Yesterday evening after school, I was cleaning out the hen house of our Rhode Island Reds. I had placed our birds in the chicken tractor that rests next to the sidewalk, so that they could feed on any vegetation or insects they encountered.
As I began walking up the sidewalk toward the tractor, the chickens began emitting their alarm call, and I noticed that a copperhead was sunning itself on the edge of the sidewalk. Our chickens have not had a good summer predator-wise, from a bear attaching the run to a stray cat stalking the perimeter. For that matter, our birds become alarmed when deer wander into the backyard.
I don't like killing snakes or copperheads. On a number of times since we have lived in our Botetourt County, Virginia home, I have observed copperheads and let them go on their way. They are a beautiful reptile that feeds mostly on mice and insects.
But our grandson Sam had earlier yesterday been playing on the sidewalk, and I just can't risk him being bitten, especially since he is only 26 months old. So I took a shovel and dispatched the copperhead. I felt very sad after doing so, but I felt I had no choice.