They’re pesky, disease ridden, and abundant. Once they invade, they’re quick to colonize and almost impossible to exterminate.
Outdoor flies are especially drawn to livestock. If you have chickens, you probably have them buzzing around the chicken coop at this very moment.
We did too, and now three years later, we’re practically fly free!
Lucky for you, we’re here to share our tips and tricks that finally got rid of the flies for good.
During our first summer with backyard chickens we endured the epic fly battle. They were absolutely everywhere, and it seemed there was no stopping them.
We tried every simple tactic we could find on the internet.
- Vanilla scented air freshener hung around the coop? Check.
- Plastic baggies filled with water and a penny? Check.
- Homemade fly repellant with various scents and herbs? Check.
- Dinky little Fly ribbons hanging from the ceiling? Check.
None of them worked.
In fact, I saw flies just hanging out on the air freshener and plastic bags, so it’s pretty clear those weren’t going to work for us. The hanging fly strips sort of worked, but did more damage than good. They would catch about five flies a day, and honestly did a better job of catching our flying chickens than they did with the insects. After I found one of our hens with sticky fly tape all over her, I took them down.
We tried every product at the farm store that claimed to get rid of flies. The fly repellant, poisons, and traps added up to over a dozen products! We finally found some that actually work, and we’re going to share them with you today!
Tips and Tricks to Get Rid of Flies in the Chicken Coop:
First off, let’s cover the basics behind these pests.
Why are there flies in my chicken coop?
Flies tend to congregate in areas where livestock live for several reasons. First off, they are attracted to the smell of manure and decomposing food. As I’m sure you’ve noticed by now, chickens poop a lot, and they also tend to make a big mess of their food, water, and treats.
Flies also love chicken coops because they like to breed in wet or moist areas. Litter that has been moistened by rain, droppings, or the water fount are a great breeding ground for pests.
Take these steps to get rid of flies for good:
Clean that Coop!
First off, clean the coop out completely. Flies are attracted to smell and moisture, and they feed on manure. Get rid of it ASAP.
Remove the litter from inside the coop and the run. Clean out any leftover feed, kitchen scraps, or old eggs that you might find along the way. Scrub down the inside of the coop with white vinegar.
If you’re a fan of using Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth, sprinkle it around on the floor of the coop and run.The DE will help to dehydrate droppings and kill fly larva at the same time. Be sure the chickens aren’t nearby while you spread it, as DE floating in the air is not good for their delicate respiratory systems. We like to let the birds out to free range and take care of the coop cleaning and DE while they’re out.
When the coop is completely dry, put down fresh, dry litter in the coop and run.
Also, take the time to ensure that water isn’t pooling anywhere, as this is where flies love to breed. Secure water founts so they aren’t spilling into dry litter. If the chicken run doesn’t have a roof, place tarps over the top to keep water from pouring in.
A dry coop is a happy coop!
Next, Get yourself some fly traps
As stated earlier, we tried over a dozen different types of fly traps and repellants before we landed on two that truly work.
The Captivator Fly Trap works wonders for getting rid of flies.
The best part? It’s completely non-toxic, so it’s safe to use around livestock. When we first put it out, it filled up completely to the top in just a few days. Mind you, we had a lot of flies to deal with, but it’s still mighty incredible.
Follow the instructions on the bottle carefully to fill the trap. The best place for the trap is on the ground, in a sunny spot. If you can’t set it directly on the ground, it can be hung up, but try to get it as close to the ground as you can. Make sure the pop top on the lid is up, so flies can go into the holes to get into the trap.
It’s a good idea to place the trap at least 30 feet away from the chicken coop. The idea is to draw the flies away from the coop, so put the jug where you want the flies to be, not where they are. Also, this trap does begin to smell bad as it fills, so it’s a good idea to place it far away from foot traffic.
This is the Captivator Fly Trap completely full after only a few days:
If you have a lot of flies, we suggest also getting a Super Fly Roll and hanging it right next to or behind the captivator fly trap.
When we hung The Captivator, we saw that a lot of flies would land near the trap before going inside.
Hanging the Super Fly Roll right next to the captivator captured all of those lurking flies. Hundreds of them stuck to the trap in just the first day.
These large fly strips tend to blow in the wind and fold over on themselves, so make sure to secure the top and bottom of the trap very well to prevent this. It’s a good idea to also place the traps somewhere inaccessible to your curious chickens.
Trust me when I say you don’t want them tipping these over or getting stuck in them.
This photo is from our first weekend using these traps. We have since moved them to the other side of the yard to lure the flies away from the chicken coop.
Cleaning and maintaining the traps
If the Captivator Fly Trap doesn’t seem to be attracting flies right away, give it a few days for the attractant to really kick in.
When the trap fills up with flies or gets too smelly it needs to be emptied. We found from experience that the trap can’t be emptied into a trashcan, not only because it stinks so much, but because recent entrants into the trap are still alive and can escape after they dry off.
This rather disgusting realization lead to a period of experimentation on how to dispose of the flies in the trap.
Although I’ve heard some people do, we don’t feed the flies to the chickens. The attractant is non-toxic, but that doesn’t mean it should be eaten in large quantities. I mean, Crayons are non-toxic too, but we don’t cut them up and sprinkle them on our salad!
The ick factor is what really keeps us from feeding the flies to our birds. Flies are gross, I hate when they land on my food and do my best to keep them out of my life. I certainly don’t want my chickens to eat a whole pile of the diseased little pests and then lay the eggs that I eat for breakfast.
Instead, we’ve found a great way to dispose of the flies without risk of any survivors. Simply dig a hole about a foot deep, quickly pour the contents of the trap into the hole, and fill it back in as quickly as possible.
When the trap is emptied, refill it with attractant and water and start all over again. We buy extra fly attractant in bulk and always have it on hand. While the attractant that comes with the captivator does work well, I’ve found that the Victor Fly Magnet Bait is much cheaper and works faster, so we’ve been using that for the past few years.
Maintain the Cleanliness of the Coop:
Now that you know how to get rid of the flies, you need to focus on keeping them away.
It’s so important to take time at least once a week to either lay down some fresh litter, or remove what is soiled in the coop and run. The use of a droppings board under the roost is helpful here. The droppings can be cleaned off and disposed of every morning, eliminating them completely.
Another great option is to use the deep litter method in the coop. The deep litter method provides a good environment for helpful bacteria and nematodes, which help to keep down the pest population at the microscopic level. This method does take some effort to be done properly, but we feel it’s well worth it for healthy, happy chickens!
To review, our fly trap arsenal is as follows:
Good luck to you and good riddance to those flies!