2017 IS THE YEAR OF FLIES
“GET IN GRAB THE EGGS AND GET OUT…OH YEAR AND DON’T STEP IN POOP”
That is what I tell my three year old as she loves to enter the chicken coop to collect eggs daily.
Fly control in the chicken coop seems to be an endless battle this year and not to mention…disgusting. The buzz of the swarming flies use to be so loud when you’d open the door, you would gasp, hold your breath, run in grab the eggs and then GET OUT.
While I am all for natural fly control strategies so that I can reuse the manure in the garden, sometimes I need an immediate solution. Due to having piles of horse and chicken manure composting year round it tends to attract a lot of flies, which end up in our house, our barn, and on our food. Totally not ideal!
I want to share my new multi-faceted approach to getting rid of flies around our homestead with mainly natural (minimal use of insecticides) fly control in the chicken coop:
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5 STRATEGIES FOR FLY CONTROL IN THE CHICKEN COOP
1. FLY PREDATORS
Fly Predators are the natural enemy of flies, but never bother people or animals. Without resorting to chemicals, you’ll kill flies before they emerge. That way they never get a chance to bother you or your animals or reproduce by the gazillions.
You simply sprinkle Fly Predators near all manure areas every three to four weeks during warm months. It just takes a few minutes and you’ve done your fly control for the month. It’s as simple as opening a sack of potato chips!
Preventing flies is key, If you just go after adult flies buzzing around but that’s only about 15% of the population at any time. If you don’t stop the future ones you’ll be plagued all summer.
2. DIATOMACEOUS EARTH
Diatomaceous Earth makes a great natural fly repellent around the yard and especially on the farm. Moisture and smell often go hand in hand, so DE is a great choice when trying to deodorize and dry these places out. Diatomaceous earth is effective because it absorbs moisture and deodorizes an area.
Please see the instructions below for how to apply DE around your chicken coop, yard or farm.
- Clean frequently and maintain sanitary conditions prior to applying diatomaceous earth (DE). As a bonus, flies typically avoid DE treated places. Once a fly is dusted with DE, it will slowly dehydrate and die plus DE works best as a fly repellent.
- Dust DE around their food, watering trough, and stables (any moist areas where flies could nest and lay eggs). You will want a layer of DE similar to a thin layer of dust. It is best to use an applicator to make an even coat.
- Reapply whenever the diatomaceous earth gets washed away or cleaned out.
TIP: Treat these areas year round to deter flies for the summer. By including DE in your regular cleaning schedule you can ensure that flies will be kept to a minimum all year round. Remember that DE is most effective when dry.
Diatomaceous Earth Cautions: Always be sure to purchase food-grade diatomaceous earth, not the stuff designed for pools. Wear a mask while sprinkling DE. It is a fine particulate that may cause lung irritation. Allow the dust to settle and the coop to ventilate a bit before allowing the chickens back in to minimize the dust in the air they would be breathing).
3. PLACE FRESH HERBS IN COOP
There are many, many herbs that bugs don’t like so placing fresh herbs around the chicken coop will make it even less appealing to flies and other pests. It helps when you hang bunches of fresh herbs in the coop and also place them into the nesting boxes. In addition, you can also sprinkle dried herbs into the nesting and bedding materials.
The Herbs That Bugs Hate: Basil, rosemary, mint, dill, lavender, thyme, bay leaves, tansy, etc.
Homemade Chicken Coop Fly Repellent Recipe:
- 2 cups vinegar
- 2 cups water
- 2 tablespoons real vanilla extract
- 40 drops of essential oil (can be a single oil like eucalyptus oil)
Combine all ingredients in a spray bottle. Shake well, and spritz generously in the coop wherever flies congregate.
4. KEEP IT CLEAN, CLEAN, CLEAN
One of the best ways to discourage flies from congregating in the coop is to remove wet or dry chicken manure (a fly’s #1 favorite substance), wet soil, and any compost laying around. One of my least favorite homestead chores is cleaning the chicken coop however, there is nothing like a clean coop when collecting eggs.
I find that the worst place that chicken manure collects is underneath roosts and perches. I also should add fresh bedding monthly (to reduce the smell), while turning over existing dry bedding, and sprinkle on my diatomaceous earth in the process.
One of my daughters favorite things to do is feed the chickens directly from the garden. So…I have taught her to only feed the chickens scraps in the outside chicken paddock in the summer, NEVER inside the coop, and remove up any leftovers. This will prevent future fly swarms.
5. FLY TRAPS & FLY STRIPS
Sad to admit this…but fly strips work and they provide immediate results (and yes, we have fly strips hanging in our mud room and living room), and they are low cost. Depending on how bad your flies are you might have to replace the fly strips often…If that’s the case, hang them in combination with a fly trap.
I have provided links throughout this article on purchasing fly traps, fly repellents and other natural fly repellent methods from Amazon or you can find them at your local feed store.
6. Insecticides (Not Ideal But They Work)
Permectrin™ II is a broad spectrum insecticide for use in animal areas. I have found that when flies get SOOOOO bad that the natural methods are not keeping up with the fly control that if I liberally spray the ground in my chicken coop that it has an immediate effect on the decline of flies in the coop. Now I do not use this as my go-to method but rather as a last means of combat.
Please comment below on any other methods you use to combat flies in and around your coop.