I can’t take it anymore, and you fellow chickeneers know what I’m talking about. The FLIES. Oh, the humanity.
Last year, with arrogance born of innocence, I was all: “what’s the big deal about flies? I don’t have a fly problem. What are YOU doing that YOU have a fly problem?”
They had adult hens. And summer.
To be fair, we have some mitigating factors here at Heedley’s Hens. We have had a very warm, very wet winter and spring.
We also have a poop pit, which keeps the poop in the coop for months at a time. There is no smell of poop or ammonia, due to regular dusting with wood shavings, DE, and Sweet PDZ, but this doesn’t seem to deter the fly population.
We also have a half-made man-made pond. It began with a frenzy of work in the fall to get the new pond just created enough for ice skating in the winter. Our bizarrely-warm winter permitted precisely three opportunities for ice skating.
Come spring, the half-made pond fell waaaay down the priority list around here, and it is now a large, plastic-lined hole in the ground with just enough water that the Stepdaughters are having a blast capturing tadpoles. Given the hoards of horse flies plaguing Billie this spring, I have to believe the warm, stagnant water of the pond is a contributing factor.
And then there are the corpses.
What? I haven’t mentioned the corpses?! Sure, I have; you just weren’t listening.
The rats, gentle reader, the rats. The rats with which we were plagued in February and March, have, I am quite certain, had the last laugh. Their poison-riddled corpses, buried deeply under the flotsam and jetsam in the pony stalls, must surely be as perfect a breeding ground for flies as could be imagined. And it is in the coop, and the coop hallway where the flies are worst.
What to do? My first thought was one of those cool, whodathunk applications of a product conceived for a completely unrelated purpose: car freshner.
The experienced chickeneers of Backyard Chickens led me to this home remedy. Note to reader: it must be the Vanillaroma scent. Apparently, flies find it repellent.
Result? This might work if you have a mild to moderate fly problem, but it was not up to the task at hand. I have two in the coop, and while the flies don’t actually land on them, I can’t say I’ve seen a significant decrease of the population. On the plus side…the coop smells awesome.
Time to get back to basics, then: old-fashioned fly strips. I put up five (I wasn’t messing around; it’s biblical in there, and I’m talking Old Testament). Here’s what one of them looked like after 24 hours:
These are meant to last months, but I need to replace them now, only a few days later. Why? Because I have seen flies escape the strips by bouncing off the corpses of their less-fortunate brethren. You heard me. There’s no more room at the strip.
The good news is, it seems to be working. It’s only half of a horror show now, and at least the strips are cheap.