Many people feel frustrated to see ants around chicken cages and worry about the safety issues associated with these stinging and irritating pests.
Can Ants Kill Chickens? Ants can kill chickens because these birds are responsible for disturbing their mounds. These omnivorous insects can bite or sting when they reach bird cages for chicken feed, fresh veggies, and broken eggs on the floor. You can protect adult and baby chicks from ants by sealing the feed bowls and pouring boiling water over these insects.
Ants are part of a chicken’s diet as they provide essential vitamins and proteins when these birds do not find any other source to fulfill their body requirements.
Some of these insects are fine for the birds to eat, while a few aggressive and poisonous species can pose a problem for them.
Why do ants kill chickens?
Some species of ants like to eat meat when they need proteins in their diet and attack the dead bodies or living earthworms, birds, and animals in their surrounding areas.
Chickens also eat smaller insects and worms in the soil when looking for food. They pick tiny ants crawling on the ground when searching for grains in the soil.
It is considered to be an occasional treat for these poultry birds because they usually eat grains and other fruits, cereals, and vegetables offered by their owners.
However, these can also reach mounds in the garden or backyard and become responsible for causing a disturbance in their nests.
So, they can get attacked by a swarm of insects when they feel threatened by these birds. This can lead to serious fights when most colony members reach birds to attack and kill them.
In addition, ants get attracted to feeds, usually legumes, grains, and protein meals. They also eat fresh vegetables and fruits offered to chickens by their owners for natural sugars.
Their presence in a cage can pose a problem for these birds because they can climb and bite on their bodies using mandibles.
A small number of these insects crawling within a bird’s enclosure cannot pose a problem for them as they can inject only a small amount of formic acid into their bodies which is not painful.
Furthermore, the presence of broken eggs or dead chickens can also bring these tiny creatures closer to these birds because they are a good source of protein.
How do ants kill chickens?
Ants make use of their fighting skills to kill larger prey, and their coordination or swarming behavior makes them powerful against bigger prey animals.
They do not spare any invader responsible for disturbing their nests and killing their fellows because they work collectively to ensure the survival of each other.
The colony begins to fight with the predator if a few of its fellows are brutally killed or eaten. These can also crawl over hens in a cage when they have accidentally crushed a few insects.
Moreover, they will swarm over the bird’s body and attack aggressively, as they can pinch skin using their larger mandibles and cause severe injuries.
In the same way, they can transfer toxic chemicals into bodies by injecting stingers into their body tissues. The size of the stinger and the nature of formic acid determines the level of toxicity.
Almost 200 to 500 ants can kill an adult chicken by stinging their bodies collectively, while they can also create a problem for these pet birds when ingested in large numbers.
In addition, they can affect chickens’ health when they consume these tiny insects with lots of germs on their bodies. These contaminating bacteria can cause infection and affect their health.
How do you keep ants away from chickens?
You have to protect chickens from ants’ attacks because these insects can kill them by stinging their bodies multiple times and biting their skin with powerful teeth.
In the same way, they can reach inside the cage of birds when looking for moisture or food and cause harm to them. So, it is better to restrict their undesired entries and stop them from entering the cage.
You can spread diatomaceous earth to make a 3 to 4 inches boundary around their cage because it helps keep these insects at a distance. This powder is found to be deadly for these tiny insects.
It causes severe dehydration even if the insects accidentally touch the boundary. The drying of the exoskeleton leads to the death of ants because it hardens their bodies.
In addition, you can keep the cage floor clean to avoid the attack of insects, as water spills and food remains can attract them inside.
You can suffocate these attacking insects in chicken feed by covering the bowl with an airtight seal because they cannot survive for more than 24 hours without oxygen.
Pour boiling water over the cage to kill the insects, as they have less tolerance to high temperatures. This hot water burns their muscular bodies and leads to their death, but take pets out before it.
Some commercial ant baits can also protect chickens from these deadly insects as they can cause toxicity to their digestive system and affect the nervous system.
Removing the broken eggs and their shells from the cage is better to prevent ants from coming inside, as the odor of protein-rich yolks can grab their attention.
What type of ants can kill chickens?
Chickens are commonly exposed to common house ants that build nests in the gardens and indoor areas like black garden, pharaoh, argentine, and carpenter ants.
Some of these insects are commonly eaten by these birds, like the small black garden and the carpenter ants, and are not known to pose any safety risks to them.
However, others are considered dangerous due to their potential to bite, which can kill a large bird like a chicken by dipping mandibles into the soft skin.
Fire ants are known to cause the death of prey due to the high toxicity of chemicals, as their poison can cause a severe burning sensation in the affected area.
These are venomous and life-threatening insects that are known to cause severe itching and even blisters, making it difficult for prey to survive after multiple attacks.
Furthermore, the red ants and leafcutter ants are also dangerous and pose a risk to their survival because they have sharp mandibles that can cause deep injuries to their bodies.
They do not get afraid of the bigger prey or predator birds but run towards them, intending to fight or take revenge for posing a threat.
Are ants deadly for baby chicks?
Baby chicks are smaller than adult chickens in a coop, having lesser muscle mass and abilities to defend themselves against attacking ants.
They have lower immunity against these insects carrying a large number of infectious agents on their bodies while moving through a trash bin or dirty places.
Accordingly, they can get sick immediately and sometimes die after getting exposed to infectious bacteria along with these insects.
Moreover, they cannot digest a large number of insects due to sensitive stomach that gets filled quickly compared to adults. They eat only a few ants or other insects to fill their bellies.
In the same way, they cannot tolerate attacks from a swarm of insects and die after being seized. They have soft skin, which can easily get harmed after receiving stings from deadly insects.
So, it is pretty easy for them to kill baby chicks when they have the potential to deal with their adults. Few of these insects are sufficient to kill a baby chick due to less resistance.