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Expert tips and tricks for backyard chicken keeping

How to reduce flies in the chicken coop

How to.., Pests

If you have chickens, you probably have flies. They’re pesky, disease-ridden, and abundant. Once they invade, they’re quick to colonise and almost impossible to exterminate.

Flies thrive in warm, humid, and smelly conditions. They tend to congregate in areas where livestock lives. They are attracted to the smell of manure and decomposing food. As I’m sure you’ve noticed by now, chickens poop a lot, and they also tend to make a big mess of their food, water, and treats.

Here are our best tips to stop flies around the coop:

  1. Keep a clean coop

Remove old litter from inside the coop and the run, including the nesting boxes. Clean out any leftover feed, kitchen scraps, or old eggs that you might find along the way. Make sure droppings are not building up. Scrub down the inside of the coop with coop clean or our homemade coop cleaner.

Ensure that water isn’t pooling anywhere, as this is where flies love to breed.

Here’s how to spring clean your coop.

2. Litter

We recommend sand as the ideal coop litter to deter flies. Sand covers droppings and dries them out, reducing odours and moisture – the two biggest fly attractants! Alternatively, hemp is a great choice for keeping bugs at bay.

3. Natural Fly Deterrents

Flies hate the distinct smell of many herbs. You can hang herbs, either fresh or dried, in the coop to repel flies, or you can sprinkle them on the bedding. Don’t worry about your chickens eating them, either – these herbs are great for chickens’ immune functioning and overall health. 

Some great herbs to consider for fly deterrence are:

  • Basil
  • Camomile
  • Lavender
  • Lemongrass
  • Oregano
  • Mint
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme

Or try our Nest Blend, which has all the right natural organic ingredients ready to go.

4. Fly Traps

Fly ribbons are a non-invasive method that works well to get rid of flies in your chicken coop. They are an old-fashioned, nontoxic, and insecticide-free but effective way of controlling flies around the coop. Just make sure to hang these high enough so the chickens cant access them. They may try to eat the flies off the strips and can get stuck themselves.

Eco Fly Traps can also be hung around the coop. They are pesticide-free, non-toxic, food-grade ingredients and are a safe and effective way to trap flies.

5. Ventialation

Make sure your chicken coop has good ventilation and airflow.

Consistent airflow is one way to reduce the fly population in your chicken coop, and although it’s simple, it’s quite effective.

If there are open windows on either side of your coop, then a strong cross breeze will keep flies away.

6. Food Scraps

Flies are attracted to feed, especially when it gets wet . They are also attracted to food scraps.

Pick up (or cover-up) any leftovers once the chickens are done eating will help to keep flies away (it will also discourage other pests like rodents). 

7. Poop Buildup

Flies are also attracted to manure. It’s important to keep the coop and run area clear of excess droppings.

8. Consider adding ducks to your flock

Ducks of all breeds eat bugs, and they love digging in the dirt and slurping on puddles and standing water looking for bug larvae, so it’s a good bet that adding a few ducks to your backyard will help control the fly and other pest populations.

9. Diatomaceous Earth (DE)

Sprinkle DE in and around coop bedding or in areas where chickens take their dust baths. DE works from a mechanical aspect, not a chemical one, as it tends to dry out insects and make areas less hospitable for larvae.

The key with DE is not to expect it to be a ‘miracle fix’, but rather a component of a full fly-prevention program.

10. DIY Fly Repellent

On top of the above mentioned tips, why not try a natural fly repellent?

Chicken Coop Fly Repellent Recipe

  • 2 cups vinegar 
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract 
  • 40 drops of essential oil – Rosemary, basil, dill, peppermint, spearmint, lavender, thyme, geranium, lemongrass, citronella, lemon, or orange.

Combine all ingredients in a spray bottle. Shake well, and spritz generously in the coop wherever flies congregate.

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