I woke up to find a dead chicken covered in fire ants. I think they killed her. I feel terrible, since I knew we had fire ants in the yard, although I hadn't seen any in the coop until now. The chickens are free roaming in the yard, but maybe if the ants attacked at night while the chicken was asleep she wouldn't run away? I've heard that chickens eat ants but mine do not-at least I've never seen them eat any. I didn't realize the ants would actually kill an animal but after some research I found that this is not uncommon. I've used cinnamon, diatomaceous earth, and coffee grounds to deter them from the areas where they were the most problematic, but these remedies seem to only make them move around and do not actually get rid of the ants. In desperation I bought some Amdro ant block, even though I normally do not use anything toxic in my yard. If anyone has any other suggestions they would be much appreciated.
Also, I wanted to let other chicken owners know to watch out for fire ants.
Suddenly, my sugar ant problems don't seem so bad. From past experience, I know that there are different types of ants, and that you have to kill the queen for one type...so I looked up fire ants and found this site:
I hope it helps.
I would guess that the sudden heat might have contributed to her death, or another unknown factor. I feel like it's very unlikely that the ants killed her, I know that it's possible, but very very unlikely. I've read about pouring boiling citrus peels down the hole, but have never resorted to it myself. Just be careful that if you use the poison, it's not somewhere the chickens can access it, *that* will kill a chicken.
You are correct, fire ants can and will kill chickens. They killed two of my pullets before I figured out what had killed them! I found out that fire ants will kill a lizard in under 4 minutes!
I found this on killing them, safe for pets and animals!
I was able to find where they sell it, expensive, but I hear it is the best. Too bad it is sold out! =(
Thanks so much for this info! I will definitely check it out.