Skip to Content

Can Chickens Eat Snakes – Is It Safe?

Chickens are known as opportunistic feeders, which means they will come across a wide array of potential food sources during their foraging and will partake in the variety available to them at that time. This food includes various plants, grains, insects, and yes, even snakes. 

Whether a chicken will eat a snake depends on the size of the snake and the chicken. A recently hatched snake can become a quick meal for an adult chicken, as can snakes that don’t get very big.

Close up of garden snake

Snakes are usually not a regular food source for chickens, but if a chicken comes across a smaller snake, it becomes fair game. On the flip side, however, adult snakes can eat the chicken’s eggs, as well as baby chicks. Larger snakes may even go after adult chickens. Another thing to consider is the venom of poisonous snakes. Chickens are not immune to snake venom, and can be killed if bit by a deadly snake. 

Is It Safe For Chickens To Eat Snakes, Should Your Chicken Have It?

Snakes are not a regular part of a chicken’s diet, and if they encounter one it is usually by happenstance. If a small, non-venomous snake makes its way into the chicken coop and the chickens eat it, you shouldn’t notice any ill effects to your flock. 

Snakes are filled with protein and it is safe for chickens to eat them. However, you shouldn’t encourage snakes to visit the coop, since they are generally the predator and chickens are the prey. Tossing a dead snake into the coop for your birds to nibble on one typically won’t cause any issues.

If you’re concerned about your chicken’s protein intake, consider supplementing their diet with protein-filled chicken snacks, such as grubs, mealworms, or cooked meat.

What To Look Out For When Feeding Chicken With Snake?

Magnifying glass on laptop keyboard

Consuming a dead snake usually won’t cause any issues with your chickens. A live snake, however, can pose a serious risk to your flock. Not only will they still they chicken’s eggs, but they can also prey on chicks. Larger snakes can even attack and kill adult chickens. 

If the chickens are consuming snakes that are finding their way into the path of your birds, you should put a stop to it as soon as possible. This includes raising the coop off the ground and blocking holes in the chicken coop.

Can Chickens Eat Snake Skin?

Snake skin shedding

Most people are aware that snakes molt, shedding their skin for anew and leaving the old skin behind. It isn’t uncommon to see these remnants of a snake’s old skin in areas where snakes frequent. 

Snakes regularly shed their skin, leaving behind a dry and somewhat translucent skin. If your chickens encounter the snake skin, they may very well consume it. The good news is that eating the snake skin won’t harm your chickens. 

Keep in mind, however, that if you see snake skin in or near your chicken coop, you may have a snake problem. Keep a watchful eye out for other signs of snakes, since these slithering creatures can pose a risk to your flock.

Can Chickens Eat Poisonous Snakes?

Red poisonous snake

Snakes are venomous, not poisonous. It is thought that poison is harmful if ingested and venom is harmful if injected. However, there isn’t much research on whether a poisonous snake can cause harm to chickens. 

It’s possible for a chicken to eat a poisonous snake, but since they contain venom, it’s best to keep these snakes away from your flock. This includes dead poisonous snakes as well. If you do want to feed a dead venomous snake to your birds, consider feeding only the body without the head and neck.

The venom sack of most venomous snakes sits behind the head and close to the neck. Keep this in mind if you decide to let your chickens snack on a venomous snake.

Can Chickens Eat Dead Snakes?

Dead snake on pavement

It is not uncommon for people raising chickens to supplement their commercial chicken feed with other food sources, including leftover vegetables and fruits and even insects. But can you give your chickens a dead snake?

Chickens can eat a dead snake, and they actually provide the bird with some beneficial nutrients, such as protein. That doesn’t mean you should try to attract snakes to your coop. But if you kill one in your yard, you can toss it in for your chickens to eat.

Can Chickens Eat Baby/Small Snakes?

Baby snake eggs

Baby and small snakes have a wide array of predators, including domesticated cats and hawks. But can chickens eat these smaller reptiles? 

Chickens can and will eat baby snakes, as well as smaller snake species. Chickens are typically not picky eaters and will consume a wide array of potential food sources that cross their path. This includes small snakes and young hatchlings. 

Can Chickens Eat Garter Snakes?

Garter snake looking for prey

Garter snakes are one of the most commonly found snake species in North America. In fact, you may have come across one before when enjoying the great outdoors. These snakes are not a danger to humans, but do they pose a risk to your chickens?

Chickens can eat garter snakes, and this species of snake is typically not a major threat to flocks. Garter snakes are usually not aggressive and they are not venomous. Larger garter snakes can, however, try to feed on chickens and may even still eggs.

If you notice garter snakes in the area and see one or more of your chickens have a wet head, this is a sign that a garter snake tried to consume the bird. 

Can Chickens Eat Rattlesnakes?

Rattlesnake looking up

Rattlesnakes have few predators, and the chicken isn’t listed as one. That’s not to say that a chicken cannot kill a rattlesnake, but it is more than likely that this venomous snake would win in a fight against the chicken.

While it is possible for chickens to eat rattlesnakes, it is not very likely. In most cases, a rattlesnake will find its way into a coop looking for eggs or chicks. They will, however, also attack an adult chicken if it gets in the snake’s way. 

A rooster can help protect the flock from rattlesnakes, but it is best to take the necessary precautions to prevent these venomous snakes from gaining access to the chickens in the first place.  

Can Chickens Eat Rat Snakes?

Rat snake looking up

Rat snakes are also known as chicken snakes since they are often seen hanging around chicken coops. These snakes are not looking for chickens, however, and are more attracted to the mice and rats that are often a problem in coops. 

Chickens can eat rat snakes. As with other snakes, the issue with chickens eating snakes isn’t consuming the snake’s meat or flesh. It is the fact that having snakes in or near a coop isn’t a good thing, since they can prey on chickens of all ages, as well as their eggs.

This article and its contents are owned by Pentagon Pets and was first published on August 8, 2022..

While it may seem like a good thing to have rat snakes around since they do feed on mice and rats, which cause a slew of issues in your chicken coop, the rat snakes themselves pose a serious problem. Once they have consumed all the rodents, they will turn their sights onto chicken eggs.