How to stop flies in the hen house

Flies in summer can become a nightmare. But did you know that flies in the hen house can make your hens very sick? So here are some tips on How to stop flies in the hen house.

Here are the reasons you want to keep flies in check in your chicken run as well as easy ways you can control them before they become a health hazard for your chickens.

Top 4 reasons to stop flies in the chicken coop

  1. Flies carry disease into the coop. We know they are only small insects but they can bring some seriously nasty germs into the chicken coop such as Campylobacter and also Salmonella. These two diseases can pass on chickens and humans alike.
  2. Flies and their larvae called maggots also spread the bacteria Clostridium Botulinum. You probably know the last bacteria as botulism. When flies land on wet chicken feed or decaying scraps, they can spread the botulism bacteria. Once the bacteria start to grow in numbers, fly larvae feed on the wet feed and magnify the toxin they ingest.  The biggest challenge here is that hens love to eat juicy maggots. But if the maggots are full of toxic botulism and the chickens consume them, it can lead quickly to paralysis of the chicken and also death.
  3. Flystrike is another major reason to keep flies under control. If flies lay eggs on hens their maggots eat and feed on the chicken. Open wounds on the chicken are a big invitation. So it is important to keep an eye out for signs such as infections, open wounds, and sores. If you see wounds you should quarantine the hen, treat the injury or sore, wait for good health to be restored before placing the hen back with the flock. Healthy hens generally do not  get flystrike. But chickens with open wounds or a dirty vent are prime candidates.
  4. If flies do get out of control in the coop or run they will start to venture around the home.

What’s the attraction for flies in the coop?

In hotter months such as summer, flies love pretty much everything about a chicken coop. Inside or outside doesn’t matter. The simple fact is flies love warmth, damp and food. And your henhouse and its chicken run offer everything they love. The main attractants for flies are:

  • chicken poop
  • rotting scraps
  • wet, damp feed
  • mud and puddles
  • damp spots under the drinker
  • moist areas caused by chicken droppings

How to stop flies in the hen house

The obvious way to stop flies in the henhouse and run is by removing the things they love.

  1. Keep the henhouse clean
    Every month you should give your henhouse a thorough clean. Avoid the use of toxic chemicals and use organic apple cider vinegar instead. Apple Cider Vinegar is known for its strong antimicrobial ability to kill germs. And because it is all-natural it lets you kill the germs, leave a fresh fragrance and at the same time, help control flies. Another good thing about ACV is a thorough once a month clean together with replacing bedding and you help control chicken mites.  So it’s definitely a win, win solution that should be first and foremost in your mind.

  2. Remove droppings regularly
    Chicken droppings are a big invitation for flies. Use dropping trays and clean them daily if possible. Change bedding regularly and inspect the pen for any build up
    of droppings in the run. If you compost your droppings use a compost bin with a lid or ensure your open compost bin is located nowhere near the house or the chicken run.

  3. Remove left over scraps
    Leftover food scraps will start decaying very quickly. This is another prime attraction for flies. The easiest way to avoid uneaten food scraps is to only provide your poultry which enough scraps which can be consumed within 20 minutes. If there is anything left over remove it and next time, feed them with a little less.

  4. Stick to fruits and vegetables
    Not only are fruits and vegetables the healthiest scrap choice for your laying hens but they also attract fewer flies than cooked food, dairy, and meat.

  5. Keep the coop dry
    By avoiding wet and damp spots in the coop and run you help attract fewer flies. Install a roof over part of the chicken run. Fix any
    muddy puddles up. If you use a drinker that allows the chickens to splash the water around, invest in a Dine A Chook Drinker to eliminate this problem once and for all. It is really important to locate your chicken coop in a sunny, well-drained location.

Control flies in the henhouse without chemicals

For many of you who keep chickens and poultry, avoiding the use of chemicals is of top importance. Here are some great natural ways which can help you control flies in the coop.

  • Install fly traps – many grocery stores and also hardware stores carry fly traps. There are several different types around. We have found the ones which use a natural fly attractant to lure the fly into the trap are the best. The ones which use natural attractants are generally biodegradable so it’s a win for you and a win for the environment.
  • Flypaper is also another great way of catching the flies. The paper has an attractive fragrance to lure the flies and once they land they are stuck.
  • Aromatic herb plants. Did you know some aromatic herbs not only look beautiful in a garden but their odor also repel flies? Favorite choices are mint and lavender, bay leaf as well as basil. Planting these around the chicken run and coop may be the summer answer you are looking for. Also, essential oil sprays from these plants are also successful ways to cut down flies.

While we are on the topic of plants, consider some of the herb plants above in conjunction with other plants to help prevent your chickens from getting bored.

Use lavander to help control flies in the chicken coop
Use herbs to help keep pesty flies away from the chicken coop

Diatomaceous earth is also natural and will kill flies. But use it cautiously as it also kills essential insects like bees. You should only use it sparingly as it is harmful to chickens and humans if inhaled.

If there is no other alternative and you choose to use chemicals to get the situation under control we suggest you use a residual insecticide spray. Once again keep in mind this also can kill bees and other insects.

Happy Chicken Keeping

Rachael – Dine a Chook

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