Anyone that has owned chickens can tell you that chicken coops can attract flies! They can be very annoying and really get out of control too.
Did you know that it’s not chickens that attract flies, but the environment that they are living in? If you want to control flies around your chicken coop, you need to make sure that you don’t provide them with a food source or a place to breed.
This article covers chicken expert tips that if you implement will help to get flies around your chicken coop under control. The more tips that you implement, the better!
1. Clean the Chicken Coop More Frequently
Chickens poop all day and all night, averaging about 14 times a day. Chicken poop is one of a flies favorite meals and these excrements also provide the perfect place for flies to breed and lay their eggs.
Once a fly lays its eggs, it takes between 8-20 hours for them to hatch into larvae or “maggots.”
Pro Tip: Always wear protective gear when cleaning your chicken coop! For more helpful tips on this, read my article Can Cleaning a Chicken Coop Make You Sick? (9 Tips).
Can Chickens Eat Maggots?
Maggots are perfectly fine and in fact very nutritious for your chickens to eat. They contain a good amount of protein, which is great for molting chickens and laying hens. In the wild, chickens forage for all kinds of bugs and insects, including maggots!
Fly larvae will become flies in as little as 4 days or up to 5 weeks, depending upon the environment. The hotter it is, the quicker fly larvae will mutate into flies. Flies thrive when the temperature reaches 95-100℉.
Make it a point to clean the chicken coop more frequently. This can be as simple as adding more pine shavings to the chicken coop to absorb the moisture, or not having drinking water inside of the chicken coop where it can spill.
Chickens do not need to eat or drink in their coop at night. All food and water should be put away at night.
Don’t just top off your chickens food and water. Make it a point to routinely clean their feeders and waterers.
2. Keep the Coop Dry
When chickens poop, it is mixed with their urine. This can make for a lot of moist poop building up in your chicken coop or run, especially if you don’t do a routine cleaning.
Flies love moist areas to lay their eggs and an uncleaned chicken coop is perfect for this. This is where they prefer to breed and lay their eggs. An adult fly can lay up to 500 eggs in one day and within as little as 4 days these eggs will hatch into baby maggots.
3. Locate Compost Pile Away from Coop
Composting chicken manure is a great way to make top quality garden soil! Just make sure that you located it as far away from your chicken coop as possible. The farther away, the better.
For step by step instructions on how to make garden soil out of chicken18 manure, read my article How to Make Garden Soil Out of Chicken Manure.
Composting bins and piles also attract all kinds of rodents. The last thing you want is to attract both rodents and flies to your chicken coop.
If you are adding table scraps to your compost bin, avoid adding any dairy products or meats. Flies and rodents are especially attracted to these things.
4. Hang a Bag of Water with Pennies Inside
Many people swear that hanging a bag of water with pennies inside deters flies. Some people say this a superstition, others say it is an old wives tale.
Pennies and Water Bag Instructions
- Fill a 1 gallon ziplock bag 3/4 full of water.
- Add several pennies to it (4-5).
- Zip up the bag.
- Hang it in an area that you have flies.
How Do Pennies in Water Keep Flies Away?
Flies have 2 large complex eyes that contain up to 6,000 simple eyes. They rely on the sun to see what is going on around them. They have a mosaic view of the world around them.
A fly relies on the sun to guide them when flying. When you fill a 1 gallon bag with water and toss several pennies inside, sunlight is refracted when it hits the bag of water. This confuses flies, making them leave the area.
5. Use Diatomaceous Earth
Diatomaceous earth kills a wide variety of bugs, including flies! You can pick this up at your local feed or pet store, or if you have Amazon Prime you can purchase on Amazon for less.
Diatomaceous earth, DE, is a fine powdery looking substance. It is made from sea dwelling algae, diatomites, which are fossilized mineral deposits.
To humans and pets it feels soft and powdery. But to insects it is very sharp. It works by getting under their wings, drying them out and killing them.
|FUNGUS GNAT||CODDLING MOTH|
6. Use Irish Spring Soap
Irish Spring Soap has a strong scent to it. The only way I can explain the smell is that is is a citrusy, woodsy, herbal type scent.
While humans may use this to clean up in the shower, insects such as flies do not care for the strong scent. Instead, they will avoid areas that smell of it.
How to Use Irish Spring Soap to Deter Flies
- Purchase Irish Spring Soap- Try your local dollar store for two packs of Irish Spring Soap.
- Purchase mesh bags- My local Dollar Tree carries 8 packs of these in the baby shower party section.
- Take a knife and cut a bar of soap into little chunks.
- Add a few pieces of soap to each mesh bag.
