Radio interview source: Ralph Williams, Professor of Entomology, Purdue University
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Where there are chickens, there's manure. And where there's manure, there are flies. Fly control in the chicken house starts with good sanitation and manure management.
Ralph Williams is an entomology professor at Purdue University. He says the house fly is the primary species that breeds in moist chicken litter and manure. To keep fly numbers down, the key is sanitation and manure management.
"The fly life cycle is about 7-10 days. If you can at least once-or-twice a-week remove the manure, that would be the ideal situation," Williams says. "Otherwise, keeping it as dry as possible, fans blowing over it will help. Dry manure of 30% or less really is not ideal for fly breeding. It's that manure that's wetter than that that actually creates fly breeding habitats."
What you do with the chicken manure is also critical to keep flies away. Williams recommends composting it, or spreading it thin on gardens and fields so it dries quickly and breaks the breeding cycle.
Proper sanitation should be your primary means of fly control, but selective use of fly bait is another option. "There are a couple of granular baits on the market that are very effective. These can be scattered around the chicken area as long as the chickens don't have access to it," Williams says. "This can at least help in reducing adult fly numbers. Some of these fly baits can be mixed with water as a slurry to apply onto the walls and serves the same purpose. But again, that should not be a primary means of fly control."
Clean up spilled feed and broken eggs. And keep grass and weeds mowed to eliminate resting areas for adult flies.