Get Rid Of Flies In Your Chicken Coop For Happier Hens!

Get Rid Of Flies In Your Chicken Coop For Happier Hens!

Get rid of flies in your chicken coop this summer before life gets too buggy.

 

We’ve got our fly control situation in full gear (hot Southern summers!). 

 

With the amount of manure we have on our farm (with horses, pigs, goats, and rabbits in addition to our chickens), to say we have a LOT of manure is something of an understatement.

 

The key to getting rid of flies, I’ve found, is to try to stop them from breeding. 

 

While you’re never going to get rid of ALL of them, you can do a good job decreasing the population, especially if you have just a few chickens.

 

Studies show that if you get rid of flies in your chicken coop, Campylobacter is less likely to spread, keeping you, your family, and your flock healthier. 

 

Luckily, keeping flies away from your chicken coop is easier than it seems as long as you follow a few critical steps. 

 

While there’s a lot of ideas in this article, I think the basis of any program to control flies is to start with a clean chicken coop

 

Without that critical first step, you’re just managing a situation that will eventually overwhelm you. You also might need to use more than one idea on this list—I’ve found preventing flies from returning takes a couple different plans of attack.

 

That being said, here’s ideas to get you started to get rid of flies in your chicken coop!

 

Keep your chicken coop clean

 

Keeping your flock’s home clean will go a long way to helping you get rid of flies in your chicken coop.

 

Flies like manure, muck, food, and whatever else they can find in chicken coops.

 

If you make sure your hens’ home is relatively manure and crud free, less flies will be attracted to it.

 

To clean your chicken coop, you can use a rake to remove soiled bedding, old hay from nesting boxes, etc. Sweep out whatever debris is left.

 

Next, use plain water or water and citrus vinegar mixture with a scrub brush to get rid of any manure that might be hanging around your chicken coop.

 

Wear rubber gloves, because this step can get kind of messy and with all the bacteria in your chickens’ digestive systems, you don’t want it getting on you.

 

Finally, top everything off with a mint essential oil spray to kill bacteria and repel flies.

 

When cleaning your chicken coop, do not use bleach at all.

 

Bleach combined with the ammonia from their manure can create poisonous fumes. All natural is best in this case to get rid of flies in your chicken coop.

 

Make sure, as well, that you’re removing old feed, since food attracts flies.

 

One study showed that flies might transmit avian flu, get rid of flies in your chicken coop to keep your flock healthy.

 

Use all-natural fly repellent

Repellent is a pretty no-brainer way to get rid of flies in your chicken coop, but going all-natural is again your best option.

 

You’ve taken all these steps to limit your flock’s chemical exposure already. Don’t drop the ball at the last minute and go with something laden with them.

 

Making your own natural fly repellents is easy. Consider using mint or calendula essential oils, which are said to repel insects.

 

 

After formulating your repellent, spray in your chicken coop daily or as needed.

 

 

Fly strips

 

Strips are a non-invasive method that works well to get rid of flies in your chicken coop.

 

We use them in our house, and as soon as we put on up, within minutes, flies have found their way onto them.

 

The problem with strips is if you have a lot of chickens, they probably won’t be able to keep up with the amount of flies.

 

If you only have 4 or 5 chickens, however, and your coop is otherwise clean, then you can give them a try.

 

Just remember that fly strips can’t really take the place of a clean chicken coop. So, they’re best used as part of an overall pest control plan, rather than relied on as a sole strategy.

 

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Use herbs like mint and marigold

 

Certain herbs are known to be pest repellents, and might help get rid of flies in your chicken coop. Mint and calendula (marigold) are two herbs known to fight off the mighty fly.

 

You can hang dried or fresh herbs in your coop as part of an overall pest control plan.

 

They also have an added benefit: they’re very good for your hens, so if your flock decides to snack on them, so much the better.

 

You can also incorporate live marigold and mint plants around your chicken coop.

