We were doing the chores late last night. We have two calves that we are bottle feeding until they attach fully to the nurse cow. After the bottle feeding we stopped by to get the eggs. There were hens nesting in each of the 4 egg nests. Continuing our conversation on how the calves did not want the bottle – but the nurse cow did – my 8 year old daughter and I reached under each hen to gently relieve her of any eggs. At the third nest – “Yuck – a broken egg”, I said as my hand came back with what would have been breakfast dripping from it.
At the last egg nest something didn’t look right. In the light of the flashlight something was moving around the base of the hen. Instantly my hand recoiled from its extended position. “Look! Around that hen…. There’s a snake!”. We ran to the barn to get a shovel, and I grabbed some long handle tree loppers. By the time we ran back to the coop, the snake had almost left the box. With the loppers I pinched the tail, swung the snake out onto the ground, and covered it with my foot. It was soon dispatched.
This morning I went out to take a photo of the snake. Back at the coop, I took a photo (the one above), and then opened the door of the coop to throw the hens some scratch. Across the door slithered another snake. I grabbed it by the tail and flung it out on the road. It started to head for the garden patch. The only tool I had in the coop to pin it with was 4 inch putty knife that I normally use to clean out the egg nests.
While not venomous these egg-eating snakes are very aggressive, and I do not want them around my children. Because of their diet, their mouths are pits of infection. With its tail pinned, the snake tried several times to bite me. I covered its head with my shoe. After another dispatch I laid the snake beside the first one.
The evening snake is about 3 feet long, the morning snake around 4 feet long.
I think I’ll start keeping a shovel in the chicken coop.