How To Keep Flies Out Of The Chicken Coop
Why is my chicken coop attracting countless flies? Can I chase flies away without having to use toxic products? Is it even possible to get rid of flies if you have chickens?
Like every other creature on Earth, flies have a role to play in nature.
In large quantities, however, 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 imperative to keep your chickens protected.
Take a look at the 3 step program we’ve outlined below and learn how to keep flies out of the chicken coop!
Eliminate flies in chicken coops – How do you keep flies away from the chicken coop?
Getting rid of flies is a many-sided effort. There’s no such thing as a one-miracle solution that will instantly fix the issue and, if there is one, it is yet to be discovered.
Luckily, we’re about to share with you some of the most effective methods that together form the best way to get rid of flies in chicken coops.
Step 1. Flies dislike cleanliness!
To win the battle against flies, one has to first understand what exactly is it that attracts them?
So, let’s get down to it…
Some of the most powerful fly magnets are manure, food, moisture, and muck in general. Thus, the first step for evicting those whirring insects from chicken territory is to:
- Give the chicken coop a good scrubbing
- Ensure the coop has proper ventilation
If you want to deep clean the coop naturally, without having to expose your flock to harmful chemicals, have a look at how Jill Winger from The Prairie Homestead cleans and disinfects her hen house using natural products only.
Once your chicken chateau is sparkling clean, aim to keep it that way. Do so by mucking out manure and removing leftover kitchen scraps daily, as well as by washing the feeder and waterer regularly.
Also, remember to add fresh bedding frequently to weaken any smells.
You can find suggestions on how to correctly build vents into your coop by reading our article on 10 Simple Tips To Help Build a Better Chicken Coop, and find more information about chicken coops in our article on How to Build Your Perfect Coop.
Just remember to cover vents with fine-wire mesh to prevent flies from coming in.
By securing your coop with mesh you can prevent all types of predators and pests from entering your coop, not just flies!
Do chickens attract flies? And are flies bad for chickens?
Chickens themselves don’t attract flies.
What may attract flies, however, are chickens’ open wounds or poopy bottoms… something your flock should stay as far from as possible to avoid Flystrike.
Flystrike, a.k.a. Fly Blown or Myiasis, occurs when the botfly, blowfly, or screwfly lay eggs in open wounds or in excrement cemented around the birds’ vent. This will result in illness and potentially even death.
So just like the coops, make sure you are keeping your chickens as clean as possible.
If they have excrement on their feathers, give them a gentle bath or trim to help prevent infestation (Something to keep in mind, especially if you own Silkie or Polish Chicken Breeds).
Check out My Pet Chicken’s overview of the condition to learn more about it.
Step 2. Bring in some backup – How to control flies naturally
If cleaning your coop hasn’t completely deterred the flies, it might be time to try out some natural reinforcements.
There are tons of herbs that act as pest repellents. Sweet basil, bay laurel, lavender, tansy, wormwood, and citronella grass are amongst the most popular to scare flies off.
Some people hang them either fresh or dried in and around the coop, while others plant them directly on the coop – as in the form of a green roof – or in nearby spaces.
Worried about your hens eating these herbs?
No worries… many herbs actually act as superfoods for your chickens. Basil, for instance has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
Lavender not only has antibacterial properties too, but can act as an egg laying stimulant. Additionally, marigold and mint – two other fly-foul herbs – are great antioxidants.
Learn more about the topic by taking a glance at Fresh Eggs Daily’s article, Common Herbs and their Health Benefits for You and Your Chickens.
Natural fly repellent
Make a fly spray for chicken coops right at home by using The Frugal Chicken’s simple recipe! It is easy to make and requires 4 ingredients only – lavender, peppermint, witch hazel or rubbing alcohol, and water.
The Prairie Homestead, on the other hand, has shared their own straightforward formula that uses vinegar, vanilla extract, essential oil, and water.
Why does vanilla repel insects?
Vanillin, one of the compounds found in vanilla, is responsible for the unique scent and flavor as well as for driving bugs away. A study mentioned in Jack Mao’s research on essential oil based mosquito repellents demonstrated that by adding merely 5% of vanillin into other essential oils, their protection time was prolonged by 7 hours.
Note that synthetic vanillin is the most common (commercially), and will not have the same effect as the one that is naturally extracted from vanilla plants.
Diatomaceous earth (DE) is a naturally occurring sediment made from the fossilized remains of microscopic aquatic organisms known as diatoms.
This material has become a popular natural pesticide over the years, because of its capacity for penetrating insects’ exoskeletons.
Use it by moderately sprinkling it around the coop’s bedding and/or in spots where your chickens dust bathe. Then, allow the coop to ventilate for at least 1 hour before letting your flock back in.
Be sure to wear a mask and glasses while you handle DE, as it can irritate your nasal passage and respiratory system, as well as your eyes. Also, use food-grade DE only!
Step 3. Fetch the heavy artillery
We’ve kept the chicken coop neat, we’ve turned to natural fly control methods… now it’s time to make use of handy traps.
Although you can find loads of fly trap options on the market, there are 2 that have stood out from the rest: the Captivator Fly Trap and the Super Fly Roll.
Starbar’s Captivator Fly Trap is a reusable plastic container that has a lid with various openings through which the flies enter.
For this trap to work, one must put a Fly Trap Attractant pouch inside the container, which is a small sack containing a mix of Z-9 Tricosene, Indole, Trimethylamine, Inedible Whole Eggs Solids, Sucrose, and other ingredients.
Some of this product’s disadvantages include its bad smell, and the fact that having a collection of dead flies right next to your coop is not exactly appealing to the eye.
Watch Mama Kat’s Home's 5 minute video review below to further check out this product:
Victor Poison Free Super Fly Roll contains 3D patterns and colors that attract flies, and a sticky surface to which the flies are glued. It is 19 feet long, so it allows you to cover large areas, or to simply cut the amounts you need little by little.
Some of this product’s disadvantages include the occasional curling of the roll (instead of hanging down straight), and that despite working wonders for many, it just doesn’t allure flies as well for others.
If you’re not convinced by commercial traps, try making a homemade fly trap for chicken coops, as shown by Lisa from Fresh Eggs Daily.
Can my chickens eat flies?
Chickens can act as heavy artillery themselves – they do eat flies!
It is not unusual to see one’s hen bouncing around and curling herself into odd positions to try and catch a winged treat.
Some chicken keepers even feed black soldier fly larvae to their flock as a source of protein. If anything, chickens themselves are your last move prior to checkmate.
Say farewell to flies in the chicken yard!
Backyard chickens and flies seem to come together, but if you take proper action you’ll see how the numbers of winged insects begin to reduce. This can be summarized in:
- Preventing Cleaning the chicken coop regularly and ensuring it has good air circulation.
- Repelling Using herbs, DIY sprays to drive flies away, and/or diatomaceous earth.
- Trapping Buy fly trap products such as the Captivator Fly Trap and the Super Fly Roll, or make your own.
Follow these steps and let us know in the comment section below if our article helped you to eliminate flies in the chicken coop…
If it did, don’t forget to share this guide on fly control in chicken houses!