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Hello all, I raise my chickens in a suburban environment, I have almost 1/4 of an acre in downtown Novato, CA area, and though I have always had field rats, they are getting excessive. They eat up any misc chicken feed scattered on the ground. I have considered putting up an owl house, but owls can kill chickens as well. Or can they. I dont breed because Im not allowed to have a rooster- so I buy 5 month old pullets. Any suggestions? Perhaps there is a small owl I could try and attract? I dont have a cats, but there are plenty of feral cats in the neighborhood that come around. Still does not take care of the rats. Help!
 

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The only way to prevent them access to the feed is to completely close the coop and run in with hardware cloth.

A good dog will help keep them away too but chances are they are on the move after dark.

I don't know if ag rodent bait is allowed in your area but I found it to be very effective and safer than the other stuff you can buy in grocery stores.
 

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Right, what Robin said. but just one point to add, if you go with rodent bait, make sure it's not anywhere near the chickens. They will eat it too.
 

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I had a bad rat problem until the snakes showed up. Here in Florida, the Black Indigo did a great job and I have a Coachwhip that hangs out too. Poisons will help. If you use poisons, you can buy a box to put the poison in so that the rats can get into the poison but other animals can't get to it....and you can make you own out of PVC pipes. I used two different flavors of poison. Nothing else I tried made a difference. Down here, if you have chickens, you will have rats too.
 

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I used to dabble in breeding snakes. Time and priorities have shifted me away from that pursuit.

If you often deal with snakes buy a used gold club hack off the club end. Get a 3/8th or 5/16 rod make an L with about a 6" lower part of l and insert into club. Epoxy and there you have it a low cost durable snake stick. I still have mine from 89.
 

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Here I haven't had to so much. So far it's all been garter snakes, four footers for the most part. I've got a hollow tube that I let them crawl partially in then pick them up and carry them off.

I had one in TN, big bugger. I was on the tractor bush hogging when I realized one of my dogs was raising cane right at the house foundation. I shut down the bush hog and could hear growling. When I got off the tractor and approached the house there is this big ol' snake. The snake was the one growling.

I still don't know what it was.
 

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As a kid I'd scare my mum with bull snakes as they'd act like rattle snakes. Plus as kids we'd wear ring snakes as jewelry. That was Minnesota. Now in New Hampster it's just gardener snakes. Also the shy timber rattler.
 

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Maybe someone here will know what this was. I was doing stuff in the Guinea coop when I came out the birds were all lined up outside of their pen talking quietly. That is an absolute tell that I should pay close attention.

When I stepped forward I saw this massive black and yellow snake. It was longer than my hoe handle and the body was as big around as my arm. Hubs called it a chicken snake. OK, that thing's big enough to swallow a coyote.

I've gone looking but have never found anything like it anywhere.
 

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Maybe someone here will know what this was. I was doing stuff in the Guinea coop when I came out the birds were all lined up outside of their pen talking quietly. That is an absolute tell that I should pay close attention.

When I stepped forward I saw this massive black and yellow snake. It was longer than my hoe handle and the body was as big around as my arm. Hubs called it a chicken snake. OK, that thing's big enough to swallow a coyote.

I've gone looking but have never found anything like it anywhere.
Look up yellow rat snake. See if it matches.
 

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Nope, that's not it. This was in TN, according to one website they are not in that area.

I wish I had taken a pic of it.
 

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How long is that one?
 

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It definitely was not venomous. The body was thicker still and it was more yellow.

Bob said chicken snake. The only chicken snake I know are black snakes.
Maybe a fat variant of the above. That's the closest thing I can think of to fit your description. Corn snakes can have varying shades.
My daughter loves snakes and has 2 dekays brown snakes as pets. She is on the spectrum and when she's focused on snakes we look at a lot of videos or pictures lol
My son loves them too so he likes to watching herping vids on youtube a lot.
 

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Good example of how big the body was, use your forearm. Not hubs since his would be too big. It was very heavy when I moved it out of the Guinea pen. It was large enough to easily consume one of my full grown Guineas.
 
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