Snakes eating chicken

Anyone opinions on this ?

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Tahliaaa

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I have been feeding my snakes (diamond python, coastal carpet and spotted python) chicken wings legs necks for over a year now. They never refuse. They shed every month and have grown rapidly.
 

Sdaji

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I've actually found they grow better (faster) on chicken drumsticks than rats. They digest the feeds more quickly too. The first feed or two can come out a bit sloppy which puts some keepers off, but within a few feeds they seem to digest them nicely. Like many people I used to assume that all the micronutrients in the organs were important and they needed to eat entire animals, but empirical evidence from the great laboratory of the real world has shown me otherwise. I still primarily use rodents for small snakes since it's a hassle to get calcium into them (I have run experiments using meat and rodent tails for smaller snakes but while the results are good and it's cheaper, it's far more hassle than it's worth).
 

Yellowtail

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Humans could survive exclusively on chicken drumsticks (or Maccas) and probably grow faster too but how healthy is it long term. Has anyone raised a snake on this diet for it's entire adult life without any supplements?
I don't see the point when you can buy large rats for $5 (less than $100 a year for an adult python) or if you have a large collection breed them yourself. Are drumsticks with the equivalent weight of meat any cheaper?
 

Tahliaaa

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Humans could survive exclusively on chicken drumsticks (or Maccas) and probably grow faster too but how healthy is it long term. Has anyone raised a snake on this diet for it's entire adult life without any supplements?
I don't see the point when you can buy large rats for $5 (less than $100 a year for an adult python) or if you have a large collection breed them yourself. Are drumsticks with the equivalent weight of meat any cheaper?
I buy a pack of chicken wings contained around 20 wings for $6
 

Nero Egernia

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I feed my pythons almost exclusively on bird type prey (chicken and quail), as that's what I breed. Although they will get the occasional rat or mouse thrown into the mix. All my pythons appear to be healthy with a gorgeous iridescent sheen to their skins. Their feces is relatively normal and not sloppy at all. I find they only tend to do loose stools when you're first putting them on to birds after being on a strict diet of mammals. It's the same for humans, in a way. We tend to have looser stools when trying new foods too.
 

Sdaji

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Humans could survive exclusively on chicken drumsticks (or Maccas) and probably grow faster too but how healthy is it long term. Has anyone raised a snake on this diet for it's entire adult life without any supplements?
I don't see the point when you can buy large rats for $5 (less than $100 a year for an adult python) or if you have a large collection breed them yourself. Are drumsticks with the equivalent weight of meat any cheaper?

As long as the human was eating the bone including the marrow, they actually might even do okay on the diet. Difficult to say. I'd say on an exclusive diet of McDonald's they'd have health issues. I'm sure they wouldn't grow faster on it though.

It's a valid point to say we don't really know what would happen if you tried to keep a snake for 20 years on nothing but drumsticks, by virtue of the fact that we don't have sufficient empirical evidence either way. The empirical evidence we do have suggests that the diet is completely fine. I have raised snakes from their first feeds to adults on a diet of nothing but skin, bone and muscle (not chicken legs but the equivalent in other animals) and I was surprised at how well they did. There are cases of people keeping adults long term (around 10 years) on nothing but chicken bone/skin/meat, and I've never heard of any problems. Together, the evidence suggests to me that if anything the diet is actually superior, but definitely it's not conclusive. At some point I'll raise some snakes from hatchlings/newborns to adults on that diet exclusively and see how they go. Initially I only did the experiment for about 2 years (old enough for them to mature and breed), and then due to personal reasons I stopped. I had only expected the trial to last until I could detect some form of issue, which I expected to see within a few months.

Just as a lack of evidence should prevent people at this stage saying it is a superior diet, it should prevent you from claiming it isn't. If we stuck to stubbornly doing the same things we've always done and never try anything new we will never advance. If we'd had this attitude before we'd never have tried making clothes or building shelters or using fire. Sure, at this stage it's still an experiment and anyone trying it should understand what they're doing and what they should be looking for.
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Probably need 20 chicken wings to have as much meat as a big rat?

