Leaving a Rat Snake in the Chicken House

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.

Texas Rat Snake

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

With a rat snake I know where it stand (or slithers). It typically will not bother full grown chickens, nor will it eat the chicken feed.  This puts the snake a step above the rat.

Rat snake in the chicken house

  • Rats eat eggs, chicks and feed.
  • Rat snakes eat chicks and eggs, along with rats and mice.

Since none of my chicks are small enough for a rat snake to eat, losing a chick is no concern. So now we are down to just eggs, rats, along with a few mice.

By eating the rats and mice, the rt snakes are disposing of pests which are doing more harm than good.  Not only do rats kill and eat, they also breed like rats and spread disease.  Since rats figure out they have a food source and safety, they will set up home and start reproducing.

Will the snakes reproduce?  Sure they will.  However, if a chicken sees a baby snake, the chicken will eat it.  So the chickens will hopefully help keep the snake population under control.

Rat Snake in Tractor Barn

If nothing else, when I am certain the rats and mice have been dealt with, the rat snakes can be relocated to the tractor barn.

Inside the tractor barn is a wood pile rodents and bugs like to make their homes in. Also, the rats have gotten on the tractor and chewed some of the wires up.

Having a rat snake in the tractor barn could be of great benefit.  The shelter of the tractor barn makes a prefect breeding habitat for the rats, and only rarely do I see a rat snake in there.  Over the years I have seen a rat snake in the tractor barn just a handful or times.

What I am going to do:

  • Check the chicken house at night.  Rodents tend to be more active at night.
  • Let the snakes stay in the chicken house for a few more days.
  • Maybe relocate one to the tractor barn.

I am debating on whether to leave one of the snakes in the chicken house full time.