7 Methods for Controlling Flies Naturally around your Chicken Coop and Run

June 26, 2018



Flies are a nuisance in the summer and they can also transmit disease and the dreaded flystrike to your chicken flock.  Attracted to both feed (especially wet feed) and manure, their numbers quickly multiple if left unchecked.

Of course spraying chemicals around your coop and run is out of the question, and sadly chickens don't eat flies, so what's the best way to control flies naturally around the area?


Now that we live in Maine, the fly season is considerably shorter than it was in Virginia, but we still do battle flies during the warm months. From my years living in the South, I have compiled the best ways I've found to keep the fly population down in and around your coop and run area.


Don't Leave Feed and Treats Out


Flies are attracted to feed, especially when it gets wet (listen up all you duck owners!). They are also attracted to food scraps.

So picking up (or covering up) any leftovers once the chickens are done eating will help to keep flies away (it will also discourage other pests like rodents). 

I use enamelware covered roasting pans for my chicken feed. It's easy to just put the cover on each evening to keep flies and mice out of the feed.

You can pick them up inexpensively at secondhand stores if you don't happen to have any extra pans lying around.



Sprinkle some DE

Of course some feed spills onto the ground, and you need to leave the feed out for your chickens to eat, so I like to sprinkle some DE (food-grade Diatomaceous Earth) on the ground around the feeders.

Non-toxic and perfectly safe if the chickens eat some (DE is actually added to human cereal and other foods for its anti-caking properties), the DE will kill and swarming flies and any eggs they lay around the feeders by piercing their hard shells with its microscopic sharp edges.

It won't hurt animals or humans - as I mentioned, it's added to human grade food products - so generously sprinkle some on your coop floor and in your nesting boxes as well to keep other pests like ants, mites and lice away as well.



Scoop the Poop


Flies are also attracted to manure. It's important to keep the coop and run area clear of excess droppings. I have a dropping board installed under the roost in my coop, so it's easy to scrape the poop off each morning and dispose of it in our compost pile.

If you don't have a dropping board, be sure to sprinkle DE on your coop floor and to rake out the soiled litter regularly.



Consider Getting some Fly Predators


Hands down the best way I've found to battle fly populations around the coop are fly predators. Widely used in horse and cow barns, they have found their way to chicken coops.

It's best to get started with them just before the fly season begins, so too late for this year, but something to think about for next spring. Read all about them HERE.



Install Window Screens


I'm sure you all have predator-proof welded wire on your coop windows and air vents, but consider installing regular window screen as well.

This will keep flies and other pests from entering your coop and bothering your chickens while they sleep.



Hang Herbs


Try hanging some fresh herbs in your coop. Herbs like basil, bay, bee balm, chamomile, lavender, lemon grass (citronella), mint, rosemary and thyme are good choices that flies and other pests don't seem to like.

You can gather them in a bunch and simply hang them from a nail, or put up a small rack in your coop to hang them from. Go a step further and plant herbs around the perimeter of your run and in boxes under your coop windows.



Add Some Ducks to your Flock

While I've never raised muscovy ducks, I've heard that they eat flies!

Ducks of all breeds do eat bugs, and they love digging in the dirt and slurping on puddles and standing water looking for bug larvae, so it's a good bet that adding a few ducks to your backyard will help control the fly and other pest populations.



If you're feeling a little bit more crafty and ambitious, here are some more ideas for keeping flies away that I have tried with varying levels of success.



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