Backyard chicken coops have been embraced by people all around Australia for many reasons: to reduce your carbon footprint by recycling scraps; to ensure a steady food supply during uncertain times; and because chickens make wonderful pets. As the weather warms, many chicken owners are worried about how to deter snakes from entering their coop.
Where there are chickens, there are mice and rats.
Chickens and their uneaten scraps, grain and pellets, can attract mice and rats. Mice and rats then attract snakes. In order to deter rodents from taking up residence in your coop, make sure you do the following:
1. KEEP A CLEAN COOP
Keeping your coop clean is essential, not only to protect the health of your chickens but to reduce the chances of attracting rats and mice. Setting aside a bit of time once a week to gather up left over vegetable scraps and built up chicken poo will do the trick.
2. DON’T LEAVE OUT FOOD
Don’t feed your chickens at night or leave grain and pellets out in the open where they are easily accessible to mice and rats. Simple devices such as a hanging grain feeder still allow access to the chickens and are out of reach of rodents.
3. KEEP THE AREA AROUND THE COOP CLEAN
Keep grass mown, ensure that trees and shrubs are kept neat, and don’t leave any rubbish or food scraps near the coop.
Where there are mice and rates, there are snakes.
Snakes are attracted to rodents as they are a readily available food source. As such, the relationship between chicken owners and snakes is a challenging one. On the one hand, snakes control the rodent population, on the other, they have been known to eat eggs and even the chickens.
Use snake repellers to keep to snakes away from your flock.
A solar snake repeller is the next line of defence in protecting your flock. Solar snake repellers can deter snakes from setting up residence in or near your coop by emitting a vibration, into the ground, that is disturbing to snakes.
It is important that you have adequate coverage for your house when you are putting in your snake repellers to ensure that you keep the snakes away. Make sure you place the repellers 30 metres apart, with overlapping coverage. It is also important that you choose a location that receives plenty of sunlight so that the repeller remains charged.
By combining a clean coop and yard with an adequate number of snake repellers, you reduce the chance of snakes making their home alongside your feathered friends.