Flies are a constant nuisance, especially in backyards where you have livestock. Chickens don’t attract a huge amount of flies when compared to larger livestock like cattle or pigs, but they will still attract flies. Thankfully, there are a few simple ways to keep the annoying flies at bay.
One of the first steps to reducing flies is to keep the coop and run clean. Flies are scavengers and feed on feces, decaying things and anything gross. If you keep the coop cleaned out, you’ll reduce the feed supply for flies around the coop. Remove poop daily. Poop in the chicken coop is the most common cause of flies. I find it helpful to keep a putty knife in the coop on a small hook. I can walk through the coop and quickly scrape poop into a bucket while I check for eggs. Not only will this keep the number of flies down, it keeps my coop clean in just a few minutes each day.
Flies are also attracted to old food. You probably know that chickens love a lot of the same foods that we do and they will eat leftover food from your kitchen. With that being said, chickens have small stomachs and they can be picky. This means that if you take them a bunch of left over food, it may sit around for a while. Your chickens may get full or they may not like the food you gave them. When this happens, the leftover food sits out and will attract flies. If you notice that your chickens aren’t eating food you gave them, remove it from the coop.
This also goes for chicken feed that gets wet. Wet, moldy or spoiled feed will get picked over by your chickens. Flies, on the other hand, smell a feast. Remove wet or spoiled feed from the coop to keep flies from feasting on it.
Fly traps can be a huge help in taking care of flies if you’re having a big problem with them. Fly traps not only capture flies that are being a nuisance now, but it helps to break the life cycle of flies. Flies reproduce quickly, some in as little as 24 hours after hatching! Capturing adult flies and preventing them from breeding will have a big impact on the number of flies you’ll see.
Flies also have natural predators that you can use to break the life cycle if the idea of traps full of flies grosses you out. You can buy fly predators cheaply and easily online. Simply set the fly predators out and let them go wild on your problematic flies. Most fly predators feed on the fly larvae, preventing them from maturing into adults and breaking the life cycle.
If you’ve tried everything and you still have flies in the coop, you may want to consider putting a ground cover in the coop’s run. Flies are attracted to bare ground, which is the most common floor you’ll see in a chicken run. Planting grass or forages in the run can eliminate flies in the coop. Bare ground can be hard to keep out of a chicken coop run because chickens will eat grasses down to the ground if they don’t have enough space in the run. You can help this by letting your chickens out more frequently. This will give them time out of the coop that they can use to search for grasses elsewhere, leaving your grasses in the coop alone.
It’s impossible to completely eliminate flies, but if you follow these steps, your fly problems will be few and far between.