Springtime weather means longer days, no more horse blankets, and plenty of time to ride. But it also means that flies will soon begin to emerge. If flies have had you and your horses frustrated in the past, then be sure to check out these tips which can help you to set up your barn to minimize flies.
Strategically Locate Your Manure Pile
Give some thought to where your manure pile is currently located, and if you may need to move it. Ideally, your manure pile should be located away from the barn because it will attract flies. By positioning your pile so that it isn’t close to your barn, you’re drawing flies away, instead of to, your stable.
When you choose a location for your manure pile, make sure that you can easily access it with a truck and tractor if you plan to have it hauled away. Alternatively, you might want to use a small trailer or dumpster, rather than creating a manure pile. These options make it easy to regularly haul the manure away.
Maximize Barn Ventilation
If there’s one surefire way to deter flies from hanging out in your barn, it’s to make sure that the space is well-ventilated. Flies don’t like moving air, so find multiple ways to keep air circulating through your barn during the summer. As an added bonus, these methods will help to cool your stable and can even contribute to a healthier equine respiratory system.
Design your barn so that there are plenty of windows to open to create cross breezes. You can also use barn fans to move large amounts of air throughout the day.
Some owners opt to install smaller fans that blow directly into their horses’ stalls. If you use these smaller fans, make sure you only purchase fans that are made specifically for barn use and that have fully enclosed motors. House fans aren’t suitable for use in barns, because their motors are not fully enclosed. Dust and dirt can choke the motors, causing them to burn out. It’s possible for hot pieces of the motor to fall out onto shavings or hay, potentially causing a fire.
Clean Out Feed and Water Buckets
Flies are attracted to dirty feed and water buckets, so cleaning out these buckets needs to become a regular chore in the summer. Make a point of dumping and cleaning water buckets daily, and try to clean out feed buckets at least weekly.
If you have standing water on your property, such as a water trough, this also needs to be thoroughly cleaned and dumped regularly. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in stagnant water, and it can take between 4 days and two weeks for the eggs to become larva, then pupa, and then to emerge as an adult mosquito.
Pick Stalls Regularly
If your horses are in their stalls during the day, then pick out the stalls regularly. Not only will this help to keep the stalls cleaner, but it will also mean that you’re removing the manure that attracts flies.
Depending on the size of your pastures and fields, you may want to remove manure so the area doesn’t become overrun. If your pastures are large enough, then you can leave manure in place – but you need to harrow it regularly. Harrowing your pastures will break up the manure, spreading it and drying it. Since flies lay their eggs in piles of manure, this process can help to kill off eggs and larvae before they can hatch – as long as you do it often enough. Regular harrowing will actually help to reduce the fly population on your farm.
While these methods won’t completely eliminate flies from your stable, they can help to cut down on the fly population so that you and your horses are happier.