I don't know if chickens eat ants, but I doubt the ants will hurt them. We have ants here too (sandy soil), but they don't seem to be a problem. Does black plastic encourage ants? I haven't noticed that it made them any worse, particularly. Maybe someone else knows more about ants than I do. We get the really thick black plastic so we can reuse it. Before we had the hoop house, we had to hold some of it down with old tires (really ugly), but there is a rock shortage here. We do have a lot of bricks though, and bought a bunch of earth staples too. Enjoy your free time, Joanie! I go back to work today, so I'll be reminiscing about my former free time.