Weight for weight, chicken wings have far more meat than rats. If you look at the amount of meat on whole rats (or lizards or sparrows or frogs or cats), it's very low. There's a lot of body fluids of little nutritional value, there is also a significant volume of literal $#!t in the guts which the snake needs to detoxify. If you are sufficiently curious, gut a rat. Remove the skin, remove the contents of the abdomen and thorax, look at what's left (basically the skeleton with the muscle) and you'll probably be surprised at how little is left. A chicken wing doesn't have intestines, coelomic fluid, etc. We buy it to eat because it's the good bit. It's literally like the bit of the rat you'd have left if you removed the fur and bits that aren't bone and meat, so obviously it has more meat.
 

Licespray

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Never tied chicken wings or legs, my woma (Ella) is still a bit small for that.

But I don’t see why not? There’s a good chunk of bone in those bits, so there is calcium still. I give Ella a mix of rats, quail, and some nice when I can’t get the right size rats locally. A local place has frozen day old chickens. Not the same as wing or leg but I’ll probably get those when she’s a bit bigger. Adult mice are a decent mouthful at the moment. Keep it mixed up, should be decent?

I see Sparrows mentioned above - we get plenty of them around town.. is this a viable option if they can be trapped and humanely dispatched or would they need to be trapped then treated for parasites (internal and external) first? Or would freezing solve that?
 

Sdaji

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Never tied chicken wings or legs, my woma (Ella) is still a bit small for that.

But I don’t see why not? There’s a good chunk of bone in those bits, so there is calcium still. I give Ella a mix of rats, quail, and some nice when I can’t get the right size rats locally. A local place has frozen day old chickens. Not the same as wing or leg but I’ll probably get those when she’s a bit bigger. Adult mice are a decent mouthful at the moment. Keep it mixed up, should be decent?

I see Sparrows mentioned above - we get plenty of them around town.. is this a viable option if they can be trapped and humanely dispatched or would they need to be trapped then treated for parasites (internal and external) first? Or would freezing solve that?

Freezing will kill parasites. Generally speaking it will kill viruses (viruses are not chemically stable). It's not likely to be relevant but there is some bacteria which freezing won't eliminate. Freezing won't destroy poisons. Generally speaking, feeding wild animals is safe as long as you freeze them first and use some common sense. Don't blame me if your common sense is lacking and you feed of a thawed animal full of poison etc ;) Back in the day, 20+ years ago, I routinely fed my pythons things like sparrows, pigeons and roadkill possums, always frozen first, never any problems. These days I'm more precious but you shouldn't have any problems, and I'd certainly trust wild animals more than the average commerial feed rat from a pet shop; I started a business farming feed rodents because I couldn't find a reliable supply of acceptable quality rodents.
 

CF Constrictor

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I went to 2 local pet shops recently to get rats for my babies , only to find the first had freezer issues , so out of stock . The second only had juvenile rats or mice, so after reading this thread i went to the butcher and baught 2 drumsticks and 1 wing ( as i have 2 adult coastals and a 2 year old Bredli ) just to see if they would take them. They have all been baught up on mainly rats with the occasional quail or rabbit thrown in for the adults. My oldest (biggest) coastal is usualy a bit fussy with his food , often refusing to take birds, but not my other adult ,who i thaught, would probably eat anything, as he has never refused a meal before. To my surprise the fussy one took it straight away but the other adult (who eats everything the other 2 refuse) was not interested at all. I even left a drumstick in his enclosure with him for about an hour, no go , so big boy got both drumsticks and my little Bredli , although a bit hesitant at first took the wing no problem. From now on i will offer them chicken peices every now and then as im sure a bit of variety in there diet wouldnt hurt.
 

meako

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FIVE $ for a Large rat !!!
Jeez Im paying 40 for xl jumbos..AND have to travel an hour 20 to get them.
I can get them in Wollongong for closer to $12 ea...but then its a solid 9hr round trip...Ill be trying chicken again or if I can get a small rabbit ....thetes plenty of ferals hopping around here and i could trap one. ....but as has been mentioned...what was it eating beforehand.?
 

Ketya

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There's lots of nutrients in organs that your snake'll need though. Things like Vit A from the liver. If they don't eat those organs, they'll end up with nutritional deficiencies over time.
 

Sdaji

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There's lots of nutrients in organs that your snake'll need though. Things like Vit A from the liver. If they don't eat those organs, they'll end up with nutritional deficiencies over time.

I used to believe that was probably true, then I tried raising snakes on a diet of nothing but skin, muscle and bone. I expected to see problems and I was going to terminate the project at the first sign of any issue. To my surprise they thrived and grew into healthy adults (I started from hatching and birth).
 

