If you have chickens, you probably have flies. We did too, until we learned the best ways to get rid of flies in chicken coop!
Flies. 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 we’re practically fly free!
Lucky for you, we’re here to share our tips and tricks that finally were able to get rid of flies for good.
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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 fresheners hung around the coop? Check.
- Plastic baggies filled with water and a penny? Check.
- Homemade natural fly repellents with various scents and herbs? Check.
- Dinky little Fly ribbons hanging from the ceiling? Check.
- Use essential oils and fresh herbs to get rid of them the natural way? Check.
None of these attempts 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 they were the best way 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!
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 perfect breeding ground for pests.
Best Way to Get Rid of Flies in the Chicken Coop
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 chicken manure. Get rid of it ASAP.
Remove the litter from inside the coop and the run, including the nesting boxes. 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 bedding 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!
Keep your Compost Pile Clean
If you raise chickens you may also be a composter!
Composting is a wonderful way to turn chicken poop, bedding, yard scraps, and kitchen scraps into usable soil for your garden. The problem is, a compost pile that is not well maintained can make a fly problem much worse, because it’s providing lots of free food for the flies.
Tips to keep flies out of your compost:
- Make sure your pile has the right ratios of greens to browns, too much green material, like chicken poop or food scraps, will draw lots of flies.
- If possible, keep your compost pile covered to keep flies out, a compost bin could be helpful here.
- Pile dry brown material like leaves, straw, or pine shavings on the top of the pile so food and poop is buried down deep.
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 to get 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 with dead flies in just a few days. Mind you, we had a lot of flies to deal with, but it’s still mighty incredible, and this is a truly effective way to cut down on your fly population really quickly.
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 note, this trap does begin to smell very 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. 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 6-12 inches 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 to help us get rid of flies for the past few years.
Maintain your Clean Chicken Coop
Now that you know how to get rid of flies, you need to focus on keeping them away.
It’s so important to take time at least once a week to clean the chicken coop really well. 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.
Check frequently if there is wet feed or stagnant water in or around your coop.
Make sure you remove wet bedding and replace it with fresh bedding often to keep the adult flies from reproducing in your coop.
Even after the number of flies decreases, keep fly traps out to keep populations down as much as possible.
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:
I hope this post has helped you to get rid of flies in the chicken coop. If you have any more questions please leave them in the comments!
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Friday 11th of November 2022
[…] Photo Credit: Backyard Chicken Project […]
Friday 17th of June 2022
Captivator didn't work at all for us... Any idea for trapping lesser house flies?
Sunday 7th of June 2020
I have backyard chickens which hatched a lot of chickens by they die as they are bothered by Tsetse flies. This insects, if i may call them, they close chicken eyes and suck their blood. I have lost a lot of them and now i need something that can control these tsetse flies.
Sunday 10th of January 2021
Hi I have had chickens for the last 13 years. we installed a black soldier fly compost system in our coop 6 months ago. The food supply is amazing! We live in Queensland Australia and are in a Humid wet season. The flys this year are worse than ever, never seen this many. Have just set four fly captivators Will see how we go. Any suggestions? Shona
Saturday 30th of November 2019
In the 50s My grandmother kept chickens .never a fly. She had a concoction of saw dust hay and of course I can’t remember the third ingredient besides chicken poop. . I am sure someone will. The theory was that with continual raking by the chickens they ate the larvae. Coop was set up that eggs were collected from outside as the nest boxes opened from waist high outside. Also, nesting boxes cleaned from outside running water and feed troughs all acessed for replenishing from outside. Had to have council approval from the council. I think she got the design from England.
Thursday 7th of February 2019
Currently, I'm in SFL where flies are a problem year round, but I found a way to get rid of almost 100% of them. I attract/maintain black soldier flies. Not only does the scent of these drive the houseflies away, but the bsf larva will eat housefly larva. As an added benefit, the larva are a great extra source of protein for the birds. BSFs are not disease carriers as they do not eat, so I rarely see the adults (they only come around to lay eggs then disappear again). Are these even a thing up north? I'm going to be moving to VA and intend to keep birds up there, too. (Wintering with them will be an interesting challenge!)
Wednesday 8th of April 2020
Where is SFL? I'm fighting flies in North Central Florida.