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harversting ants for chicken feed

Kat deZwart

Joined: Aug 13, 2011
Posts: 103
Location: Limburg, Netherlands, sandy loam
Around my place there are loads and loads of ants. We have no really agressive ants here in in the Netherlands, they are just annoying when coming in to the house and when they "farm" aphids on your crops. I'm thinking about how they can be a great source of protein for my chickens. Because an interstate runs at a few yards next to the house and grounds, I can't let the chickens run loose and forage them for them selves, so now I'm wondering about ways to:

1) catch significant amounts of mature ants in a way that keeps them edible for chickens
2) maybe create some sort of artificial mounts so I can harvest the grubs before they mature.

Just digging them up doesn't work as they generally choose to live underneat pavement and structures...

Any ideas?
Amy Bee

Joined: Apr 11, 2012
Posts: 10
Kat, my best friend's chickens love ants (we are in the Maritimes, Canada). Although their chickens free range much of the time, if they want to target an anthill they simply put a small chicken tractor over top of the hill or put up a moveable fence and keep the chickens over top of it for a day. On a dry, sunny day, they scratch and peck to their hearts' delight....and the anthill is severely culled in the process.
John Polk

Joined: Feb 20, 2011
Posts: 6883
Location: Currently in Seattle. Probably moving 1 hour north by end of the year.
If your ants are 'sugar ants', you might try leaving trails of sugar (or corn syrup?) into the chicken run.
Let the ants march to their deaths.

Kat deZwart

Joined: Aug 13, 2011
Posts: 103
Location: Limburg, Netherlands, sandy loam
They are drawn to sugar... So I like the idea of John. I'll also try luring them on some pieces of rotten fruit I've got laying around, waiting to be tossed.
Because they don't form real anthills but burrow underneat the hard surfaces (paving etc) a chickentractor would only do a little bit of good.
In addition I'll be making a Liverbrick this spring, we've got loads of flies every year...
Adam Old

Joined: May 29, 2012
Posts: 18
Location: Miami, FL - Zone 10b
take one chicken in your hands, uncover an ant nest and set the chicken down. when it has destroyed the nest, put it back in its run.
subject: harversting ants for chicken feed