Russinka

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I'm actually really excited to find this thread, the feeding of rodents is what's held me back from snake ownership, after an incident involving a heavily pregnant rat running through an industrial fan above where I was working a few years back, I just can't deal. Pretty much hurl at the smell of them, I've tried working through it but honestly, keeping my lunch down around them is about as good as it's probably going to get. It didn't seem fair or right to buy an animal I'd dread feeding for the next 20 odd years. I'd been looking at BHP's because peeps seem to feed them chickens/quail and once it got large enough I'd have no issue with rabbits and stuff.
It's possible to buy chicken livers/hearts, wonder if slipping them under the skin would provide enough organ meat if that's a concern long term.
 

Sdaji

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I'm actually really excited to find this thread, the feeding of rodents is what's held me back from snake ownership, after an incident involving a heavily pregnant rat running through an industrial fan above where I was working a few years back, I just can't deal. Pretty much hurl at the smell of them, I've tried working through it but honestly, keeping my lunch down around them is about as good as it's probably going to get. It didn't seem fair or right to buy an animal I'd dread feeding for the next 20 odd years. I'd been looking at BHP's because peeps seem to feed them chickens/quail and once it got large enough I'd have no issue with rabbits and stuff.
It's possible to buy chicken livers/hearts, wonder if slipping them under the skin would provide enough organ meat if that's a concern long term.

Hearts are just muscle and fat anyway. A small amount of liver wouldn't hurt, but it's probably not going to make any difference either way.
 

Shire pythons

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I have tried various types of chicken pieces with no success with my carpets or blackheads. Some showed some interest but thats about it . I was suprised my blackheads didnt have a go ! I might try again in summer.
 

CF Constrictor

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If one was to use chicken pieces as a dietery supliment for say carpet pythons , what pieces would provide the most nutritional benifit to the animal ? For example what would have the most calcium and protein , which would have the most fat ? As its only an occasional supliment , dose it matter anyway ? All opinions welcome.
 

Sdaji

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If one was to use chicken pieces as a dietery supliment for say carpet pythons , what pieces would provide the most nutritional benifit to the animal ? For example what would have the most calcium and protein , which would have the most fat ? As its only an occasional supliment , dose it matter anyway ? All opinions welcome.

As long as there's any bone it doesn't matter how much; snakes get way more calcium than they need. You could give some meals with no calcium ie no bones (no, if it's just an occasional supplement it doesn't matter). I've done this for many consecutive feeds in some cases, never with any noticeable problem.

Protein comes primarily from the muscle (meat) and partly from the marrow (inside bones) and skin.

Fatty cuts of meat have more fat, skin has more fat than meat, marrow also contains fat.

Herpers and western people are obsessed with fat in a stupid way, and I've noticed the fat myths creeping into Asia over the last 3 years or so, which has coincided with a dramatic increase in the proportion of people becoming overweight. You don't get fat because you eat too much fat, you get fat because you eat too many calories. As an example, cows get big and fat, they're loaded with fat, you can see it in beef. Beef fat is a thing. Cows eat basically nothing but grass which is pretty much fat free. As another example, when I was first in Thailand about 6 years ago all the women were stick thin and I found it amusing to see them gobbling down meals with big chunks of pig fat, while all the fat western women back in Australia were paranoid about touching fat. Over the last few years, there have been three big changes I've seen: (1) fat shaming went from being completely normal and very common to being taboo like it is in the west, (2) western 'don't eat fat' myths came in, and (3) Fat people, particularly women, went from being nowhere to being everywhere. Don't be scared of fat, especially in something like snakes. As long as you (or a snake) gets all the macro and micro nutrients it needs, it doesn't particularly matter where the rest of them come from.

I love to analyse things to pieces because I'm a nerd, but really, the bottom line is that if you care for the sake of caring about the snake, just feed them rats and mice. If you're using chicken because you're cheap, just use whatever cut of chicken is convenient.

I've also fed snakes various meat including beef, roadkill of all sorts, etc etc. It's a good idea to avoid anything you're not sure about, and freeze anything which potentially has parasites.
 

Tahliaaa

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its been another year feeding my snakes chicken. they are massive and passed all their vet checks. now that they are so big I have started giving them XL rats again. thanks for all your opinions, good read.
 
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