What To Do About Ants in the Chicken Coop

Ants in the Coopamy elizabeth | TBN Ranch

Where there’s food and water there’s ants, we don’t want to compromise our chickens health with pesticides, but let’s face it, they work.

Ants are simple to get rid of, the hard part is keeping our flock safe in the process.

Ant Baits
They work, but a chicken can peck a hole in them, and I’m not willing to test whether or not this a health hazard. The best answer when in doubt is to rely on common sense….  use what works, just be creative.

Ant Baits

Safely Using Ant Baits
Put an ant bait under under a heavy flower pot, or a ceramic saucer with a brick on top. I keep an ant bait under a flower pot with a drinker on top.  It isn’t necessary to put ant baits by food and water, they are just as effective whether in or around the coop.
It’s possible an ant could drop a teeny tiny piece of pesticide on it’s way back to the colony, but I don’t think there’s a big concern there. But for that reason, I only put out baits when I have an ant problem, when they’re gone I throw them away. I’ve being using ant baits periodically for ten years with no problems. I’ve tried all the natural ant remedies, and in my opinion, they’re all a big fail.

Examples of Ant Bait Placement
Below is my Silkie hen setting on five eggs, this morning her nest was swarming with ants. It wasn’t worth the risk of her abandoning her eggs because she was bothered by ants. The temperature will be 109 degrees today, she’s hot and probably already uncomfortable. This is a perfect example of when to get out the big guns and tackle ants effectively and as  safely as possible.  Here’s what I did…

Ant Baits and Silkie

My large chicken pen also has an ant problem since the rain a few days ago. I secured an ant trap under a flower pot and none of the chickens are the least bit curious about it.

Ant Bait in Coop

Happy Hens at TBN Ranch

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Pigeons in the Chicken Feed, One Solution

This is a common problem and believe me I’ve tried everything from aviary netting to automatic feeders to alleviate the problem. Netting is helpful to keep doves and pigeons out, but where there is a gate for you, there is an entry somewhere for them. Sparrows fit through the tiniest hole, and although it doesn’t seem like they would eat much, in a flock of 100 or more there can be a substantial feed loss.

Dove

It would be nice if we all had a huge wire chicken enclosure with a real door, but many of us don’t. We may take pride in our make-shift creations, but for all intentional purposes they aren’t always as functional as hoped. A small flock of backyard laying hens are not going to make us a profit, but we do expect them to at least earn their keep.

My Solution

For the last few years I’ve free fed my chickens, and the all the neighborhood sparrows and doves. But now there is a much bigger problem, pigeons. A few here and there has suddenly turned into a flock of thirty. This is a time for drastic measures before the city steps in and takes action. It’s never a good idea having city officials snooping around an in- town hobby farm, so there’s only one solution. No more free feeding.

It’s been a month now, I keep the chicken’s ground feeders covered with a trash container except for two hours in the morning and evening. I do however offer them greens and whatever kitchen scraps there is on hand during the day. After two weeks the pigeon population dropped by half, after a month there are only three diehards left.

And Furthermore…

Egg production has not been interrupted, and the flocks, both free range and free-run look great.  Success!