need advice on ant problem

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by BlackGiantMerlin, Sep 21, 2010.

  1. BlackGiantMerlin

    BlackGiantMerlin Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 21, 2010
    Hi all, we've had chickens successfully for three years now.
    They are much loved pets and we collect the eggs everyday, we have one roo and a few girls.
    We have always fed Layena and Flock Raiser (Sunrise when they were chicks) combined in addition to scraps almost daily - pasta, rice, cooked veggies, fruit, etc...
    For several years we have lived green - no pesticides, no fertilizers at all on our property and it has worked out very well.
    Except, recently -- we are getting ants - everywhere - in their enclosure and in our feed tubs.
    We are in the hot Arizona climate - yes it's almost October but still over 100 degrees.
    Our chickens have lots of trees, we wet the ground, put down ice blocks daily, etc - they are quite happy.
    The ants are small but I'm not sure what kind, if they bite they must be fire ants?
    They don't seem to bother the chickens at all, just us.
    Has anyone used diatomaceous earth?
    Would that hurt our chickens?
    Thanks in advance for any natural remedies for this problem. [​IMG]
  2. Desert Peep

    Desert Peep Out Of The Brooder

    May 18, 2010
    Tucson, AZ
    Hi There. I'm in Tucson and I know what you mean about the ants. They are very active right now; getting ready to go underground in a few weeks. I've heard that pouring hot water down the ant hole will work. Mine are the really tiny ants. And they do bite. Good luck.
  3. matimeo

    matimeo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 29, 2010
    DE probably wouldn't solve the problem. I've had success at killing ants by mixing sugar, water and boric acid powder and then soaking it into cotton balls (or a sponge if you want a bigger source) and leaving it where the ants feed on it. My understanding is that they carry it back to the nest (it kills them slowly) and share it with others who then die. This is a less toxic solution and can be made from household items. I bought a bottle of powdered boric acid at the drugstore.

    This is one recipe, although when i did it, I used a little less sugar. You don't want to but too much boric acid or they won't eat it. You could google other recipes.

    1 cup water, 2 cups sugar, 2 tablespoons boric acid

    WARNING: don't let the chickens get at this, as it could be potentially harmful to them as well. You could make some kind of box with small holes in it and put the solution inside (kinda like a roach motel), so the ants can get in, but nothing much bigger.

    Good luck.
  4. bluie

    bluie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 18, 2007
    Try the diatomaceous earth. I put it in the coop and run to keep down lice and mites and such and some people feed it to their dogs to get rid of internal parasites (don't know if that works or not). It shouldn't hurt them at all to eat it and it might just help with the ants.
  5. BlackGiantMerlin

    BlackGiantMerlin Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 21, 2010
    Thank you all fellow chicken owners!
    It's crazy after all this time it seems like the ants came out of nowhere.
    I've heard the same about D. earth for horses, although we've never used it on ours.
    I've used boric acid in a trap in my home, carefully placed away from fur kids accessing, I may put one outside the enclosure.
    Desert Peep - I have also tried the hot water thing, it works temporarily but they seemingly rise from the ashes within weeks/months.
    Cinammon is also effective, but only temporarily.
    Has anyone seen chickens eat ants?
    I read something once about turkeys liking ants, but any animal can get stung/bit in the esophagus if ingesting.
    If it wouldn't hurt the turkeys, heck we'd love to add to the farm:D
  6. pascopol

    pascopol Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 6, 2009
    Tampa Bay
    Quote:My small flock of Naked neck hens destroyed most of fire ant mounds around, I,ve seen once the action when they were scratching, and fire ants got aggreviated and defensive starting to crawl up hens legs stinging them, but my hens responded picking them up from their legs and instantly swallowing them, then they continued to scratch, until they got deeper into the ants nest exposing tasty larvae.

    Larvae made hens go nuts, they took care of the larvae in no time and then ate remaining ants even the ants tried to sting.

    My hens did not give up, they exterminated mound of fire ants.
  7. BlackGiantMerlin

    BlackGiantMerlin Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 21, 2010
    Wow, Naked Neck hens?
    That is a breed I haven't heard of but I know there's many.
    Our roo is a Black Jersey Giant / Americana mix and the girls are Americana's.
    I'll see if anyone in AZ has Naked Necks -- Desert Peep have you heard of them?
  8. Ariel301

    Ariel301 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 14, 2009
    Kingman Arizona
    Those little tiny ants are not fire ants. Fire ants are large. I grew up in the south and we always called those little ones "sugar ants", and yes, they do bite. I'm in Arizona too, and we have those (and fire ants) all over our property, and those little ones are more aggressive sometimes than the fire ants! I don't use pesticides either, so here is what I do. In a small pan, mix together 2 cups of water and 2 cups of sugar. Boil it until it becomes a syrup, then mix in a couple of tablespoon of Borax. Set it around where the ants are in some sort of shallow containers, something you can throw away. I like to use lids from jars of pasta sauce or whatever. It will kill the ants but is not strong enough to hurt your animals, I have had my cat and chickens get into it and eat it with no problems; I use it in my house because the ants are bad in the kitchen, and my kitty has a big sweet tooth so she's always after that stuff, I chase her away when I catch her, but I'm sure she gets a few licks of it regularly.
  9. swimmer

    swimmer Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 17, 2010
    I've poured boiling water down the holes and has worked for me. But have to get it right in the hole.
  10. Desert Peep

    Desert Peep Out Of The Brooder

    May 18, 2010
    Tucson, AZ
    BlackGiantMerlin, Yes, I've heard of naked necks, but never seen one in real life, just in photos on BYC. Where are you in Arizona? Yesterday was supposedly the last of the 100's. Hopefully it will cool off soon, so the girls can be more comfortable.

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