How To Keep Snakes Out Of The Chicken House

I hate snakes. Big or small – snakes  really freak me out. Maybe I have too much monkey DNA in me or something, because snakes are the only creature that I do encounter regularly here on the farm that I’m afraid of. I know I’m in good company because even Indiana Jones has a bad case of ophidiophobia.
Back when I used to keep our chickens in a house with a dirt floor, during the summer I would encounter big snakes living under the bedding and hiding in the corners. Not every day – but often enough to keep me on my guard.

Use to be that old-time farmers would catch snakes just so they could release them in the chicken coop. Snakes are hell on rodents but I think I’d rather have the rats.

A chicken coop with a solid floor or on a block foundation will discourage snakes Snakes probably won’t slither up a ramp into a coop with heavy “chicken traffic”under normal circumstances unless it’s a really “snaky” year. But the truth is, that if a serpent is determined, it will go where it wants to.
Now that my chicken house is up off the ground I haven’t had a snake in it yet.

Chicken House On Above Ground Skids

Chicken House On Above Ground Skids

One way to discourage snakes is with good old-fashioned mothballs. Place the mothballs in a capped length of PVC pipe with drilled holes. Put the capped pipe around the perimeter of a building or in an open area. Using mothballs as a snake repellent is not environmentally friendly and may actually be a violation of some kind of federal regulation. But screw Uncle Sam and all the Tree Huggers.  I do it anyway.
The active ingredient in mothballs is naphthalene and the last I checked naphthalene is used by the US Army as a snake repellent.
But be aware that naphthalene is a very toxic substance and is a known carcinogenic. Exercise extreme caution when using mothballs around small children, livestock and pets. Don’t let the chickens peck at it. Mothballs are nasty and you’ll have a medical emergency if mothballs are ingested. There is no antidote for mothball poisoning.

A Box Of Mothballs

Mothballs Keep Snakes Away

It doesn’t take a lot of mothballs to get the job done. One box of  mothballs is enough for three 8′ filled pipes. Place the pipes along the ground or in the area that you don’t want the snakes to cross or enter into. They are repelled by the odor so you’ll have to keep the mothballs semi-fresh until the snakes find somewhere else to go.
If you don’t want to use mothballs some people have pretty good luck with turpentine soaked rags. Once again it’s the smell of the turpentine that keeps the snakes at bay.There are commercial snake repellents that also claim to work. They are much safer than mothballs.

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