Sunday, August 18, 2013


When I opened the nest boxes to gather eggs at Henabago 3 this afternoon I found a surprise awaiting me.

In the far left box, a shiny black . . .
. . .rat snake was coiled.

I got Charlie's snake catcher and he met me at the henabago.  The snake escaped as Charlie was walking with it to the "donkey" cart and it headed straight back to the chickens and their eggs.  
Charlie caught it again and we set off to a distant part of the farm with the snake along for the ride.  As you might notice, rat snakes are constrictors and this one was wrapping itself around the pole in an effort to get away.

We hadn't gone far when the snake's efforts to free itself worked & it dropped to the ground, trying to pretend it was dead so we'd ignore it.  The chickens were not only unperturbed by the snake in their midst, but they all ran down to stand at the edge of their fenced pasture to watch Charlie capture it. Who knew we were a spectator sport for chickens!
Here we go!  Charlie has got the snake in a tighter grip.  It seems to be getting tired.
This time the snake dangled at the end of the pole where it was held firmly in a rope noose.  Charlie commented on how heavy it was as he held it out of the cart and up in the air so it wouldn't scrape on the ground and be injured.  

Finally we reached our destination and the snake was released.  It slowly glided into some nearby underbrush.  
 Rat snakes are beneficial critters on a farm as they consume a lot of small rodents.  Unfortunately, they also have a taste for eggs and baby chicks so we do try to keep them out of the chickens' spaces.  This one was between 5 and 6 feet long.  They can grow to 8 feet in length. This is the second time in the past 10 days we've found a snake dining on eggs.  The farm has plenty of mice for them to eat and it would be helpful if they do so!.

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