Rural Lifestyle

Life in Rural America

Tag: predators

Leaving a Rat Snake in the Chicken House

Texas Rat Snake

This may seem counter-productive, but two rat snakes have been allowed to stay in the chicken house. Usually, if a rat snake (aka chicken snake) is caught in the chicken house, it is dealt with with extreme prejudice.

However, awhile back a good size rat was spotted in the chicken house. For those of you who do not know, one of the worst creatures that can be in the chicken house is a rat. Not only will they eat the chicken feed, but the will kill chickens. Yes, a rat will kill and eat part of a chicken.

When it comes to pullets, which are chickens less than one year old, a rat can easily kill and eat one. Then there is the egg issue. Rats will eat whatever eggs they can.

Simply put, a rat in the chicken house can wreck havoc.

A live trap was put in the chicken house to catch the rat, but it kept getting out of the trap. Poison is out of the question. Old style spring loaded rat traps are also out of the question. What’s the next best thing to do? Let nature take its course.

In other words, let rat snakes do what rat snakes do.

Rat Snake in the Chicken House

Losing Chickens To Predators

Over the past couple of weeks I have lost several chickens to predators. Several of them have gone missing, with just a few feathers in the chicken yard. From the trail of feathers, something drug the chicken from the chicken house.

It is not a chicken hawk, because there is no body. Chicken hawks do not eat the bones.

A trail camera in the chicken yard showed a couple of raccoons and an opossum.

Opossums will not drag a chicken off. It will eat the chicken in the chicken house.

Extreme Dimension EDMR302 New Coyote Call and Decoy

Extreme dimension coyote predator call

In the past 6 – 8 months I have easily lost close to a dozen and a half chickens to a Coyote. Lets say that each chicken lays 200 eggs a year. By losing just 18 chickens the coyote has cost me around 3,600 eggs over the course of a year.

It would be easy to put out some foothold traps, but what about my dogs getting into them? I could not forgive myself if someones pet got into a foothold trap. To take care of the coyote problem and prevent the accidental trapping of pets I ordered an Extreme Dimension EDMR302 remote control call and a Mojo Outdoors Critter Decoy.

I bought both of them off Amazon, total price on December 26, 2015 was $169.80, including shipping.

Extreme Dimension EDMR302

The Extreme Dimension EDMR302 did not come with any instructions, but as it turned out they were not really needed. Put the batteries in the unit, which requires a philips head screw driver, turn it on, then start playing with the remote.

Speaker – Turning the EDMR302 on was easy enough, there is a sliding on/off button on the back. When the unit is on there is a visible green flashing light.

Update on the Chicken Flock

Buff Orpington chick about 6 weeks old

When my wife and I moved to the farm in august 2013, we arrived with 13 hens. The hens were a little over a year and a half old. Those 13 hens were laying around 9 – 10 eggs a day.

With that 9 – 10 eggs a day I tried to estimate how many chickens and eggs my family would need during a long term SHTF situation. In a previous article we got an estimated number of around 75 chickens or so to satisfy our egg and chicken meat production needs.

In the past 3 months something happened that has thrown a serious kink into my chicken flock plans.

Out of the original 13 hens, only 8 remain.

Out of the 24 chicks my wife and I bought in February 2014, only about 12 remain.

In other words, we have lost about 1/2 of our flock in the past few months.

A Fox Appears

Predators Killing My Chickens

Chickens in the chicken yard

Something is killing my chickens. In the past 2 weeks my wife and I have lost 3 chickens. Overall we have lost something like 5 or 6 chickens.

  • 1 Speckled Sussex about a year and a half old
  • 1 Rhode Island Red about a year and a half old
  • 1 Barred rock pullet about 6 – 7 weeks old
  • 1 Australorp pullet about 6 – 7 weeks old
  • 1 Black Jersey Giant about a year and a half old

The Speckled Sussex and Rhode Island Red just disappeared. One day they were there and the next day they were gone. No pile of feathers, no blood, no nothing, just gone.

The Black Jersey Giant was a different story. I found it inside the chicken yard half eaten.

The Barred Rock pullet, all I found was some feathers.

The Australorp pullet, something had killed and gutted it.

Chicken Hawks

My New Adversary The Chicken Snake

chicken snake

My new adversary and I came face-to-face this morning, and it was not a pretty sight.

On the morning of May 27, 2013 I went out to check on the chickens and rabbits. Before the chickens were let out of the coop I walked to the end of the run to make sure it was closed. Took a couple of steps over to the rabbit hutch, looked up, and within arms length on top of the hutch was a chicken snake looking straight at me. The rabbit hutch is 8 feet long, the snake was almost the length of the hutch.

The first thing I did was take a couple of steps backwards, reminded myself that cotton mouths do not climb, then went into the house to get a camera. What good is a story without pictures.

My wife grabbed her camera and started taking pictures.

The snake seemed to be looking for a way to get into the rabbit hutch. The rabbits seem a little big for the snake to eat, but you never know.

Before I could get a rake to get the snake off the hutch, it had retreated to the safety of some brush.

If being face-to-face with a chicken snake was not bad enough, I found a second snake just a few minutes later.

Kevin Felts © 2008 - 2018