Ants are attracted to food, water, and shelter, which makes chicken coops a prime target for infestations. While ants are not typically harmful to healthy chickens, it is important to maintain a clean and pest-free environment to avoid any potential health issues.
To eliminate ant infestations in the chicken coop, it is essential to prioritize good sanitary conditions. Remove any uneaten fresh food and frequently check for broken eggs, removing them immediately if any are found. Use ant baits outside the coop to prevent ants from entering and to eliminate any existing ant colonies.
As natural insectivores, chickens can be helpful in controlling ant populations in and around the coop. However, when choosing ant insecticides or remedies, it is crucial to exercise caution to avoid any potential harm to your birds. Luckily, several safe and effective options are available, including natural remedies.
If you’re struggling with ant infestations in your chicken coop, our comprehensive guide can help you identify the type of ants you’re dealing with and select the most appropriate treatment method. Keep reading to discover some helpful tips and tricks for keeping your chickens healthy and happy.
Ants In Chicken Coop I FAQ
Ants may seem like harmless pests in your chicken coop, especially compared to more harmful pests like mites, lice, and rats. However, even though chickens eat insects, they may not necessarily eat ants, especially if they are well-fed. Depending on the type of ants, an infestation could become a real danger, especially if they start to increase in numbers.
Why Are There Ants In My Chicken Coop?
So why are there ants in your chicken coop in the first place? Ants are natural scavengers and are always on the lookout for food and water. Your chicken coop provides a perfect environment for them to find what they need. They might be attracted to uneaten food left by the chickens or broken eggs in the coop.
Keeping your chicken coop clean, neat, and tidy is important for your chicken’s health, as they are susceptible to diseases and infections. It also helps prevent attracting ants. Always remove any uneaten food, broken eggs, or dead chickens as these can quickly attract ants
Is It Dangerous To Have Ants In The Chicken Coop?
While ants are generally not dangerous for chickens, if left unchecked, they can become a challenge to deal with. Some types of ants, such as fire ants, can be a serious issue, as they attack and sting when disturbed. The venom from their sting is painful and can lead to a secondary infection, particularly for younger chickens and smaller breeds. If a chicken is attacked by a large number of fire ants, the swelling and neurosis caused by stings can even result in death.
Fire ants can also be a threat to mother hens. Stings from ants can cause them to feel uncomfortable and abandon their nest and eggs. If you have a fire ant infestation in your chicken coop, it is important to eliminate the colony completely to ensure the safety of your 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 from South America, have become a widespread and invasive species in the Southern United States. These ants are easily recognizable due to their red or reddish coloration and stingers.
When disturbed, they are known for their aggressive behavior and will attack by stinging, causing severe pain and swelling in both humans and chickens. The venom from their sting can cause localized neurosis and, in some cases, even lead to the death of smaller or younger chickens or secondary infections.
Fire ants build large mounds that can quickly grow in size, up to 2 feet in width and 18 inches in height, with multiple tunnels inside. These mounds are commonly found in sunny areas near chicken coops.
If fire ants are attacking your chickens, it is important to brush them off as carefully as possible to avoid further stinging. Although chickens may eat fire ants on occasion, a large infestation can pose a significant threat. In order to prevent the colony from growing and becoming a hazard to your chickens, appropriate measures should be taken to destroy the fire ant colony.
Carpenter Ants In Chicken Coop
Carpenter ants, on the other hand, are generally larger in size than most ants and are dark brown or black in color. They chew tunnels in rotten or decaying wood, leaving behind piles of sawdust that are easy to spot as a sign of infestation. While carpenter ants are not dangerous to chickens and can even provide a tasty treat due to their size, their presence in the chicken coop is cause for concern, as their nest is likely nearby.
A single carpenter ant colony can have up to 50,000 workers, making timely measures important to prevent the infestation from growing. Carpenter ants require moist environments for their eggs to survive and will take advantage of any old, damaged, or rotten wood or tree in your house, garden, or farm.
If you spot carpenter ants in your chicken coop, it is important to locate and eliminate the nest to prevent further damage to wooden structures or trees.
Other Types Of Ants in Chicken Coop I Black Garden Ants
Black garden ants are a common sight around homes and gardens, and they can easily find their way into a chicken coop in search of food, including leftover chicken feed or feces. They are small, black, and can quickly establish a colony within the coop.
Although black garden ants are not known to be harmful to chickens directly, they are often carriers of bacteria and diseases, such as salmonella, which can cause health issues for the birds if ingested. It is important to control the ant population in the chicken coop to prevent the spread of diseases and to maintain a healthy living environment for the chickens.
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, or 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
- Guaranteed 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 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 Dust Insecticide 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 to the ants inside the chicken coop.
Orange Oil & Soap
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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 mixtures inside the nest. In addition, pour some of the mixtures into 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.
Related: How to Get Rid of Ants | Safe and Effective Methods
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