Are you having a snake problem? Are these slithering creatures carrying away your eggs or scaring your flock? Then you might wonder if a rooster can help keep the snake away.
Roosters are natural protectors of their flocks and they will go out of their way to keep your hens safe. But can they keep snakes away? Can roosters handle venomous snakes like rattlesnakes and cobras? Let us find out.
Do Roosters Keep Snakes Away? (The Quick Answer)
A rooster will easily defend his flock against a small snake. Some roosters are known to fight venomous snakes and even tear them into pieces. Some have also developed a slight immunity to certain types of snake venom and may even eat the snake after tearing it into pieces.
Who Wins: Rooster or Snake?
In a fight between a rooster and a snake, the outcome depends on several factors. If it is a large venomous snake like a rattlesnake or python, the rooster may not stand a chance against it.
Large pythons will grab the rooster or the chicken and squeeze it until it cannot breathe. It will then swallow the bird whole. However, a large rooster like the Brahma rooster can easily snap and tear a small snake into pieces. It might even eat the snake.
Most chickens and roosters instinctively keep out of the snake’s way. They will not actively seek a fight with a snake. However, if a snake attempts to eat a hen’s eggs, the mother hen will cluck, flap her wings, and peck at the snake. This can alert the owners to come to the bird’s rescue.
Roosters are highly protective of their flocks. They constantly scan their surroundings for predators like weasels, skunks, etc., and then alert the flock to these dangers, when present. They even scan the skies and alert their flocks about dangers from predatory birds like owls, eagles, and hawks.
Thus, roosters will first try to warn the hens about the snakes. He will gather the hens in a safe area and then march up and down around them while crowing and flapping his wings. He will continue doing this until the snake leaves. If the snake comes near the hens, the rooster will peck at it until it slithers away or is injured.
Can Roosters Fight Off Snakes?
There are videos depicting fights between roosters and venomous snakes like cobras, where the rooster emerges the winner. The videos also show the rooster eating the snake after tearing it into pieces!
Roosters are highly determined birds when it comes to protecting their flocks. They will bite, peck, charge, claw, kick, and squeeze the snake if it comes to steal the eggs or chicks. They are also faster and more agile than the snake. They also have the advantage of being able to fly a short distance into the air.
In the case of larger snakes like pythons or deadly rattlesnakes, a rooster will first crow loudly and alert the hens to the danger. He will then instruct the birds to gather together in a relatively safe area away from the snake. The rooster will then march around the gathered flock to prevent the snake from approaching.
By flapping its large wings and using its sharp beak and claws, the rooster can scare the predatory snake to slither away and leave his flock alone.
Will Chickens Kill Snakes?
Yes, if a chicken feels threatened by a small snake, she will not hesitate to kill it. In many cases, mother hens are known to have thwarted a snake attack to protect her eggs and little chicks. The chicken will peck at the snake and will continue pecking until the snake dies.
However, a small chicken may not be a match for a larger snake. Large snakes are aware of their size and power. They will not back away easily, even if the chicken starts attacking or pecking at it. The snake will retaliate and might even strike or bite.
If it is a venomous snake, then the chicken could die from the snake’s poison. So, in a fight between chicken and snake, the outcome will depend on the chicken and the snake’s size, the type of snake, etc.
Can Chickens Eat Snakes?
Yes, there have been several instances where roosters and chickens have torn small snakes into pieces and eaten them.
As mentioned above, chickens will not actively seek snakes to eat. However, if they feel threatened by the snake, they will peck away at it and eat up the pieces.
Chickens usually stay away from larger snakes and they avoid eating the venomous ones too. They will prefer clucking loudly and running away from larger snakes instead of actively fighting with them.
What Snakes Hang Around Chickens?
The two species of snakes that are mostly found around chicken coops are rat snakes and king snakes. These snakes are attracted to chicken eggs and chicken feed.
Both varieties of snakes are non-venomous and, as such, harmless to humans and pet animals. However, they thrive on a diet that includes chicken eggs, making them a concern for poultry owners.
Rat snakes are skilled climbers and access coops through small openings. King snakes are constrictors. They kill rodents like rats and mice and, in reality, are good to have around the yard. However, they also feast on chicken eggs.
Though harmless to humans, both of these species of snakes pose a threat to chicken eggs. This makes it important for chicken keepers to secure the coop using fine-mesh wire.
How Do I Protect My Chickens From Snakes?
Chickens and roosters will fight snakes when the need arises. However, to prevent snakes from entering the coop, you can do several things to secure it:
Get Roosters to Protect your Hens
Roosters are natural protectors of their flocks and they go out of their way to keep the hens safe. They constantly scan their surroundings for danger. If a rooster spots a snake, it will gather the hens to a safe area and crow loudly to alert the humans. A flock of 8-10 hens should have at least one rooster to guard it.
Reinforce the Coop
Snakes enter the coop through the smallest of gaps- anything over 2 inches. So, caulk and seal all gaps and holes. If possible, elevate the coop and use inverted funnels to wrap the posts to prevent snakes from getting in.
Keep closing the coop during the daytime to prevent snakes from entering and hiding there. If needed, install a camera and observe how snakes or other predators can get inside the coop.
Fence the Coop and Run
Install electric fencing around the chicken coop and run. If you use hardware cloth, cover the coop, the run, and the base of the coop to keep snakes out. The fence material you use should not have gaps wide enough to allow small snakes inside.
Keep the Coop Clean
In most instances, snakes come into the coop not to eat the eggs and chicks but to eat mice and rats. If your coop is unclean, it will attract rodents, which, in turn, will attract snakes. The cleaner your coop, the fewer mice and rodents enter it, and subsequently, fewer snakes! Remove soiled bedding and promptly discard leftover feed, broken feathers, and broken eggs.
Collect Chicken Eggs Frequently
Snakes are mainly after chicken eggs. They love these delicious treats and swallow them whole! By promptly removing the freshly laid eggs, you can deter snakes from entering the coop.
Remember, snakes won’t actively seek to eat hens and roosters. They are equally scared of these birds and prefer eating hens’ eggs, which are easier to swallow and easily accessible as well.
Maintain Your Yard
To prevent snakes from entering your yard, cut the lawn to a short height to deter hiding areas. Also, avoid leaving piles of wood and leaves where snakes can take refuge. Remove old tires, bikes, broken toys, and other items that provide hiding places for snakes.
Plant Snake-Repelling Plants and Herbs
Plant lemongrass, marigolds, basil, garlic, garlic-onion, lime, holy basil, thyme, catnip, cactus, holly, chives, and skunk cabbage around the coop. Snakes hate the strong scent of these herbs and try to stay away from them.
Spray Snake-Repellents Around The Coop
In addition to planting snake-repellent plants, you can also spray essential oils and herbal sprays that snakes dislike. Some examples include cinnamon, white vinegar, tea tree, peppermint, cedarwood, etc. You can add these essential oils and vinegar to water in a spray bottle. Add a few drops of hot sauce or pepper to the mixture and spray around the coop.
What Size Chicken Wire Will Keep Snakes Out?
When it comes to keeping snakes out, you must look for a mesh size that is smaller than the smallest snake species in your area. For most common snakes, a mesh size of 1/4 inch or smaller should work well to prevent them from slithering through.
However, if you have particularly small or slender snake species in your area, you might consider using even finer mesh, like 1/8 inch, to ensure they cannot get through.
Do ensure that the wire is sturdy and properly installed to block potential entry points.