Fly Control In The Chicken Coop
Controlling the fly population in your chicken coop and run is important for several reasons. Let’s take a look at why you need to keep the flies in check and how you can go about doing that.
Be a Good Chicken-Owning Neighbor
If the fly population gets out of control, they can annoy your family and your neighbors. Keeping flies in check is especially important if you live in a suburban or urban area with neighbors nearby. Letting the fly population explode definitely won’t make you popular with the family or the neighborhood.
Help Fight Parasites in Your Chickens
Flies can serve as an intermediate host for tapeworms. Since there are no approved wormers for use in laying hens that are effective against tapeworms, controlling the intermediate host is important.
Ways To Reduce Flies
The first step in keeping the fly population under control is to keep the chicken manure cleaned up. During the summer months, daily cleaning of the area under the roosting bars may be needed. Remove the manure to an area outside of the coop and run area. You can move it to a composting area where the manure can be mixed with dry material such as the used litter, dry leaves and dried grass clippings. Mixing the high nitrogen manure with dry material will decompose over time to produce great compost for your garden.
Keeping the coop and run dry is also helpful in reducing fly populations. Flies thrive in wet, stinky conditions such as a pile of soggy chicken manure. So keep your coop dry with diatomaceous earth, agricultural lime, clean pine shavings and/or sand on the floor of the coop. Make sure the run area is well drained.
Ventilation is also important in keeping the coop dry. If you have a secure run attached to the coop, try leaving the coop door open to allow for extra ventilation during the hot, humid days.
After you have the coop cleaning regime down, you may need to install some other fly control methods. Disposable fly bait traps, electronic bug zappers, and sticky traps are some of the best ways to help attract and eliminate flies during the height of summer. Be sure to keep the traps out of reach of your chickens, however. You don’t want them coming into direct contact with any of these, especially the electronic zapper or sticky traps.
There are several herbs that may be useful as fly repellents that are safe to use around your chickens. Rosemary, mint, basil, dill, lavender, thyme, bay leaves and tansy have all been reported to have fly-repelling properties. Planting the plants near your chicken run (but not directly in the run) may help repel flies. You may also try mixing the essential oils of some of these herbs with water and use as a coop spray to repel flies. Do not spray directly on the chickens.
Tell Us Your Tips
Keeping the fly population in check during the summer months goes a long way in making your chicken-keeping experience a pleasant one, while also keeping your chickens healthy. Do you have any fly control methods not mentioned here? Tell us about it in the comments.
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