I HAAATE termites. Really, the last thing you want is a termite infestation in your coop, particularly if it’s wooden.
Luckily, your coop may come with a first line of defense you may not have thought about: your chickens.
Yes, that’s right, chickens do eat termites, and they actually enjoy indulging in these pesky wood-eating insects.
But, if you’re dealing with an infestation in the coop, unfortunately, your chickens aren’t going to be able to keep up.
Here’s everything you need to know about termites in the chicken coop, whether chickens eat termites and if it’s OK, and what you can do to get rid of the termites.
Termites In The Chicken Coop
If you’ve seen even one termite in your chicken coop, chances are there are actually a lot more hiding somewhere.
But, is having termites in the chicken coop or run actually so bad?
Well, if your coop is made from wood, there’s certainly cause for concern, as it’s widely known that termites actually eat wood. If there’s a termite infestation and it goes untreated you can be looking at some serious damage to your coop, if not the complete collapse of it.
Though, generally, it will take termites some time to truly eat away at all the wood, particularly if it’s kept in a relatively dry and well-tended condition.
But nonetheless, it’s important to take action as soon as you realize there are termites in your coop.
Do Chickens Eat Termites?
At first, you might think that having termites in the coop isn’t too bad after all, as it turns out chickens do in fact eat termites.
These protein-rich insects provide a good treat to satisfy the seemingly never-ending hunger of a chicken.
But, although chickens will help keep any termites at bay, if you really do have an infestation there’s simply no way your chickens will be able to keep up.
Nonetheless, it’s good to know that chickens will dispose of any adventurous termites, which will help stop the spread of any pesky infestations.
Are Termites Bad For Chickens?
Just because termites are gross-looking creepy-crawlies, doesn’t mean they are bad for your chickens.
In fact, it can actually be argued that termites are healthy for chickens to eat. This is because they are almost all protein, and chickens need up to 18% protein in their daily diet for regular egg-laying and overall well-being.
Some even go as far as to raise termites specifically to feed chickens, just like you would mealworms.
In reality, chickens eat all kinds of bugs and are met with very little resistance and very little consequences to their health. Chickens will eat spiders, chickens will even eat mosquitoes, so it’s no surprise chickens will eat termites!
Controlling A Termite Infestation In Your Chicken Coop
Once you’ve identified that you indeed have a termite infestation, or what looks like the start of one, it’s important you take action immediately.
The sooner you get rid of the termites, the more likely there will be no structural damage.
Here’s the best method to control a termite infestation in your chicken coop, and how to help prevent further issues with termites.
Step 1: Find Another Place for Your Chickens
It’s vital that you relocate your chickens during the course of the eradication.
This is because if you use termite poisons, your chickens may end up eating some of the termites and consume the poison themselves. You don’t want the chickens consuming the poison directly either!
It’s not often you have a spare chicken coop lying around. But it’s essential to temporarily relocate. Either transport your chickens somewhere or set up a temporary stay in your backyard.
No need to worry though. Even the largest termite infestations can only take one to five days to completely clear out.
Step 2: Lay Down Your Termite Bait
There are a few bait options to eradicate the termites from your chicken coop. Speak to a professional, or enquire at the local hardware store or home depot for advice.
Nonetheless, termite baits can be used in and around the coop to essentially lure termites in, infect them, and allow them to return and spread the poison to the rest of the colony.
The poison is slow-acting but will pass from termite to termite, effectively getting around to the whole infestation.
To be sure, lay several baits in and around your coop (the more the merrier) and check back every 24 hours to check the progress.
Step 3: Continue The Assault
It’s essential to continue the poisoning for at least 2-3 days, ensuring you’ve given it enough time for the insecticide to spread amongst the whole colony, and do its magic.
After the third day, check all the common termite sites. Make sure you can’t find any more termites anywhere. Really look hard as you don’t want to miss any infestation sites as they will simply multiply and you’ll be back to square one.
Step 4: Clean The Coop And Return Your Chickens
Once you’re confident you’ve ridden each and every termite from your coop, it’s time to do a deep clean. Although the poison shouldn’t be harmful to chickens, you can never be certain.
Therefore it’s best to treat it like it is potentially harmful. Thoroughly rid of all the termite casualties, and scrub around any infestation site.
Preventing Future Termite Infestations
No method is 100% accurate at preventing termite infestations, but luckily there are some amazing strategies you can use to highly discourage any future issues.
The best way is to treat the soil all around your coop and property with a specific termite insecticide.
These are substances such as imidacloprid or fipronil, which attract and dispose of any wandering termites.
That, plus the vigilant eye of a chicken should keep all the termites away for good!
So, if you’ve seen a few or more termites crawling around your coop, don’t stress. You’re not alone, and there are tried and true ways to rid them forever, without too much effort on your part.
Although chickens do eat termites and they are completely safe for chickens to consume, chances are they won’t be able to fight off an infestation.
The sooner you act the better. Prepare a temporary accommodation for your chickens and take action against the termites using bait stations or other poison control methods.
If it’s something that seems just too daunting for you, get a professional to come and clear them out. It’s better to be safe than sorry after all!