macro photo of black carpenter ant on green leaf

Do Ducks Eat Ants? (Answered)

by Alex Kountry
Updated on

If you keep ducks as pets or have them roaming around in your backyard, then you definitely want to know what you can feed them.

Ducks are pretty fun birds and making sure you feed them well should be your top priority.

Do ducks eat ants? Ducks can and will eat ants that are found in your backyard. They do eat ants along with grasshoppers, caterpillars, spiders and other insects. It is perfectly safe for them to eat ants and if you have an ant problem in your backyard, your ducks will be happy to help out.

What is the nutritional value of ants?

Do Ducks Eat Ants

Ants like so many other backyard insects are a source of protein for your birds.

And you definitely know that proteins are necessary for the healthy growth of your birds and the product of healthy eggs.

What I do in my backyard farm is to allow my birds roam about after feeding them so they can forage and look for ants and insects to feed on

You can also read this article I wrote here on can ducks eat spiders?

Ants provide about 44.64% protein, and 42.07% of fat.

This is a very rich source of proteins and essential fat for your birds that can be gotten from eating ants

Other minerals and vitamins that ants provide include

  • Iron
  • Zinc
  • Magnesium
  • Potassium
  • Phosphorus

When your birds have the required amount of proteins and nutrients in their bodies, they tend to grow healthy and also activate other body functions.

They produce enough feathers to keep them warm during the cold season, which occurs during autumn and spring.

Most times when I go out on errands, I just leave my birds to do their thing and get an ant snack.

They can feed on ants and backyard insects for a while without going hungry and this allows me to be at ease knowing they have been fed.

Do ducks eat fire ants?

Fire ants are the one instance where ducks and ants can be a bad mix

If you don’t know what fire ants are then here is a simple definition for you

According to this Wikipedia definition here, fire ants get their name because of the amount of pain they can cause with their sting.

Fire ants can cause severe damage to whatever they come in contact and the pain can sting for a very long time

Even humans cannot withstand their pain – I have been bitten once by fire ants and I can tell you that it is not something I want to experience again.

Their stings are painful, characterised by a local burning sensation. If not properly treated, it can turn into a bump and start swelling causing further pain and irritation

They usually move in large numbers and you want to make sure you call expert help if you even find them in your backyard

Ducks cannot eat fire ants as their sting can be quite painful and in some extreme cases can cause death to your birds.

Fire ants organize themselves in large colonies, so if your bird mistakenly enters such a colony the results might be really terrible.

Here is a detailed article I wrote of all the foods ducks can eat

Can ducks eat carpenter ants?

Carpenter ants are another type of ants that you should be aware of.

They are slightly larger than normal ants but the unique thing about them is that they have wings and can fly.

They usually come out during spring and autumn and their large size means that your birds love eating them.

If you have a flock of ducks in your backyard, you must have spotted them once or twice enjoying a feast of carpenter ants.

Although you might feel that ants are dangerous to your birds, you just need to accept that they are going to be around for a long time and your birds are quite smart to know the “good” ants to eat and the “bad” ones.

Are there any risks in an ant diet?

Like I mentioned above, red ants (fire ants) are the absolute worst and can be quite vicious with their stings.

And also there is the possibility of the ants sting the throats of your birds which might cause them so much pain and the inability to swallow their food

These ants attack the most vulnerable parts of your birds and if they do not attack then, they go after the young ducklings.

In extreme cases, your birds might die if the colony of attackers is just too much and the pain very severe.

So yes, there are severe risks to your birds eating ants especially when they come in contact with the wrong ones like fire ants

How to reduce ant population in your duck coop

If you find out that there are ants, especially the bad type, in your backyard farm, then you need to take the necessary steps to get rid of them.

1. Call an expert

This is usually the first step I will take when dealing with fire ants in my backyard

These ants are so terrible that I want someone who knows what he is doing to come in and get rid of them.

And truthfully, I am scared of them and do not want to experience the pain of their sting again

So I usually call in an expert who has the right gear and chemicals to deal with them to come in and fix them.

One thing you want to note is that generally chemicals might do more harm than good especially if the chemicals react with your birds

So make sure you ask questions and if possible move your ducks far away until after the chemicals have dispersed.

2. Use a homemade solution

Another way you can use to get rid of ants in your backyard is to use a homemade ant repellant.

It involves a simple solution of vinegar and water that you can spray around your backyard in your duck coop.

The advantage of this method is that it does not have any effect on your birds but the major issue with it is that it is not as effective as using chemicals

Well you need to play the balancing act here and go with what you think is best

For me I usually go with an expert to come in with his chemicals and gear and get rid of all ants. 

This ensures that the ants stay away for good and do not come near my birds.

What insects do duck eat?

Ducks love to dig around and forage for food and your backyard is probably full of insects, bugs and other tasty animals.

Some of the insects your ducks will happily devour include

  • Caterpillars
  • Grasshoppers
  • Ticks
  • Earwigs
  • Spiders
  • Termites
  • Millipedes
  • Worms
  • Snails

All of these insects live on the top of the soil or just beneath it making it very easy for your birds to reach them and feed on them.

And they are all rich sources of proteins that helps your birds grow healthy


Ducks eat ants and they are a rich source of protein and other nutrients for your birds.

There are some ants that are absolutely terrible for your birds – like the fire ants and if you find these around your backyard make sure you get expert help to get rid of them.

Photo of author

About the author

Alex Kountry

Alex Kountry is the founder of HayFarmGuy and has been a backyard farmer for over 10 years. Since then he has decided to write helpful articles that will help you become a better backyard farmer and know what to do. He also loves to play tennis and read books


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