It’s summer – finally.
With summer comes so many beautiful things… fresh vegetables from the garden, sunny days and cool nighttime skies dotted with stars, bonfires, barbeques…the list goes on.
But unfortunately, with the warmer weather also comes an increase in some gross stuff, too.
If you have livestock, you probably have flies. It’s just an unfortunate reality of raising animals.
But while flies are a natural part of any ecosystem – and particularly a farm – you definitely don’t want them hanging around. Flies can transmit a variety of diseases and they are attracted to feed, manure, and other necessary variables that you’ll inevitably have when you raise chickens.
If you’re interested in finding a few ways to keep flies out of the chicken coop – or your other livestock pens – look no further. These are the best remedies for getting flies out of your chicken coop.
**J&R Pierce Family Farm is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to allow sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products on Amazon. I often link to Amazon when recommending certain products, and if you choose to purchase, I may earn a small percentage of the sale. It costs you nothing extra, and all recommended products are ones that I personally vouch for. **
1. Keep Feed Locked Away
This is a good habit to get into for a variety of reasons – like avoiding attracting other scavengers and potential predators – keeping feed closed up will help keep pests like flies away, too.
Now, if you engage in a free feeding system, this can be a bit of a challenge. However, investing in a hanging feeder gets it up off the ground where the chickens will be less likely to spill it and make it harder to clean. You should also store your feed in airtight drums or containers instead of leaving open bags in the coop – this will make feeding easier and also reduce feed spoilage.
2. Clean Your Coop Regularly
Get rid of that poop! Nothing attracts flies quite like fresh manure. Keep your coop and run free of manure. You might want to put dropping boards under the roost bars, which will make it easier to clean that area.
At the very least, even if you aren’t cleaning your coop once a week (or even once a month – guilty) you should be adding fresh bedding every week at a bare minimum. This method, known as the deep litter method of bedding your coop, is a great way to cut down on smells and to keep flies at bay.
You might also want to consider sprinkling diatomaceous earth on the floor, as this will keep things cleaner and also reduce the likelihood of a mite or lice infestation.
3. Invest in Ducks
Some breeds of ducks will eat flies, but more importantly, they’ll eat bug larvae. If you have a lot of standing water on your property, it might be worth your time to invest in a flock of ducks to help reduce the populations of mosquito and fly larvae, too.
4. Make a Fly Spray
If flies are being a pain in other areas of your property besides your coop – including in your house – it might be worth your while to whip up a batch of all-natural fly spray. You can whip up a batch using a mixture of water and essential oils such as:
This can be sprayed in your chicken coop (or wherever else you might need it) on a daily basis – or more often, if needed.
5. Add Screens
If you have chicken coop windows or vents, make sure you add some window screens. You probably already have predator wire on them, but this likely has gaps big enough for flies to get through. Add some screens to keep them away.
6. Rethink Your Bedding
You can use a variety of materials as bedding in your chicken coop, but it might be time to rethink what you’re using. While straw and paper serve as excellent natural bedding materials – and also help build up that compost – they aren’t great at repelling flies.
Sand works much better because it coats chicken droppings and reduces both odor and moisture – each of which can attract flies.
7. Consider Herbal Remedies
Flies hate the distinct smell of many herbs. You can hang certain 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 – most herbs are great for chickens immune functioning and overall health.
Here are some to consider:
- Bee Balm
- Bay Leaves
8. Move Your Waterer
It might be time to reevaluate the position of your chicken waterer. If you currently have it inside your coop, move it out to the run. Your chickens don’t need water while they’re sleeping, and are more likely to knock it over and soak the bedding when they jump down off the roost. Putting it outside will reduce moisture in the coop.
9. Make Sure the Coop is Ventilated
If you aren’t doing this already, now is the time to make sure your coop has really excellent ventilation. Add windows to your coop if possible, or use a gentle circulating fan designed for use in a chicken coop, like this one, to help keep the flies out – it will also cool down the coop during the hottest days of the summer.
10. Clean Up After Treats
You should limit the amount of treats you feed your chickens anyway, but if you do feed treats or scraps, make sure you clean up any leftovers immediately.
11. Use Fly Strips
I hate fly strips. They’re sticky, they’re disgusting, and they make a huge mess.
However, sometimes, when you’ve got a major fly problem, they seem to be the only thing that works.
You can hang fly strips in your chicken coop – just try to put them where the chickens won’t be constantly bumping into them.
12. Consider Fly Predators
You can purchase about 5,000 fly predators online for less than $20. Basically, fly predators are live insects that feed on larvae and help disrupt the breeding cycle of flies.
This is effective if you live in a very remote area and perhaps only raise chickens – if you have a fly problem on a larger scale (like if you raise other livestock or live near large farms), they aren’t as effective.
13. Scrub a Dub Dub…Out Your Chicken Coop
Even if you engage in regular cleaning of your chicken coop – which usually consists of just scraping out soiled bedding – you might not be able to get every last bit of manure. This is where a deep-cleaning might come in handy.
Remove all the bedding from your coop, and use water and apple cider vinegar to scrub any last bit of poop out of the coop (see what I did there?) When you’re finished, you can put down a dusting of diatomaceous earth or spray with mint essential oil to repel flies and keep them from coming back.
14. Upgrade Your Dust Bath
Make sure your chickens have dust baths! If you’re prone to biting pests, like deer flies or mites, dust baths will help your chickens form a natural barrier to keep bugs off of them.
Dust baths in which food-grade diatomaceous earth is applied can also help your flock, as the diatomaceous earth repels flies and keeps other pests at bay, too.
15. Cultivate Some Fly-Repelling Plants
If you want to be truly eco-friendly and innovative here you can plant some fly-repelling plants in or near your chicken yard.
Plants like marigolds, basil, nasturtiums, oregano, and mint not only repel flies, but they’re also really good for your flock – so if your chickens snack on them it’s no harm, no fowl.
I mean, foul.
16. Consider Chicken Tractors
If you aren’t already, it might be time to consider using chicken tractors on your property. Putting chickens in moveable pens is a great way to fertilize the soil, till up your garden, and provide your chickens with access to consistently fresh pasture every single day.
Plus, pasture-raised chickens who are moved every day don’t have a chance to attract flies – gone are the stinky piles of chicken poop and the need to change chicken coop bedding what seems like every other day.
Putting your birds in portable housing is one of the best ways to cut down on pests. If you don’t have the resources or the time to build one of these, I recommend investing in movable poultry netting so that you can move your birds at least every few days – or whenever they’re ready.
17. Get rid of the mud
Unfortunately, mud is an unpleasant reality on most farms. However, the more mud you have, the more likely you are to have standing water. Standing water is a breeding ground for pests like mosquitoes and flies. Try to reduce standing water and mud by following these tips.
So there you have it! These are the best ways to prevent flies in your chicken coop, as well anywhere else your chickens might like to spend their time.
What are your top tips for keeping flies out of the chicken coop? Let me know in the comments!
Subscribe to our email newsletter for regular tips and tricks on homesteading – wherever you are. You can also follow us on Instagram (@jrpiercefamilyfarm) and Pinterest (J&R Pierce Family Farm) for frequent updates. Happy homesteading!
Want to learn more about raising chickens? Be sure to check out these posts!
- How to Butcher Chickens
- How to Keep Predators Away From Your Chickens
- The Best Egg-Laying Chicken Breeds
- The Ultimate Guide to the New Hampshire Chicken Breed
- How You Can Make Money Raising Chickens