Flies in the coop is something that everyone with chickens deals with. What most of us want is a natural way to keep flies in the coop to a minimum. And I am here to tell you that not all natural fly control works…but some do! Here in the Phoenix summers flies in the coop become quickly out of hand if we don’t take measures to stop them. Something about the heat of summer brings those nasty boogers out in droves!
The first thing you need to know about your chicken coop and your homestead…you’re never going to get rid of all the flies. But we CAN fight the good fight and reduce them significantly.
Flies in the Coop How to Get Rid of Them Naturally
I have 7 natural ways for you to fight the good fight against those flies in the coop and still keep hens happy, healthy and chemical free. You’ll find that there are free measures that EVERYONE should be doing. The other fly control methods will be up to you to test and find what works for you.
Clean Up The Poo
Flies love poo…no easier way to say it. So the best way to keep the fly population down in your coop is to keep it clean. Every morning you’ll want to clean under your roosting bars (I have a small coop so there is a pan to catch most of it). Then you’ll want to clean up your nest areas as well. Add that wonderful manure to your compost area and put fresh bedding in your coop. In the summers I like to add a little Sweet PDZ under the roosting area to aid in keeping the area dry and odor free; which also seems to attract less flies. This can be especially helpful if you know you’re not going to be able to clean one morning, for whatever reason.
Keep It Dry
Speaking of dry…flies also love damp areas. So you want to keep your coop as dry as possible. If you’re unable to give the whole coop and yard area a cleaning daily you’ll want to have a bedding that absorbs well. One of the most effective things that I have found is sand; you can almost clean it like a kitty litter box. I have yet to find a way to keep that sand in the yard but replacing it periodically hasn’t been too much of a time or budget issue. Check out the Chicken Chick’s article on using sand in the coop.
No Rotting Food
If you’re like me many of your food scraps will head to the coop before making the compost. The hens love a treat and I love sharing it with them. BUT you must take away all food scraps at the end of the day, preferably before the sun goes down. You do not want rotting food in your coop attracting flies……………..or RODENTS! Keep a rake near the coop to scoop up any remains will make this easy and you can add that to your compost too.
See my tips for keeping a Rodent Free Coop too!
Let ‘Em Free Range
If you have the space and means to keep them safe, letting your flock free range some of the day will help keep the coop cleaner too. And spreads that manure out around your property. Not to mention it is great for the health of your chickens and your hens will have better eggs to boot! The only downside it they will poop on your porch…which will bring flies there; so have a plan to keep them off.
You can use the flies mortal enemies to your advantage. Fly predators are another great way to combat flies in the coop with very little work on your part. Fly predators are going to literally kill flies before they become, well flies. This is NOT a replacement for keeping your coop clean and dry but an added weapon in the battle of the flies. Fly predators come shipped in shavings. You’ll place these shavings in areas close to your coop (but not where your chickens can eat the helpers). The female fly predators will lay her eggs inside the fly pupae which keeps the flies from developing and creating more warriors against flies.
Plant and Herbs and DE…Oh My!
Let’s talk plants as a means of fly control. The first thing I would recommend on this route is to put a few Venus Fly Traps in pots near your coop (but not where your chickens may try to feast on them). Not only do these little carnivorous plants eat flies, they make a very interesting conversation piece.
Your next line of defense is planting plants that repel flies. Among these are lavender, sweet basil, lemongrass, citronella grass and lemon balm.
You can also use these herbs, dried in your nests and coops as a pleasant deterrent. Or you can buy pre-made herb bags especially for your coop.
And then there was diatomaceous earth or DE. Using only food-grade DE you can sprinkle some in your nest boxes and coop bedding; and adding a bit to their feed is said to attract less flies. For more on DE see my article on using Diatomaceous Earth on Your Homestead.
Lastly lets talk fly traps as a means of controlling flies in the coop. I put them last because, frankly. they should be your last means of defense. Fly traps are only going to deal with adult flies and I prefer to keep them away or get ’em before they develop into adults. BUT we can’t get them all, and that is a sad fact. So we must have a way to trap those who make it to adulthood. My recommendation is to use sticky strips and replace them often. The strips aren’t using chemicals or anything else that actually attract flies, they are simply catch them. I have found that the other fly traps stink and to my mind just end up attracting every fly in the area to me. Sure they show results in the sheer number of flies in the traps but would I have had that many if I wasn’t baiting them there to begin with?
Naturally preventing flies in the coop isn’t hard but it will take some diligence upon your part, especially in warmer months. But your coop and chickens will be healthier for it and you won’t be swatting as many pests in the house either.