Do you want to know how to get rid of flies in your chicken coop?
Raising chickens and ducks is one of the best parts of life, but there are a few downsides that come along with it. Like flies! But what is the best way to get rid of flies in your coop and from your backyard homestead, and do it without using nasty chemicals?
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Why Is My Chicken Coop Attracting Flies?
It was an exciting day when I first took my “teenage” ducks out of the brooder in the garage and put them out in their own coop and run in the backyard.
They quickly ate every bit of grass and weeds on the ground, leaving nothing but sand, which is the “soil” we have here. Well the ducks ate, pooped and grew. In a few weeks….the flies started.
It doesn’t matter whether you have ducks or chickens the result will be the same.
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Can My Chickens Eat Flies? Or My Ducks?
Yes indeed, Both chickens and ducks can and do eat flies and fly larvae. In fact, they are very successfully used in rotational grazing to follow behind the cows or sheep and eat the fly larvae and interrupt the fly life cycle.
In my coop, at first, it was kinda cute watching the ducklings eating the flies. They could catch them right out of the air. But ducks and chickens can only eat just so many and soon the flies started to take over.
Why I Needed To Know How To Get Rid Of Flies
The first year I discovered the deep litter method which I felt was the best thing since sliced bread! By covering my ground once a week with hay (some prefer straw, but it’s not available in my area) I saw an almost immediate decline in flies. By reapplying a thin layer ever week it covered the manure and made a much more hygienic area for my ducks to walk.
I would clean it out 4 times a year and compost the partially composted hay and manure. My garden loved it!
This worked wonderfully for 2 years. Then we had an unusually wet summer. It rained buckets days on end. The ground couldn’t absorb any more and it started to puddle. Then that deep litter became the perfect breeding ground for even more flies.
My solution had become an even bigger problem in this unique circumstance.
I had to come up with a new plan.
And since I ate the duck eggs, I needed to do it without resorting to toxic chemicals.
Related: Do Ducks Need A Pond?
How To Get Rid Of Flies In Your Chicken Coop Or Duck Coop?
5 Steps To Control Flies.
- The Right Build
- Recruiting Natural Predators
Build Your Duck Or Chicken Coop The Right Way.
If you haven’t built your coop yet, I will give you two pieces of advice that will help you tons! It is the biggest step in how to get rid of flies.
If you are building a stationary coop. One that will be in the same place for years to come, Make sure it is in a high place. Make sure that the water will drain away from it, not puddle in the yard. Please also make sure it is not going to run into a water source such as a pond or river.
If I had to do it all over I would have brought in fill dirt to build the area up so water did not pool in the duck yard.
Yes, it’s great to have a pond the ducks can splash in, it’s not good if their whole yard is a “pond” all summer long.
But even better than that, if it is do-able for you, is to have a mobile coop and run. One that can be moved every day, so the poop never builds up and you don’t have to worry about any of the rest of this post. Electric fences are great at containing the birds and keeping them safe from predators.
But if you already have your coop. Read on to find out how I learned how to get rid of flies in my coop.
What Are Flies Attracted To?
Why do you have flies in your chicken coop?
Flies have a purpose in the natural world. They feed on and breed in (and help decompose) things that stink.
If it stinks, a fly likes it.
Rotting food and poop are like a five-star restaurant to a fly. These are the top things that attract flies to your homestead. Flies can smell a long way and they breed very fast.
More Reading: Raising Ducks 101 – How To Take Care Of Baby Ducklings
Flies Hate Cleanliness! Clean Up And Stop Attracting Flies.
If you have animals on your homestead you will have flies. But there are ways to control flies.
Some places are not practical for the deep litter method or you choose not to use it. But whether you do or not it’s always best to keep everything as clean as possible.
The first step to keeping flies out of your chicken coop, duck coop or anywhere else on your homestead is to keep it clean.
Clean up the poop. I know it’s a never-ending job, but flies love manure.
Don’t leave rotting food lying around. Put feed away and don’t leave extra on the ground to be wasted and attract flies. It’s best if you have a fly problem, not to feed free choice.
