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Barnyard Justice June 18, 2007

Posted by Laura in Farm.

Since we moved out to the country, we’ve had opportunities to see the circle of life up close. Our children understand the food chain and predator/prey relationships pretty well. Most of the time, it seems there is no justice for the freeloading predators that take a toll on our animals. This time, however, was different.

Raising chickens is always interesting. They are in some ways very simple-minded creatures, yet also a bit creative in their abilities to frustrate us. We built nice nesting boxes for them- they lay eggs on top of the spare fridge, in the cats’ house, on the rocking chairs, and in a corner of the barn.

On Saturday, I walked into the barn and found this.


You can’t see the head in the picture, but this chicken snake has coiled itself around an egg to hold it and is beginning to swallow it whole. In addition to eggs, they like to dine on chicks and we are short two crested Polish cuties.
I ran back up to the house to tell The Protector that another predator was on-site (he recently had to put down a coyote that had come for goat-burgers). He grabbed his pistol and made that the last egg this snake stole.


We were amazed at how long the snake was. At 5 feet, he had probably been dining here for quite some time.

We decided that turn-about was fair play and let the chickens get their revenge. Guido (the supposedly snake-eating guinea) wanted no part of it, but the others were happy to oblige.

We were struck again that humans have domesticated chickens to the point that they have very few useful instincts left. They SHOULD have been afraid of the still writhing (but headless) chicken snake, but instead they crowded around to watch and peck it. No wonder they are regularly picked off by predators.

Ah, it felt good to tip the scales in our direction for once!



1. Becky - June 18, 2007

I have always believed that the only GOOD snake is a DEAD snake. I know that there are others who say that some snakes are good because they eat rats and mice………Duh, that is what mouse traps are for.

That looks a lot like the snake I ran over on Saturday. He was about 4 – 4 1/2 feet long. It was just meandering across our dirt road and looked like he just wanted me to run over him. I was more than happy to oblige. Then, just to be sure, I saw my neighbor with a rifle and he was only to happy to use the snake for target practice.
That’s one snake that won’t scare me ever again.

With the drought this year, we seem to be seeing more snakes looking for water.

2. amazinggrazefarm - June 19, 2007

What sort of snake is this one you found… Any idea?

3. Joe - June 19, 2007

I wish I was better at identifying snakes at a glance. Thankfully, I haven’t had to develop that skill! This one did look familiar; I believe it was a common chicken snake. Oh how it lived up to its name on its last day slithering on this earth.

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