- Hang these mesh bags filled with Irish Spring Soap in and around your coop.
- Watch the flies gradually disappear!
7. Don’t Leave Chicken Food Out All Night
Flies love chicken food and will lay eggs in their feed containers. Make it a point to wash out the feed and water containers. Don’t just top them off. Topping them off will only encourage egg laying and the development of maggots and flies.
On top of attracting flies, leaving food and water our all night also attracts all kinds of chicken predators. For more information on protecting your chickens from predators, read my article 11 Common Backyard Chicken Predators – How to Best Prevent Attacks.
8. Use an Oscillating Fan
Plug in an oscillating fan in an area where the flies are hanging out. (Using a fan is also a good way to cool off your chickens during extreme heat.) You will notice that they begin to scatter in order to get away from the wind. Any type of wind or breeze causes flies to have to work extra hard to fly. Instead, they fly away from the wind where it is easier for them to get around.
9. Use Pine Shavings Instead of Straw in Coop
Pine shavings will absorb moisture and moisture is what you want to avoid if you want to keep the flies away. Chicken poop contains moisture and if you use a bedding such as pine shavings, it will absorb it.
Straw is very poor at absorbing any moisture and will begin to mold if it isn’t cleaned on a routine basis.
10. Hang Air Fresheners
You can find these at your local dollar store or any auto store. I always get mine at my local Dollar Tree.
Try to find a scent that flies don’t like such as peppermint, pine, eucalyptus or lavender.
These are all suggestions that will work around other farm animals as well. For more information on how to control flies on the farm, read the article Fly Control on the Farm.
11. Keep Grass Trimmed
A popular place for flies to lay their eggs is in moist grass. To stop the eggs from hatching, keep up on mowing your lawn. During the warm summer months, mowing at least once a week should be good.
If you have a dog, make sure that you pick up any poop on the grass. This can attract the flies.
12. Apple Cider Vinegar and Dish Soap
ACV Dish Soap Fly Deterrent Recipe
- Fill a bowl with about one inch of apple cider vinegar.
- Add a few drops of dish soap.
- Place the bowl in an area that has flies.
- Flies are drawn to the ACV and once touch the surface of the liquid will stick to it and drown.
For other uses of apple cider vinegar around your chicken coop, read my article 12 Uses of Apple Cider Vinegar Around Your Chicken Coop- How to Make Your Chickens Happy, Healthy and More Productive.
13. Decrease Clutter Around Your Coop
Clutter around a chicken coop can attract flies. Rake up any dead leaves and other yard debris. This can attract flies. If you are saving your chicken manure to make garden soil, store it at least 50 feet from your coop(and your house too).
14. Plant and Scatter Herbs Around the Chicken Coop
15. Plant Flowers and Shrubs that Deter Flies
Why not beautify the area around your chicken coop with flowers and shrubs that will help to deter flies? An added plus is that the same shrubs and flowers that deter flies (lavender, citronella, mint and rosemary) will also help to deter many rodents such as rats, mice, opossums and raccoons.
The stronger the scent, the bigger the deterrent!
|FLOWERS & SHRUBS|
16. Use Essential Oils
Flies do not like quite a few strong scents. Use this to your advantage and add a few drops of essential oils to a cotton ball and hang it in a mesh bag in your coop. The same scents that flies don’t like, quite a few rodents don’t care for either!
|TEA TREE OIL|
17. Make a Fly Spray Repellant
You can make a simple, natural fly repellant with only 3 ingredients and a spray bottle. You can either rinse out an old spray bottle or get one at your local dollar store. The 3 ingredients that you need are water, apple cider vinegar and a few drops of Dawn Dish Soap.
As an option, you can add essential oils to give it a nice scent. Try choosing a scent that also deters flies, such as peppermint, lavender, citronella or lemongrass.
Recipe for Homemade Fly Spray Repellant
- 1 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1 Cup Water
- A few Drops of Dawn Dish Soap
- (optional) Add a few drops of essential oils.
Conclusion: How to Control Flies Around a Chicken Coop[Naturally]
Chickens do not attract flies, but the environment that they are living in can. Flies thrive in an environment that is warm, moist and provides food for them. During the warm summer months, a dirty chicken coop makes the perfect environment for flies to multiply.
Keep your chicken coop, run and surrounding areas clean and uncluttered. Make sure your chickens’ environment has good ventilation and is dry.
Plant herbs, flowers, shrubs and hanging different scents around your coop that will keep flies from visiting.
A chicken coop doesn’t have to be covered in flies. If you are having problems with flies around your chickens, make a change to their environment by following the tips above and you will see a big difference!