15 Tips to Reduce FLIES Around the Chicken Coop

When keeping chickens or other animals, flies are an expected nuisance, but there are steps that can be taken to reduce the overall fly population, thereby limiting the risks of disease they carry. Flies thrive in warm, moist, "fragrant" environments and different types of flies require different elimination tactics, making a multi-pronged strategy necessary. So...let's roll one out!

When keeping chickens or other animals, flies are an expected nuisance, and steps should be taken to reduce the overall fly population to limit the risks they pose to chickens. Flies thrive in warm, wet, “fragrant” environments and different types of flies require different elimination tactics, making a multi-pronged strategy necessary. So…let’s roll one out!

When keeping chickens or other animals, flies are an expected nuisance, but there are steps that can be taken to reduce the overall fly population, thereby limiting the risks of disease they carry. Flies thrive in warm, moist, "fragrant" environments and different types of flies require different elimination tactics, making a multi-pronged strategy necessary. So...let's roll one out!

1. Remove the Poop: Promptly remove nightly droppings from the chicken coop. A droppings board is the best solution to eliminating this stinky fly attractant and it takes less than a minute daily to keep the coop poop-free!

Remove the Poop: Promptly remove nightly droppings from the chicken coop. A droppings board is the best solution to this stinky fly attractant and it takes less than a minute daily to scrape it down & add the manure to the compost pile.

2. Sand for the Driest Coop Possible: Use sand as chicken coop litter and ground-cover in the run. Sand coats droppings and dries them out, reducing odors and moisture simultaneously. Details on how to use sand as litter here.

Use sand as chicken coop litter and run ground cover. Sand coats droppings and dries them out, reducing odors and moisture simultaneously.

3. Plant Warfare:

While planting herbs around the coop makes for lovely landscaping, herbs like lavender, mint and rosemary do not repel flies, mosquitoes, mites or lice.

You can see from these photos that my mint, basil and thyme flourish in my chicken yard- my chickens don’t eat them..

Plant herbs around your coop and yard. Basil, lavender, mint and rosemary are all natural fly repellents. Grow some carniverous plants that eat flies.

4. Keep Drinkers OUT of the Coop: Chicken drinkers should be kept out of the coop to eliminate the most obvious and avoidable source of moisture from the coop. Chickens don’t drink water while they’re sleeping, so keep it in the chicken yard or run during waking hours.

This insulated Premier 1 poultry nipple drinker keeps water cool in the heat and prevents freezing in winter with an electric heating element.

5. Clean Up After Snack Time: If giving chickens fruit treats, promptly clean up remnants before the flies find them. Limit treats to a maximum of 2 tablespoons per bird occasionally to avoid diluting the nutrients in their feed and prevent obesity.

Clean Up After Snack Time: When giving chickens sweet treats, especially when trying to help them beat the summer heat, don't leave sticky, sweet remnants behind that will attract flies. Clean up the rinds & compost them.

6. No Pooling Water: Eliminate stagnant, pooling water, which can be a breeding grounds for flies. Install drainage where necessary.

Keep it Dry: Eliminate stagnant, warm, pooling water, which serves as breeding grounds for flies. Install drainage where necessary.

7. Employ Helper Insects:  Fly Predators are tiny, non-stinging wasps that eat fly larva so they have no chance of hatching & becoming adult pests. The challenge with Fly Predators is that chickens love eating them, so they must be strategically placed.

Compost manure vertically instead of horizontally in a wide pile. This increases the compost temperature, expedites decomposition and minimizes the amount of surface area exposed and fly-attracting odors.

8. Compost manure vertically instead of horizontally in a wide pile. This increases the compost temperature, expedites decomposition and minimizes the amount of surface area exposed and fly-attracting odors.

9. Dial up Compost Temperature: Cover compost with black plastic sheeting to increase the temperature inside the pile. Flies warm temperatures, not hot. Turning the pile also keeps the pile cooking because the process requires oxygen.

10. Relocate the Compost Pile: Locate compost pile as far away from the chicken coop and chicken yard as practical.

11. Keep It Moving: Install fans to promote airflow inside the coop. Air turbulence makes flying difficult!

12. Eliminate Straw: Avoid the use of straw with chickens. Straw is not absorbent and when it gets wet from droppings, drinking water, etc., it begins to decompose, creating a fly attractant. Learn more about what makes straw inappropriate for use in coops here.

Straw is not for chickens

13. Vanilla scented air fresheners. Some chicken-keepers swear by them. They can’t hurt and might help. Read more about using them here.

Vanilla scented air fresheners. Some chicken-keepers swear by them.

14. Fly traps. Each type of physical fly trap has its drawbacks: some are stinky, nasty to look at and some are costly, but most are effective to varying degrees. The type of inexpensive, disposable trap shown below should be hung no higher than four feet from the ground. They’re stinky, but they work. Never use hanging sticky fly strips with chickens- they inevitably manage to become tangled in feathers.

Fly traps. Each type of physical fly trap has its drawbacks: some are stinky, nasty to look at and some are costly, but most are effective to varying degrees.
  • The Epps Biting Fly Trap attracts flies that bonk into the unit, fall into soapy water and drown. My neighbor has been using hers for years and can’t say enough good things about it. A visit to her chickens and horses is remarkably fly-free. You can see my neighbor’s Epps unit in this photo behind Scooby, the white horse enjoying a dust bath.
The Epps Biting Fly Trap attracts flies that bonk into the unit, fall into soapy water and drown. My neighbor has been using hers for years and can't say enough good things about it. A visit to her chickens and horses is remarkably fly-free. You can see my neighbor's Epps unit in this photo behind Scooby, the white horse enjoying a dust bath.

15. Spinosad the Coop
My treatment of choice for flies, lice and mites is veterinarian recommended Elector® PSP (the active ingredient is Spinosad).  “Spinosad (fermentation product of Saccharopolyspora (a type of bacteria). Single use controls all stages of mites.  Also kills flies, beetles, agricultural insect pests. Can be used directly on laying hens and to spray buildings.” Elector PSP has no withdrawal period and can be used safely with chickens inside the coop. Spray in a clean coop at the rate of 1 ounce per 5 gallons of water.  Learn more about the use of Elector PSP here and here.

Elector PSP treats lice, mites and flies in the coop and on the chickens safely with NO egg withdrawal period.
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Kathy, The Chicken Chick®Jean HopkinsAliciaLillie crossMarty Recent comment authors
Jean Hopkins
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Jean Hopkins

I have to hens that are broody one has been for about 3 weeks the other longer keep taking them out of the coop they keep go back in , had no eggs for all this time .

Alicia
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Alicia

Great tips! They are getting bad in ours lately, but I’ve been neglecting the coop. :/ Hopefully I can get on that soon!

Lillie cross
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Lillie cross

Hi Kathy where can I get the sweet coop in larger bags ? Right now Iam ordering from amazon but 5 pound bag dosnt last very long at all

Marty
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Marty

I’ve used sand in the coop and run since the beginning and seldom had a significant fly problem. This year there are two mini-cows and a mama horse and baby foal on the premises and holy moley there are flies everywhere. Good to know these additional possible remedies.

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