 

It’s a nice way to upgrade your chicken coop area as well as reduce the fly population.

 

 

Fly predators

 

Fly predators are gaining popularity, and we’ve used them around our horses in the past.

 

These are live insects that feed on larvae to interrupt the breeding cycle of flies. 

 

You do need to use them monthly, but you can find 5,000 predators for about $20.

 

While they’re effective, if you live near other farms that don’t use them (such as large dairy farms or farms that don’t exercise any fly control), they’re less effective.

 

They’re more expensive than other options to get rid of flies in your chicken coop, but not outrageously expensive.

 

Click here to see an example.

 

Make sure your chicken coop has good ventilation and add air flow

 

Consistent air flow 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.

 

Another option, if your chicken coop has electricity, is to use a fan.

 

Make sure you use a gentle circulating fan rather than a large industrial one to ensure your chickens don’t accidentally get injured.

 

While any fan can obviously hurt them if they try hard enough, a fan with a safety grate with ¼” openings or smaller will work fine.

 

Diatomaceous earth

 

Diatomaceous earth works by cutting through the exoskeletons on insects, and so it can help reduce the flies in your coop.

 

When your hens are out of the chicken coop for a while, sprinkle the DE around lightly.

 

Remember that it can be caustic if inhaled, so wear a safety mask.

 

It won’t work immediately—DE takes a while to get into the flies’ bodies, but it works against larvae as well.

 

Chickens

 

Your chickens themselves are a good way to control flies.

 

On our farm, we have 8 horses, and few flies comparatively because the chickens hunt the larvae and keep the population under control.

 

In fact, we have several chickens whose entire existence is about keeping the flies down.

 

A word about traps

 

Traps work relatively well killing adult flies.

 

But there’s a couple caveats that I should mention.

 

The first is that you’re only killing adults—not getting rid of the larvae.

 

So you’re reacting to all the bugs in the coop, and not hitting them where it matters.

 

The other thing about traps is after a while, they smell ungodly disgusting.

 

To this day, I cannot walk by one without wanting to vomit. Particularly if you’re pregnant, avoid using traps, and opt for a different solution. You’ll thank me.

 

So, if traps work for you, then go for it, but there’s other options I prefer to try first.

 

I’d like to hear from you!

 

Do you have any ideas to get rid of flies in your chicken coop that I missed? Leave a comment below!

9 Essential Oils To Repel Insects Naturally (And Get Your Yard Back)

9 Essential Oils To Repel Insects Naturally (And Get Your Yard Back)

It’s summer…and it’s buggy. This time of year, the heat and humidity are bad enough, and I break out my go-to essential oils to repel insects when we’re outside.

 

(This article is based on my new book Organic By Choice: The (Secret) Rebel’s Guide To Backyard Gardening. Grab it on Amazon here!)

 

I have another recipe where you can use herbs, but I’ve found oils work better because they’re concentrated plants in a bottle – so much more powerful than just the herbs themselves when it comes to insects.

 

Because they’re weaker than oils, if you spray yourself with an herbal solution, it will dissipate faster – so you’ll need to spray yourself again and again. With oils, I found we only need to do it once or twice while outside.

 

In this article, we’re going to talk about recipes you can make at home that you can use on yourself and your family to keep bugs at bay.

 

The bugs we’ll discuss are:

 

  • Ants
  • Flies
  • Wasps/Hornets
  • Mosquitoes
  • Ticks

The Go-To Essential Oil For Killing Insects

Yes, there is a single one you can depend on (although there’s more you’ll want to use). Orange essential oil kills insects because it destroys their exoskeletons. In any recipe you make yourself, be sure it includes orange essential oils.

 

A word of note: Citrus essential oils, in large quantities, can harm your cats because it interferes with their liver. (It’s fine with other animals.) If your kitties hang out outside a lot, then don’t spray orange unless you can be sure your kitties will not be outside for 24-48 hours. Use any of the other alternative oils we talk about in this article, and just make sure there’s good circulation.

