I tried a few different ways to repel the flies, but this DIY Fly Catcher is easy to make, effective and an inexpensive way to rid your chicken run of flies.
Here are some other ways to combat the fly population in your run:
Sprinkle food-grade Diatomaceous Earth around the feeders and in the coop and nesting boxes. I also add some to my layer feed. Flies are not supposed to be attracted to the feces of animals who eat DE.
Hang sticky fly strips up high enough that the chicken's won't get stuck to them - or hang them just outside the run. These have been around for ages and there's a reason why - they are inexpensive and they do work.
We've also tried the Big Stinky which is basically a large glass jar you fill with water and a dead fish...and yes, it stinks ! It works, but it really reeks. So I just bought this Captivator, which is the same type thing. There's an attractant that you put inside and then you hang it in your run.
The Captivator seems to be catching gnats more than flies, so I decided to make my own fly catcher.
DIY FLY CATCHER
I have seen a few ideas on Pinterest for making your own fly catcher using a soda bottle and decided to try my hand at DIY Fly Control.
Here's what you need:
One or two liter plastic soda bottle
Raw fish (I used some freezer-burnt shrimp I found in the back of the freezer because I didn't have any fish)
Here's what I did:
Using a sharp knife, cut the top off a clean soda bottle right before it starts to curve inward.
Turn the top upside down inside the bottle and line up the cut edges then staple around the edge to secure in place.
Using a hole punch, punch three holes equidistant from each other along the top rim.
Then string some fishing line through each hole and tie securely, leaving three long tails.
And tie the three lines together in a knot about a foot or so above the bottle.
I didn't have any fish, so I chopped up a few frozen shrimp and slid them into the bottle.
And then followed them some maple syrup.
One thing you don't want to do is catch any beneficial honey or bumble fees in your fly catcher. I have been told that adding some vinegar to the catcher will deter bees but still attract flies, wasps, yellow jackets and hornets. So vinegar goes in. I didn't really measure anything, just poured in a healthy amount.
Then hang the fly catcher in your run, preferably over the feeding area. The premise is that the flies will fly in, attracted to the stinky decaying fish and also the sugars in the maple syrup, then get stuck in the syrup and not be able to fly out again.
Of course your chickens will give it that 'what the heck is she hanging in our run NOW !??!?' look!
Inexpensive, easy and hopefully effective! Stay tuned and I'll let you know how it works!
UPDATE: Two days later...a few flies in it, not alot, but oddly, there are fewer flies around the feeder the last day or so....hmmmm. Inconclusive so far, I'll leave it up and keep you updated.
Oh, and a fan suggested adding a bit more liquid, so I did pour some water in to double the amount of liquid inside.
LATEST UPDATE: The added liquid plus the decomposing shrimp is sure starting to attract flies.
As you can see, just flies have been caught. No bees. So that's good.
I will have to make a few more of these.