Ants are attracted to food, water, and shelters. Chicken coops are really attractive to ants because they have a free source of food and water. If you see the signs of an ant infestation in the chicken coop, you should consider taking the necessary steps to get rid of the ants.
Although ants barely present any real danger to healthy chickens (apart from fire ants), you want to keep the chicken coop as clean and free from pests as much as possible to avoid any potential health issues.
How to get rid of ants in a chicken coop? Getting rid of ants in the chicken coop requires good sanitary conditions. Remove any fresh food that is left uneaten, often check for broken eggs, and if you see any, remove them immediately. Use ant baits outside the chicken coop to eliminate ants and prevent them from coming in.
In nature, chickens will eat all kinds of insects they find in the ground. Ants are no exclusion – chickens eat ants so they will be happy to help in your mission to get rid of these pesky insects.
It is much easier to handle a smaller infestation, so if you notice ants in the chicken coop or any ant trails in the surrounding area, don’t wait up but start taking the appropriate measures.
Keep in mind that some ant insecticides may not safe to use near chickens, as they can be potentially toxic. Still, there are several products you could use, including some natural remedies, and we will go through them in a bit. Our guide will definitely clear your chicken coop from any ant infestation. Keep reading if you are interested. Let’s begin!
Ants In Chicken Coop I Information
Ants might be small and seemingly low damage pests as they are definitely not as harmful to your chicken coop as mites, lice, and rats. You might probably think that because birds (chicken) eat insects, they will take care of the problem themself.
But the truth is, even though in theory chickens eat ants, they might not want to eat them if they are well-fed in general. And depending on the type of ants, this seemingly mild pest infestation could turn out to be a real danger, especially if they start to come in larger numbers.
Why Are There Ants In My Chicken Coop?
Ants are natural scavengers and they are always looking for food and water so the chicken coop is a place where they should be able to find everything they need. They might be attracted to the food that is left uneaten by the chickens. If there are broken eggs in the coop, they can also be the reason why ants are being attracted.
As chickens are quite susceptible to diseases and infections, it is very important to keep the chicken coop clean, neat, and tidy. Always remove any uneaten food, broken eggs, or dead chickens as all of this can quickly attract the ants.
Is It Dangerous To Have Ants In The Chicken Coop?
In general, ants are not dangerous for chickens. If they are not in large numbers, they are more of a nuisance. But a colony left unattended can quickly grow in size and become quite a challenge to deal with.
Some types of ants such as fire ants attack and sting when disturbed and can turn out to be a serious issue. Fire ants can be a problem especially for younger chickens and smaller breeds, as the venom from their sting is painful and can lead to a secondary infection. And if there are a lot of fire ants attacking a chicken, the swelling and neurosis caused by stings can even kill the bird.
Fire ants are a threat to mother hens as well. Stinging from ants can cause them to feel so uncomfortable that they will leave the nest and abandon the eggs. If you have a case of fire ants in your chicken coop, make sure to eliminate the ant colony completely so they do not pose a threat to the chickens.
Types Of Ants That Invade Chicken Coops
There are different types of ants that invade chicken coops. You need to determine the exact species to know how to deal with them and to understand the extent of the threat they pose to your chickens.
Most commonly, you would find fire ants or carpenter ants, but there might be other types of ants in the chicken coop as well.
Fire Ants In Chicken Coop
Fire ants originally come from South America but today are widely spread in the Southern United States. You will recognize them fairly easily as they are red or reddish in color and have a stinger.
Fire ants are famous for being invasive and aggressive. They will attack if they get disturbed. Fire ants sting and they do not actually bite, and their stings can cause unbearable pain for both humans and chickens.
When fire ants attack, they release a venom that causes swelling, severe pain, and localized neurosis. Depending on the number of ants, the venom from the stinging can actually kill a smaller or younger chicken or lead to a secondary infection.
Fire ants build large mounds that can reach up to 2 feet in width and 18 inches in height, with numerous tunnels inside. If left unattended, a fire ants colony can quickly grow in size. Fire ants make their mounds in all sorts of soil, mostly in sunny places, so it is not uncommon to find their mound near the chicken coop.
If you see fire ants attacking your chickens, brush them off as carefully as possible to avoid them stinging even more viciously.
Although chickens occasionally will eat fire ants, if there are too many of them, they might pose a significant threat. In the case of fire ants in the chicken coop, you need to take the appropriate measures to destroy the colony so that it doesn’t grow in size and become a serious hazard to your chickens.
Carpenter Ants In Chicken Coop
Carpenter ants are generally bigger than most ants and are dark brown or black in color. They chew tunnels in rotten or decaying wood. You can easily spot a carpenter ants infestation due to the piles of sawdust material they leave behind.
Carpenter ants are not dangerous for chickens. Actually, as they are bigger in size than normal ants and can provide a tasty treat. The problem is that if there are carpenter ants in the chicken coop, their nest is probably nearby.
Up to 50 000 carpenter ant workers can live in a single colony so timely measures are important to prevent them from developing. Carpenter ants need moist environments for their eggs to survive and they will take advantage of any old, damaged, or rotten wood or tree in your house, garden, or farm.
In case you spot carpenter ants in the chicken coop, you need to locate the nest and eliminate the colony in order to prevent further damage to wooden structures or trees.
Other Types Of Ants in Chicken Coop I Black Garden Ants
Black garden ants are the most common type of ants you will find around your house and garden, so why not in the chicken coop as well?
They are small in size, black in color, and are attracted to all kinds of food, garbage, or even feces. So they are probably venturing into the chicken coop in search of food and if they find any, they will leave a scent trail for the other ants to follow. In a short period, the chicken coop might become infested with black garden ants.
