I Want My Free E-Book On Egg Laying Chickens

Do Chickens Eat Ants? 

do chickens eat ants and fire ants

Do chickens eat ants? And is that safe?

Chickens are omnivores; when given the chance, they will eat many kinds of small animals and insects, including ants.

Chickens are opportunistic feeders, and ants present themselves as a readily available and protein-rich food source in many environments.

When chickens are allowed to free-range or access outdoor areas, they naturally engage in pecking and scratching behaviors, exploring their surroundings in search of food.

In the process, they encounter ants and other insects, which they readily consume as part of their diet.

In this blog, we will learn whether chickens are entirely okay to eat ants and what you can do about it.

do chickens eat ants

Will Chickens Eat Fire Ants?

Yes, but their safety depends on the situation.

If your chickens see a few stray fire ants, they will likely catch and eat them without issue.

But if your chickens find the anthill, or mound, of fire ants, there could be a problem. Most fire ant mounds are up to a foot and a half tall and about two feet wide.

You’ll most commonly find these in sandy areas, open pastures, or dry urban yards.

These mounds can go five or six feet underground, or sometimes more. These colonies are massive.

Once the ants know they are under attack, the colony will swarm your chickens and cause serious damage to their legs, faces, and even bodies.

A large enough colony of fire ants can injure or even kill your chickens seriously.

The ants have an alkaloid venom that causes a lot of pain, necrosis, swelling, burning, itching, and localized necrosis.

Fire ants are an even more serious issue for young chicks and smaller chicken breeds like bantams.

How to Help Chickens Attacked by Fire Ants

Pick the chickens up and remove them from the area as fast as possible, for you and your chickens’ sake.

Brush the fire ants off with your hand (preferably with gloves) or a leafy branch in a pinch.

Absolutely do not spray the chicken with water because this will make the ants inject even more venom.

Give your chickens Penetran lotion for quick pain relief. Apply it gently to the bite areas.

will chickens eat black ants

What Happens If Chickens Eat Ants?

Ants have a remarkably high protein content, between 7-35% protein.

Insects are a highly sustainable feed source for poultry diets.

Not only is it healthier for the chicken, but it’s also quickly replenished, eco-friendly, and highly sustainable.

Ants also have higher percentages of essential nutrients for chickens, meaning your chickens will have a boost of good vitamins and essential minerals without costing you a cent.

Carpenter ants (large black or brown ants) and sugar ants (small black or brown ants) are best for chickens because they will not cause serious damage if they bite, and they bite far less than fire ants.

Chickens probably won’t totally eradicate your ant issue, but they will make a noticeable dent in the population.

This reduces how many ants make it into your house and garage.

Do Chickens Eat Ants: FAQ

Are Ants Harmful to Chickens?

Ants are generally not harmful to chickens as they are too small to pose a threat and are often ignored by chickens.

What Kind of Bugs Do Chickens Eat?

Chickens are omnivores and will eat various bugs, including beetles, dragonflies, worms, maggots, caterpillars, larvae, pupae, and flies, as part of their natural diet.

Will Fire Ants Kill Chickens?

Fire ants can potentially kill chickens, especially if there are a lot of ants and the chickens are young, small, weak, or totally outnumbered by the ants.

Do Chickens and Ducks Eat Ants?

Chickens and ducks will eat ants if given the opportunity, as they enjoy foraging insects.

Ants are a great source of protein and nutrients for chickens and ducks alike.

Will Chickens Eat Ants in Their Coop?

Chickens may eat ants found in their coop as part of their natural behavior of scavenging for food.

Are Ants in a Chicken Coop Bad?

While a few ants in a chicken coop are generally not harmful, large infestations are problematic, potentially indicating unsanitary conditions or attracting other pests.

Do Chickens Eat Ants: Before You Go…

Chickens do eat ants as part of their natural foraging behavior.

While ants are not typically harmful to chickens in small numbers, excessive ant populations in the coop can indicate sanitation issues, which will require your intervention to find and fix the underlying issue.

Overall, ants can be considered a small but occasional treat in your chickens’ diets.

If you haven’t already, be sure to read our guide to which treats your chickens can and cannot eat.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *