Flies are an ugly part of every homestead. Whether you have 3 backyard hens or 100 free ranging jungle fowl, flies come with the territory. Attracted to poultry feed, feces, and anything gross and moist, flies love a good chicken coop!
To make matters worse, the humid heat of summer provides the perfect fly spawning environment. Doesn’t it seem like flies pop up out of nowhere after a summer rain? They suddenly appear, landing places you don’t want them, and spreading germs. It can make animal husbandry in the summer miserable!
Luckily there are MANY ways to combat flies around your coop this summer!
- This may seem like a given, but I speak from first-hand naive decisions. Do not put your coop close to your house! Flies around the coop will quickly turn into flies around the house! When planning your homestead layout, you do want easy walking access to the coop. Just try to avoid having it within feet from your front door!
- Fly Traps! Fly traps, especially the kind with some kind of liquid bait, work wonders! They can be hung anywhere near the coop, out of reach of the chickens. These traps catch hundreds of flies, and despite a bad smell, exterminate like no other! They also don’t harm beneficial insects, like pollinators.
- A dry coop is a clean coop. Cleaning out the chicken waste from the coop is hugely helpful in the prevention of flies. This isn’t always totally possible, and coops will always be a generally dirty place. I like to use a dog feeder for my chickens as it keeps out excess pests and moisture from the feed. Flies love feed, so try keeping it in a cool, shady place where flies prefer not to be. When it comes to bedding, shavings are better than straw, and sand is better than shavings! Z( Be careful not to use sandbox sand).
- Use insect repellent powder. After cleaning the coop, sprinkle everything! Apply to the floor, corners, and roosting perches. These affordable canisters of magic work great for all farm animals. We dust our goats, hen house, horses, barn, and even stalls with this. It kills mites on chickens as well! As great as it can be, please always use extreme caution with any pesticide. Don’t over-dust and get any in your lungs or around children. These products are often toxic to honeybees and shouldn’t be dusted around blooming plants. (-but it does work wonders for my chicken coop!)
- Make an organic repellent. While not as potent as the dust, you may opt for a more natural approach. You can make a spray bottle of essential oils to repel flies. It is safe for your birds, and smells great to us, bad to flies! Simply fill up a spray bottle with water, 2-3 drops of dish soap, and a combination of 10 drops each of tea tree, peppermint, and clove essential oils. Spray all around the inside and outside walls of your coop to repel flies for a week or so.
Now you are armed with a variety of ways to tackle those summer flies! Give one a try, or all, and tell me which worked best! Good luck friends!