Flies are everywhere when spring comes. It’s not only annoyance to your cattle, but also will affect their productivity. Before temperature start to rise, it’s better to take precaution to control it to keep your cattle live more comfort.
Fly can affect poor health in general for your cattle. It can also cause stress which will impact lower birth rates and weaning rates to your cattle. Rather than letting this happen, it’s better to take preventive measures to control it.If you are having cows, you might be interested in knowing how to take care of your dairy cows.
Before digging further on how to control the flies, it’s better to know how many types of flies there is outside.
1. Horn Fly
This type of fly is very dangerous and also annoying. It sucks the blood of your cattle. We can find them gathered around animal’s stomach looking for shade of hot sunray. This type of fly can cause blood lose to your cattle. Not to mention weight loss, less productivity but it will affect to many aspects of your animals.
2. Face Fly
This type of flies can be seen around face area of your animal. They will be seen in cluster flying around the eyes, mouth and nose of your cattle. They feed on secretion and it causes extreme irritation for the animals as they feed on eyes’ secretion usually. Aside from that, this fly spread a nematode eye worm.
Now let’s see at 9 natural methods to control flies on cattle
1. Manure Management
Where there is manure, there will be lots of flies around. Manure piles are fly breeding heaven. Therefore, the first thing you should manage to control fly’s growth is creating a plan involving manure management. This is such a huge task but when you do this properly, you can see the decrease of the fly as the result.
Fly life cycle lasts between 10 to 21 days. So you need to break the cycle by removing fly breeding materials. They usually breed on manure, spilled silage, moist hay, manure, wet grain etc. Clean and remove all those materials on regular basis. Don’t let those materials stock up and stay for days. Clean them as soon as possible, as frequent as a daily task.
Take the manure outside and spread it thinly to let it dry. Don’t let the manure pile up in your fields as dry material is not a place for them to breed. This is one of first step to break life cycle of flies. Distribute the manure outside your fields evenly and let it dry. Not only you get rid of the fly but your yard will be more fertile that way.
You should also pay attention to the areas where your animals gather like water troughs, gates and shady areas. Those places should be cleaned to break fly cycles. It’s easier and more effective to take precautions and to control fly breeding than to control the adult flies. So, the earlier we take actions, the less likely we would see these annoying pests.
2. Fly enemies
Do you know what fly enemies are? Those animals are flies’ predators. Yes, wasp. Tiny non-stinging wasps. The wasps get rid of the flies before they hatch. Want to know how this work out? The wasps work by laying their eggs in the fly pupa. Not only that, they also feed fly larvae. Isn’t it wonderful? You are getting help from these tiny insects. And your farm will be cleaner from the flies.
Do you know that chickens, Muscovy ducks, geese and spiders are among fly predators? They can help to reduce the population of the flies. And you might want to consider having them around your farm.
3. Fly traps
A walk-though fly trap. This is a great device to get rid of horn flies which are usually found at the backs and sides of your animals. When your cattle walk through the device, flies will be brushed off of the animals.
You should install the device at important places. For example, if your cattle want to go to their food or water source, they should go through this device. And by doing that the device will work effectively in catching the flies.
4. Homemade fly sprays
Homemade fly sprays are usually organic and environment friendly. Here is one of DIY sprays which you can make at your own home.
- 4 cups raw apple cider vinegar
- 20 drops peppermint essential oil
- 20 drops rosemary essential oil
- 20 drops basil essential oil
- 1 tablespoon dish soap
- 2 tablespoon liquid oil (olive oil or canola oil or mineral oil)
Mix them together and put inside a spray bottle. Apply it to your cattle and don’t forget to shake the liquid before spraying. The smell is strong so if you don’t like it too much, wear a mask
5. Fly Traps and Sticky Tape
This is considered a DIY simple trick. It can’t solve your problem in an instant but it’s worth to try. Here is how you can make the trap. Prepare used plastic bottle (big one, like coke bottle), water, bait (see below for further info) and a drop or two of liquid dish soap (which is optional).
First you should cut the top of the bottle off. Flip the top over and put it back into the bottle base to create a tunnel. You can glue them together or just put it like that (as long as it fits).
Fill the bottom of the bottle with a bit of water (leave a gap between the bottom of the ‘funnel’ and the water. You may add some smelly bait, the sweeter and smellier, the better it is. You can choose either sugar water, honey water, fresh animal manure, a bit of meat or an overripe fruit.
You can place the bottles in places where you find flies around and in short time you can find the result of trapped flies. Aside from fly traps you make your own, you can also purchase fly sticky tape. You can hang them in the ceiling and change them with the new tape when the flies are full stuck in the tape.
6. Fly repellents
Cedar and cloves are natural fly repellents. Other than that, flies dislike catnip, tansy, basil and pennyroyal too. You can also apply agricultural lime on floor to prevent egg laying.
7. Dung bettles
The increase of dung beetles means higher soil fertility and fewer parasites and pests. This is one option need to be considered in managing your farm. Less pests means more production.
8. Apple Cider Vinegar
You can add apple cider vinegar (ACV) into mixture of bath for your cattle. This will help you rid of the flies. Increase Bird Population
9. Increasing wild bird population on the farm.
Wild birds you need to help with the population are insect-eating species. They will feed the larvae, pupae and your flies will be reduced.
Hence, with all 9 Natural Methods to Control Flies on Cattle hopefully you can manage your farm better.
Let me take you to How to raise a healthy rooster so you can grow rooster and How to take care of chicken to help you getting rid of the flies. Not only you can get the milk from your cow, you can also get fresh eggs everyday. Like the idea? And managing a small catte farm will be very helpful for you the beginner to understand the technical and business side.