Chickens, ants and ant poison?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by jamesbwood, Apr 4, 2012.

  1. jamesbwood

    jamesbwood Chillin' With My Peeps

    In December we bought a foreclosed home on an over grown acre of land here in sunny south Florida. About a month ago we purchased our first chicks. We have a dozen red sex linked pullets all happily grazing in the chicken tractor. Good fun! The plan is to let them free range when I am out in the yard and perhaps unsupervised when they are older and bigger.

    While we got a great deal on the house, it and the yard need serious work. Speifically the yard has poison ivy and fire ants. I noticed that the ant poison is roughly the same size and shape as the chicken food. While the two are in separate places for now, I am concerned that the chickens may try to eat the ant poison when they are free ranging.

    Questions:

    How concerned should I be?

    Is there a better solution? While I would prefer organic solutions, they need to be practical and effective on an acre + of land that has been neglected.
     
  2. m.r.heavenlyhens

    m.r.heavenlyhens Out Of The Brooder

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    We live on three acres in South Texas and have a lot of fire ants. My hens are free range so I cannot use anything like chemicals on any of the acres. I buy 50 lb bags of Food Grade DEA at a place that ironically makes pesticides. I then take a stick and push a hole into the ant nest (very carefully) and pour the DEA down the hole. When I come back later there is a pile of dead ants laying dead at the top of the mound. I call the hens over and they feast. DEA will not hurt hens and actually will keep the hens from getting worms.
     
  3. m.r.heavenlyhens

    m.r.heavenlyhens Out Of The Brooder

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    A little note,....if you are going to free range as I do, you will need a dog to patrol the yard from raccoons, cayotes and hawks. I had to learn the hard way. Now that I have a rescue dog in the yard, I have not lost one hen. Hope you enjoy your chicks, you are now hooked!!!!
     
  4. m.r.heavenlyhens

    m.r.heavenlyhens Out Of The Brooder

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    I should include that you will not need much of the DEA powder, about a half a cup to a cup and it is only $8. for 50 lbs down here. But I feed it to my chicks as soon as they hatch. I sprinkle it in their food. I have not had any problem with worms or with mites or any other kind of pest on my chickens in the 3 years since I started using the stuff.
     
  5. jamesbwood

    jamesbwood Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thanks for the quick three posts and great ideas.

    Does the DEA (diatomaceous earth) kill the queen or do you have to keep constantly applying it? (Even the poison I'm using now usually takes two shots on the big mounds.) Can't beat the price!

    We will probably get a dog in the fall. :)
     
  6. galanie

    galanie Treat Dispenser No More

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    I'm assuming by DEA you mean Diatomacous Earth? I live in Houston and my fire ants laugh like crazy at the stuff. Also Molasses, boric acid, grits, cornmeal, and anything else like that you put down. Only the strong stuff does any good at all. I wouldn't be concerned about the chickens so long as they can't get to the ant bait within a month or more of application and especially if you've had a good rain in between.
     
  7. SunkissedChicks

    SunkissedChicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    "Does diatomaceous earth kill the queen or do you have to keep constantly applying it?"

    DE ( diatomaceous earth) is a natural product is made from the fossilized remains of tiny single-celled, micro-organisms called diatoms. They existed over millions of years ago. When these organisms died, their skeletal remains became fossilized. It is the fossilized exoskeletons of these diatoms that create diatomaceous earth which provides natural benefits to agriculture and animals. Upon extreme magnification DE looks like chez cereal but razor sharp. When any kind of bug with an exoskeleton body walks through the DE it sticks to them and gets in-between their legs, neck head etc... the DE is so sharp that it with the walking movement of the bug it begins to rub off their waxy coating then the legs and heads and all body parts simply get cut off.

    You have to be really persistent with the product to get it to work on Fire Ants as remember they have to walk through it and get a coating on them. Put a 3 inch circle around the hill 1/4 in depth. Reapply after rain. Do not disturb the mound or they will move the colony.

    DE is also excellent to feed and give to the chickens as a natural insecticide and to rid poultry of fleas, lice and ticks. You can sprinkle it where they dust bathe.

    Remember to only use FOOD grade DE.

    You can also feed it to the birds studies have shown that DE improved weight gain and feed efficiency while lowering mortality rates.

    Add 1 tsp of DE per cup of food. Simply sprinkle the DE on top of the feed and mix it in.

    It does work on killing fleas as I have experimented by putting several dozen (combed off of my dogs) into a zip lock bag and I set it aside. I went back the next day and all of the fleas were dead.
    The only think about DE is that is has to be dry to work.

    I dust my dogs with it, have not had any flea problems since. I have been using it for a couple of years now.


    DE is cheap and really an amazing product and 100% natural. Humans can also add a heaping spoonful into lemonade for colon cleaning. I purchase it in 50 lb bags and it lasts forever.















     
  8. jamesbwood

    jamesbwood Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thanks for the replies so far!
     
  9. galanie

    galanie Treat Dispenser No More

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    And so the myth continues about DE. There is one study that shows it will make the chickens eat a bit more when fed DE. I does not worm them, nor does it have those razor sharp edges. Only the pool grade, which has been heat treated, has sharp edges that cut into the bugs exoskeletons. NEVER USE POOL GRADE DE though. It is harmful to you and your birds.

    Food grade DE, the kind you are supposed to use with chickens, is only a desiccant. It dries things out. If you live in a humid climate, like I do, sprinkling DE around is largely a waste of time. I've put food grade DE on fire ant mounds to the point every ant that came out was covered in dust. And they just walked through it, happy as larks. It did nothing. The humidity in the air had already robbed it of its desiccant quality and as such it is like applying nothing but dirt.

    Yes, you can quote all sorts of websites whose info is probably all from one source, where they repeat endlessly that DE has those sharp edges. The food grade DOES NOT. Only the pool grade does, due to the heat treating it gets.
     
    1 person likes this.
  10. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

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    DE won't kill the Queen, so it's not going to solve the ant problem.

    It only kills the few ants it touches, and only works if it's dry.

    I use Spectracide Fire Ant Poison, and have had no problems with the chickens eating it at all


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