand, they eat the prey whole, and the likeliness of eating an egg seldom happens.


Who does not know the rattlesnake everyone does! The reptile is beautiful yet misunderstood! Furthermore, the snake feeds on reptile and mammals as well as birds.

On the other hand, they are active at night and only look for food when hungry. However, the primary food source is a mouse, rabbit, ground squirrel, and rat.

So your chicken eggs are safe, but your chicks might not be out of harm’s way.

Grass Snakes

The grass snake you can find around the world. The only venomous snake in the grass species is the adder.

Even the markings on the body vary from one snake to another. Furthermore, you can find them living in wetlands and grasslands or your garden.

The grass snake is an excellent swimmer and feeds on frogs and newts. Occasionally, they will feed on fish, birds, and small animals.

So to answer the question, they will not eat the chicken eggs but can prey on the chicks. The two most common snakes that will eat chickens or the egg is the black snake and rat snake.

A fact is that most snakes are good to have around your chicken coop as they control rodents that are dangerous for your animals.

How to make your coop snakeproof?

Having snakes around offers you excellent pest control. However, you do not want them to get access to your chicken coop.

Here is how you can snake-proof your chicken pen to use the reptile to your advantage.

  • Start by looking for access points where the snake can get entry to the coop and block it off.
  • You can replace the chicken wire with ¼ inch hardware cloth. The fence will also prevent access for raccoons and weasels as well.
  • Check the door gaps and equip it with weather stripping or door molding to prevent large openings for critters to get through.
  • Make sure the pen has a solid floor and if it does not have one fit it out with a coop apron or sturdy mesh.
  • Always store chicken feed in sealed containers or use a treadle feeder. Keeping food sealed prevents attracting rodents that are the staple food of snakes.
  • Keep the coop and surrounding area clutter-free to prevent hiding spots for rodents and snakes. Furthermore, keep the grass trimmed and clear.

Another excellent way is to use a trap for snakes as it is humane, allowing you to remove the reptile and releasing it back into its natural habitat. Snake trapping is a good option for both the snakes and the chicken keeper.

We recommend the Cabela Minnow Trap and do not use golf balls as a trap. A fact is that snakes are smart, and the likeliness of it eating the golf ball is minute as their sense of smell is excellent.

They will eat it and regurgitate the ball as they smell with taste. Furthermore, we do not advise using snake repellent products filled with toxic chemicals that can harm the environment and other animals.

Final Thoughts

So if you see a snake the next time around your backyard chicken coop do not shriek out as the likeliness is that it is feasting on a rodent causing harm to the breed.

Now and again having a friendly snake patrolling the coop is an excellent option as it will leave your chickens and eggs alone.

With protection making sure your chicken pen is secure, there is no concern about the slithering snake making the area part of its home.

Always remember not all snakes are dangerous for your poultry, but some of them can bite especially the black rat snake.

Related posts –

how to keep rats away from a chicken or rabbit coop

How to keep racoons away from a chicken coop


Dave Campbell

I'm Dave Campbell and the owner of deadpestz.com. You can read more about me and my background on my About Me page.

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