Keep it dry. Flies need water to reproduce. A wet environment with manure and spoiled food is the perfect fly breeding environment. That means removing wet feed and wet bedding. Clean it up and compost it.
Why Is It Important To Get Rid Of Flies?
When you have animals on your property you have to expect the occasional fly, but in large quantities not only do they become a buzzing-nuisance, but they may also cause health problems to your flock.
Flies carry numerous diseases, which is why it is so important to protect your ducks and chickens, your family and neighbors too.
Repelling Flies From Your Chicken Coop.
As I mentioned above, flies like things that stink. Smell is very important to them. All the ways to control flies don’t have to be icky, you can use herbs!
One way to get rid of flies is to repel them by landscaping with herbs. The smell of many herbs will help keep many insects away, flies included. When you plant them, make sure they are outside of a fixed chicken or duck run or they will likely get eaten and not do their job.
Sprinkle Sweet PDZ under the roosts to absorb moisture and control the smell.
Good airflow will also make things smell better and help dry things out quicker.
Keep The Air Moving In Your Coop
Flies don’t like the wind. It messes with their flight. Keeping fans blowing is one way to discourage flies in your coop and around your backyard homestead.
Related: How To Get Clean Water For My Ducks.
Make A Natural Pest Spray
You can help control flies in your coop by making a fly spray right at home by using some simple ingredients. Here are just a few examples.
Just blend up a few herbs and things you can find right in your own kitchen, strain them and put it in a spray bottle. This can then be sprayed in the coop to help freshen the coop and repel flies.
Marigolds and vinegar
Lavender, peppermint, rubbing alcohol and water
Mint and water
Try some different combinations. Give them a try and see which works best for you.
Trap The Flies In Your Coop
Fly sticky tapes have been used since….well let’s just say they are really old. They do collect flies, but if you have a lot of flies these can’t be the only thing in your arsenal. Super fly roll is a great choice. These are really handy to put near doorways, just don’t put them inside where your ducks or chickens can fly into them and get stuck.
The Captivator Fly Trap, however, is amazing! It has a very stinky (remember, flies like stink) attractant. The flies came slowly to my Captivator Fly Trap at first and then when they started dying they stunk more and more flies came. I had to empty it about every week or two. That’s a lot of flies it killed!
The best part is it’s completely non-toxic, so it’s safe to use around livestock (and you). I was amazed at how well it worked.
And it’s reusable!
When the trap fills up with flies, it needs to be emptied. It’s best to dig a hole and bury the flies. It’s kind of a mess to try to put them in the trash can.
When the trap is emptied, refill it with the attractant (you can buy refills) and water and start all over again. It’s a good idea to always have extra fly attractant on hand.
Fly Predators – When It’s Time For The Big Guns.
My Number 1 Suggestion On How To Get Rid Of Flies.
Nature is an amazing thing. Just as flies live on poop. There are things that live on flies.
I was nervous about buying bugs and bringing them into a new environment. But as it turns out, fly predators are naturally here, just not in as large a quantity as I needed them.
Fly predators are tiny wasps that don’t sting. They are a completely safe and non-toxic technique of fly control and are a great choice for farms, stables, or just coops in your own backyard. They never bother your animals. Their job is to lay eggs inside fly pupae. As these hatch, they eat the contents of the pupae. The nuisance flies are therefore killed before they can ever mature.
Although fly predators are probably the best, most effective way to get rid of flies, there are other predators that you can encourage on your property too.
Put up a birdhouse. Tree swallows and purple martins are both known for eating a great deal of insects.
Build a bat house. Bats eat a tremendous number of insects each night. They not only will help you with your fly problem but will take care of many mosquitoes that make your time outdoors very unpleasant. One bat house will house many bats which can also help you control your garden pests.
How To Get Rid Of Flies In Your Chicken Coop and Duck Coop.
I hope this helped you know how to get rid of flies. If you clean it up, Spruce it up with nice smelling plants, trap them and employ predators, you will be on your way to a nearly fly free backyard homestead.
Now you can go back into the coop again and enjoy your birds.
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