 

Ants

I hate these buggers. They’re arrogant insects, thinking they can get into whatever sugar I leave on the counter and invading my home whenever suits them….but there is hope.

 

The BEST I’ve found to repel ants is cinnamon oil.

 

Because it’s so strong, it interferes with their neuroreceptors and they can’t send signals (by pheromones) back to their nest to come grab whatever goody they’ve happened upon. It unnerves them, and they leave the scene rapidly.

 

It’s satisfying to watch the insects scurry away.

 

You can apply cinnamon directly to the area you want the ants to leave, without dilution, or you can dilute 10 drops in 8 oz of water or rubbing alcohol. Shake before use, and spray away.

 

If you plan to spray it directly ON the ants, also mix 10 drops of orange essential oil into the spray bottle. (If you’re allergic to cinnamon oil, you can use any of the oils listed above as an alternative).

 

If you plan to spray it on yourself, dilute it with carrier oils like coconut or sweet almond, or dilute with water or alcohol. Cinnamon is a “hot” oil, meaning on people with sensitive skin or children, it can cause skin irritation. Be safe.

 

Flies

I hate flies even more than ants. They’re just as annoying insects, except they ACTIVELY try to get in your face.

 

I have a great article with my favorite recipe to get rid of flies with essential oils here. It’s the best recipe I’ve found, and it actually works. It includes lemongrass and eucalyptus (which have many more uses than fly spray, by the way).

 

Wasps/Hornets

 

  • Mint
  • Eucalyptus
  • Citronella

Mix 8 drops of any of the above oils with 1 tablespoon of coconut oil or any other oil you love. Rub it on your body to keep the suckers away.

 

In this article, I show you how to eliminate wasp nests with liquid castile soap – You can also add the above oils along with orange to the castile soap mixture to kill ‘em dead.

 

Word of warning: You don’t want to use the orange essential oils on your body to repel wasps  – it will ATTRACT them since it smells sweet (wasps are attracted to sweet smells), and it can trigger photosensitivity (potentially causing some nasty burns) if you plan to remain outdoors.

 

(Orange is otherwise VERY safe to use – just avoid it on areas that will be uncovered if you plan to be out in the sun for a while.)

 

Mosquitoes

Summertime is mosquito time on our farm. With all the poop we have, the rotten insects LOVE to build nests and breed….and freeload off our livestock.

 

Whenever we go outside, I grab my purple spray bottle containing the following oils (in equal parts, mixed with 8 oz of water). As a bonus, we all smell better.

 

Citronella : Everyone knows that citronella repels mosquitoes, and it’s my go-to oil to repel ‘em. You can mix it (in a roller bottle) with any of the oils we discuss below for a more powerful solution that’s convenient to put on.

 

Eucalyptus: Eucalyptus oil has been used since the 1940s to repel mosquitoes, and is approved by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as an effective ingredient in mosquito repellent.

 

Lavender: Lavender essential oil is great for relaxing and smelling good, but did you also know it can repel mosquitoes? Lavender can also be used to support healthy skin!

 

Ticks

Ahh…ticks. The lovely buggers that gave me lyme disease about 10 years ago. That was not fun…lots of yogurt, since I couldn’t eat anything else while I recovered.

 

These days, our chickens do a pretty good job of keeping the population down (yet another bonus to keeping a backyard flock), but if you plan to go camping or take a walk in the woods, here’s some essential oils you can put in a roller bottle or a spray bottle (along with water or alcohol – rubbing alcohol stays on longer) to repel the dirty insects.

 

You can mix and match 8 drops of oil with 8 oz of water or alcohol:

 

  • Rosemary
  • Lemongrass
  • Cedar (cedarwood oils)
  • Peppermint
  • Thyme
  • Eucalyptus

 

The CDC has even said that the above are safe essential oils to repel insects (specifically ticks!)