If you own chickens, sooner or later, you will notice ants around the coop. You may wonder if your chickens can eat ants. After all, ants are insects, and they are small and seem to be no threats to the chickens.
So, do chickens eat ants? Yes, chickens do eat ants. Most ants are safe for them to eat. Chickens will dig around the ant’s nest for their eggs as well. Ants are a good source of protein, which the chickens need for muscle and other organs to function properly. While ants are safe for chickens to be around and eat, there are some precautions you need to take, especially the red fire ants.
Will Chickens Eat Ants?
Chickens are omnivores, which means they will eat both plants and animals. As for ants, they will generally look for them to eat since they are easy to catch.
In the backyard, ant hills or colonies will naturally exist. If the chicken coop is close by, the chickens will eat them.
Ants are a good source of protein which the chickens require for muscle development and other organs to function properly.
These insects are the first thing the chickens will look for. Ants usually stay in large colonies which makes them easy for the chickens to catch and eat.
Unlike other insects, where the chickens have to dig and consume a lot of energy to get to. For ants, they can stay in one place and eat a lot of them without having to waste a lot of energy.
However, some chickens will overlook the ants. Chickens that are sufficiently fed, may not be interested in ants. They rather search for larger prey such as beetles, grasshoppers, and grubs.
On the other hand, chickens that are not fed enough may turn to ants to help decrease their hunger.
Are Ants Dangerous To Chickens?
Ants are always on the search for food. If they come across chickens, they tend to try to ignore them. For an adult chicken that’s healthy, ants generally cannot harm them.
However, baby chickens, injured birds, or older chickens can fall victim to ants, especially red fire ants.
When one fire ant starts to attack, the rest of the ants will follow. With their sting, chickens can die from the ant attack.
The best way to avoid the chicken from getting killed is to scan the area for fire ants.
What Types of Ants Do Chickens Eat?
There are hundreds of species of ants around the world. In the U.S., ants can be found all across the country.
Do Chickens Eat Fire Ants?
Fire ants are common across the country. They are found almost everywhere that has soil. Most people will have fire ants in their backyard.
Fire ants are considered a pest since they can damage everything that crosses. One of the features that most people fear is their bite. These ants have venom that they inject into their victim which causes excruciating pain.
As for chickens, they do eat fire ants. Chickens will peck at each ant and eat them. When the fire ants start to swarm in large numbers, chickens will usually retreat since they know what the ants can do to them.
Do Chickens Eat Carpenter Ants?
Carpenter ants are another species of ant that’s commonly found in people’s backyards across the entire country.
These ants are larger than fire ants and most other ant species. They are typically black or dark brown in color.
Carpenter ants are less aggressive than fire ants. They don’t bite as much and their bite doesn’t hurt as bad a fire ant bite does.
These ants don’t build mounds in soil. Instead, they build their nest in the woods.
Chickens do eat carpenter ants, and it’s a great snack for them. Therefore, you will find chickens digging away at wood structures to get to the carpenter ants.
Do Chickens Eat Sugar Ants?
Sugar ants are ants that are attracted to sugar. These ants are much smaller than fire ants and not aggressive.
These species range in color from orange to black.
When it comes to chickens, they will eat sugar ants. Unlike carpenter ants or fire ants, they produce a foul-smelling odor. The odor is strong enough to prevent most predators from eating them.
However, for chickens, the odor doesn’t affect them, and they will eat the sugar ants regardless if it emits an odor or not.
What Other Insects Do Chickens Eat?
There are many different species of beetles found across the country. Most beetles are safe for chickens to eat. One particular beetle which is the Japanese beetle makes a tasty and nutritious snack for chickens. They are found across the entire country, and they can do a lot of damages to crops. To keep your plants in the yard and garden from being destroyed, let your chicken free roam, and they’ll get rid of all the beetles.
Ladybugs are abundant during the spring and summer months. You will find them in your backyard and garden eating your plants. For chickens, ladybugs make and a tasty snack. To help prevent crop damage, let your chicken free roam, and they’ll be happy to eat all the ladybugs in the yard.
Roaches are a pest that can be found in homes, backyards, and even the chicken coop. These insects are a good source of protein and other nutrition. Chickens will eat any roaches that they see.
Chickens will eat anything that seems edible, which includes ants. Most ants found in the backyard are safe for them to consume. Ants provide a lot of wholesome nutrients, especially protein.
The only ants that you need to be worried about are the red fire ants. If you see them around, it’s best to get rid of them. For young, old, and sick chickens, the fire ants can kill them.