Farms, chickens and flies. They all go hand in hand. Unfortunately, you can’t have animals (even chickens) around without having flies around. Flies can be a big menace, especially if they find their way onto your or into your house. Let’s talk about some ways that you can keep the number of flies down.
One of the best ways to keep flies down is to prevent them in the first place. You won’t be able to keep all flies away, but you can do your part to reduce the number of flies significantly.
Flies are attracted to a few different things. They can be attracted to poop, food or animals themselves. If your only animals are your chickens, then you’ll have less of an issue because most flies aren’t attracted to chickens. Flies that bite tend to be more attracted to livestock like horses, cows and pigs because they can easily reach the skin and bite them. The feathers on chickens make it difficult for flies to reach the skin easily.
One of the best ways that you can prevent flies from coming around is to keep your coop clean. Clean up manure and poop frequently. Flies will feed on this. If you remove their source of food, they won’t show up as often.
Reduce the amount of food that you leave out for your chickens. Many feeders will only allow a little bit of feed to be exposed at a time. This is ideal not only because it keeps the feed fresh, but it reduce the amount of feed that flies can get to. Again, if you remove the source of food, the number of flies that come around will drop.
A great way to naturally prevent flies and other annoying bugs from coming around your coop is to use herbs. You can plant herbs around your coop, hang dried herbs in the coop or use dried herbs in the bedding, nesting boxes or in the run. Many herbs have insect-repelling properties that will help to keep flies away. Herbs like lemon balm, mint, basil, rosemary, tansy and citronella will help to keep flies away. Your chickens will also enjoy these plants.
Getting Rid of Flies
Even with the cleanest coop, you’re still going to see flies. So, how can you get rid of them once they find your way to the coop? Luckily there are a few proven ways that you can cut down on the number of flies.
One of the best ways to reduce flies is to trap them. There are many fly traps out there that are effective. They aren’t appealing to look at, but they are very effective. If you want to cut down on flies, a trap is a great start. Two of my favorite traps are sticky tapes and the Rescue! line of fly traps. The sticky tapes can be hung just about anywhere. You can hang those from the roof inside of your coop or the run. They’ll trap flies that land on them. Once the tape is full, you simply take it down and replace it with another one. It’s a simple and cheap way to catch flies. The tape isn’t scented with an attractant, so it works by chance. Flies that land on it to rest are captured. It works, but it’s not as effective as the Rescue! fly trap.
The Rescue! fly traps work like a charm. You’ve probably seen them around in Walmart or TSC. They are bright green containers. You mix up an attractant that comes with them and pour it into the bottom of the container. Flies go into the bottom of the container and get trapped. You can hang these or set them out on a flat surface.
We use these fly traps every year and they’re extremely effective. We’ve found that they become even more effective as it traps more flies. The dead flies create an odor that smells like something dead, which attracts more flies. I allow the fly trap to continue to fill up until the smell is too strong. You can buy replacement attractant for these traps or you can simply replace the whole trap.
If you want to get fancy with your fly control, you can get a spray system that automatically sprays for flies. It’s similar to the Air Wick automatic air freshener, only it sprays fly repellant instead of air freshener. These devices are used in veterinary hospitals to cut down on flies. Keep in mind that it’s releasing pesticides into the air, so that may be something that you want to avoid if you’re trying to raise chemical-free chickens.
Flies are a part of having animals, but these tips will help you keep flies at a minimum. Try one or a few of them in your coop this year!