Even though they do not pose danger to chickens, these ants are often carriers of bacteria and diseases such as salmonella and if the birds decide to eat them, some problems like infections might arise.
How To Get Rid Of Ants In A Chicken Coop I Ant Control In Chicken Coop
There are several ways to get rid of ants in a chicken coop. You have to use the most appropriate one depending on the type of ants you are dealing with, or better yet, a combination of methods to ensure you eliminate the problem completely.
Remember, ants are attracted to food so make sure that there is no excess food in the chicken coop. Remove any leftovers, broken eggs, spillage on the floor, and keep the coop clean and tidy.
Get rid of all items that can be used by ants for creating their colony for example wood logs, old hardware, bits, and pieces that do not belong to the chicken coop. Keep the surrounding area clean from the grass because that way you will be able to spot any ant trails and deal with them more effectively.
In case your birds are free-ranged, only use treatments that are labeled safe to use or keep the chickens detained for at least 24 hours after applying the treatment. Due to the toxic nature of ant killers, never use strong liquid insecticides inside the coop.
We will provide recommendations for both ant killers that you can use to kill the ant mounds and natural solutions you can use inside the coop without causing any harm to the chickens.
How To Get Rid Of Fire Ants In Chicken Coop
Getting rid of fire ants requires a treatment that will eliminate the whole colony, including the queen. This is important because if the queen is left alive, she will continue to lay eggs and the colony will soon be restored back to normal. One very effective way to kill fire ants is the Ortho Fire Ant Killer Mound Treatment.
- Kills mounds in 15 minutes
- Kills mounds and the queen
- Keeps new mounds from forming
- kill or your money back
- For use on residential lawns; ornamentals and flower gardens
Locate the fire ants mound and carefully follow the instructions on the label. The product reaches deep into the ants’ mounds and kills the colony in around 12 hours.
In addition, place fire ant baits near any visible ant trails. The fire ants will eat the bait and share it with the rest of the colony. After a while, the whole colony will be poisoned. We recommend using Amdro Granules Fire Ant Bait.
- Kills fire ants
- Fast acting bait-kills the queen fast
- Destroys visible and hidden mounds
- Active Ingredient: Hydramethylnon
- All Amdro products are guaranteed to work or your money back!
The active ingredient is Borax, which is very effective against all types of ants, including the fire ants.
Getting Rid Of Carpenter Ants In Chicken Coop
If you find carpenter ants in the chicken coop, the first thing you need to do is to locate their nest. Look for the piles of sawdust material they leave behind and follow the ant trails. Keep in mind that even if you locate the main nest, there might be satellite nests nearby so make sure to do a thorough check around the area.
Once you have located the colony, use an insecticide such as Delta Dust Insecticide. Apply the dust around the entrance and on the top of the nest.
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You can also place carpenter ant baits around the nest and near their trails. They take longer to work but they are the most effective solution and they can help you get rid of any satellite colonies you might have missed.
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Natural Ant Killers For Chicken Coop
You can try one of these natural remedies to get rid of ants in the chicken coop. All these are effective solutions that are completely safe to use.
Hot Soapy Water
Boil 3 gallons of water and add some liquid soap. Pour this mixture over the ant mound to kill them. It is best if you apply hot soapy water early in the morning or after rain when ants are closer to the surface.
Vinegar and Water Solution
Prepare a mixture of vinegar and water (1:1 ratio). Put this mixture in a spray bottle and apply it on the ants inside the chicken coop.
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Mix 1.5 fl oz of orange essential oil and 3 fl oz of soap, then dilute it in 1 gallon of water and thoroughly drench the ant mound with this mixture.
Sprinkle cinnamon generously around the chicken coop and inside on the floor where ants tend to enter.
DIY Ant Spray
Put four sliced cayenne peppers in boiling water and leave it overnight. Sprinkle powdered cayenne peppers around the ant mound to prevent ants from escaping and pour some of the mixture inside the nest. In addition, pour some of the mixture in a spray bottle and spray any ants that try to escape.
Ants do not like the smell of peppermint. Use diluted peppermint oil to spray the outside and inside the chicken coop in order to deter the ants.
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This powder is made from algae fossils and kills ants that come in contact with it. Dust thoroughly around the ant’s nest and on any ant trails you see. You can also use it inside the chicken coop, just make sure to buy a food-grade Diatomaceous Earth.
Pyrethrins are compounds naturally found in chrysanthemum flowers that are toxic to insects, including ants. You can use it to drench the mound and spray the perimeter.
Spinosad is made from fermented bacteria and is the active ingredient in several organic brands for pest control. Use according to the instructions of the specific product to drench the mound and kill the ants.
Having ants in the chicken coop might seem harmless at the beginning, the chickens will probably be more than happy to peck on them as well. But if you leave them unattended, soon you might have a bigger problem on your hands.
Ant colonies grow quickly in size and they can attack not only your chicken coop but venture into other areas as well. Also, bigger colonies have more complex mounds and satellite nests so it will take a longer time and more effort to deal with them.
Recognizing what type of ants are you dealing with is important as fire ants can be more dangerous to your chickens (and yourself) than other species of ants. While in the case of carpenter ants, you should be more worried about the wooden structures and trees around the chicken coop as they can cause significant damage to them.
It is better to deal with the ant infestation as soon as possible. Follow our advice and use the recommended methods to get rid of ants in the chicken coop. If you are having a severe ant infestation and your chickens are feeling uncomfortable, the best course of action is to call professional ant exterminators. Click on the following link if you are interested, and you will get free quotes from the best ant exterminators in your area.
List of Sources
Controlling Fire Ants in Sensitive Areas, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service
Ants, Illinois Department of Public Health
Protecting Penned Animals From Fire Ants, Texas Cooperative Extension