ants on broody hen?

bock

Songster
11 Years
Oct 10, 2008
2,281
20
191
Northern CA
I have a Bantam Cochin that has been broody for 8 days. Yesterday I got back from vacation and candled her eggs (all of them are fertile
), but I noticed several little black ants crawling in her nest, on the eggs, and on her back!
. I am really concerned that they will hurt her and her chicks, when they hatch. Is there anyway to kill the ants without poisoning my hen and killing the growing embryos? I have lice powder stuff for chickens, dogs, and garden plants, but I have never used it.
Thanks!
 

ranchhand

Rest in Peace 1956-2011
11 Years
Aug 25, 2008
13,295
62
291
SC
Honestly? I don't know the correct and safe answer.

In that situation, I guess I would lightly dust the hen fast, change the bedding under and around the eggs and stop the ants from getting back in from outside the nest box. Then I'd cross my fingers and hope I'd not done any damage. I think the main thing is to stop the ants from getting in.

Best of luck to you.
 

Oven Ready

Songster
9 Years
May 9, 2010
517
14
121
Thailand
Can you buy anti-ant chalk where you are?

We have the same problem here, ants get everywhere.

If you can get the chalk, draw a good thick ring round your nest box. You might need to think 'outside the (nest) box' to manage to make sure that you really do draw a complete line around her.

The ants will be nesting somewhere else and will need to cross the powder line to get home - once they step on the line it's ant-heaven for them and any coming from the ants nest will be reluctant to cross the line, but if they do it's tiny ant-angel wings for them too.

If you get a sharp knife, like a Stanley Knife, you can scrape the chalk into a powder and give her a light dusting.

I've never noticed any ill effects on our clutches by doing this.
 

bock

Songster
11 Years
Oct 10, 2008
2,281
20
191
Northern CA
I will look for some anti-ant chalk, but the problem is she isn't really in a nest box. She laid her eggs in the corner, and I didn't notice until she started sitting.
.So she has a wall on too of her sides and she is facing the inside of the coop. I am thinking about buying a small bag of shavings and moving her into a large dog cage I have.
 

Oven Ready

Songster
9 Years
May 9, 2010
517
14
121
Thailand
The position should be OK - draw a semi-circle round her front and where it touches the bottom of the walls draw up the wall on both sides until it meets in the very corner. If you think they are coming in down the joints (sides or floor) stuff some tissues covered in powdered chalk in the holes. You can mix the powdered into cream with water and soak the tissues in it - when it dries out all surfaces of the tissues will be chalky.

I don't know what kind of ants you get there, we have about 15 different species I think, some are just annoying and make the chickens irritated; others can easily kill and drag away a new born chick (en masse obviously), others just clean up any dropped food and don't bother anyone.

Our cat bumped into a nest of big red ants up a tree and was severely attacked, leaving him blind for a week and all his naked skin (eyelids, ears, nose, butt and paws) were swollen for days.
 

bock

Songster
11 Years
Oct 10, 2008
2,281
20
191
Northern CA
Thanks Ovenready!
I think they are just the ants that eat crumbs and things like that. I am just going to move her, I have to do this sometime anyway so the other chickens don't eat her chicks again.
Thanks everybody!


PS- Is Gardstar Garden and Poultry Dust ok to use around her eggs to prevent lice?
 

bock

Songster
11 Years
Oct 10, 2008
2,281
20
191
Northern CA
I moved the hen and her eggs into a nest box.
The problem is, now she sits on the eggs but if another chicken comes in the shelter she gets up and paces along the chicken wire I put around her.
Whatever, if she really wants chicks she will do the job right!
 

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