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chicken paddock fly problem

 
Tiffany Morris
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Hello. This is my first post. Sorry to start on a new topic, but I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed. After listening and reading much of what Paul has to say about raising chickens, I felt sufficiently chastened and sectioned off my first chicken paddock (50'x70' for 6 chickens), which they have three days left to forage in. Unfortunately, this particular section contains a sidewalk down the center, and the ladies tend to do much walking and pooping on it, which seems to be attracting flies like mad. Does anyone know if this fly issue is also happening in the grassy areas as well, and I'm not noticing it? Simply sweeping it off the walk does not seem to be working. I'm still using a solid-floor coop, until I secure funds and time to create an open-floor design. Perhaps the fly problem is exacerbated by the coop floor as well, although I couldn't locate a fly problem there. Perhaps they just like the hot poo on the cement? I really want to eliminate the excess flies. Any suggestions would be most appreciated. Thank you.
 
elle sagenev
Posts: 1261
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
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Chickens tend to cause fly problems in most situations. I notice issues inside my coop during the hot summer. I just kill the flies and move on. I kill them with DE and with those lovely fly traps you get at the store.
 
chad Christopher
Posts: 290
Location: Pittsburgh PA
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chicken duck forest garden fungi trees woodworking
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Chickens don't cause fly problems, our unfortunate circumstances, and domestication, causes fly problems. Dry dry dry, keep manure dry as possible as soon as possible. How? I don't know, i am not there. You may not like my answer, MORE FLYING BUGS, predatory insects: palangia cameroni, Muscidifurax zaraptor and Muscidifurax raptorellus. Using all three different species will be more promising than relying on just one. And the cool part is, with these species, you leave the poop, not control it. They also live in the poo, but they are not annoying, bitey, mite carrying, disease transporting insects. The population normally dies off around year 3 or 4. Because your new developed microecosystem has evolved to a point that the flies are likely not a problem anymore.

And DE is a two-fer, it acts as a desiccant to an extent.
 
elle sagenev
Posts: 1261
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
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chad Christopher wrote:Chickens don't cause fly problems, our unfortunate circumstances, and domestication, causes fly problems. Dry dry dry, keep manure dry as possible as soon as possible. How? I don't know, i am not there. You may not like my answer, MORE FLYING BUGS, predatory insects: palangia cameroni, Muscidifurax zaraptor and Muscidifurax raptorellus. Using all three different species will be more promising than relying on just one. And the cool part is, with these species, you leave the poop, not control it. They also live in the poo, but they are not annoying, bitey, mite carrying, disease transporting insects. The population normally dies off around year 3 or 4. Because your new developed microecosystem has evolved to a point that the flies are likely not a problem anymore.

And DE is a two-fer, it acts as a desiccant to an extent.


Really? Because mine free range 40 acres but where they sleep still attracts flies. They tend to be creatures of habit. I'm sure undomesticated they'd have the same habit of returning to a favorite sleeping spot. Manure under that spot would probably attract flies aye?
 
chad Christopher
Posts: 290
Location: Pittsburgh PA
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chicken duck forest garden fungi trees woodworking
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The key word is: problem. I expect a fruit fly in my house time to time. But i have come home from an extended trip, to find a what now is an old banana. Every time i make a gust of air, hundreds of fruit flies swarm. I wouldn't take action for the single fly, but i need to do some thing for the banana problem. Which technicaly still isn't a problem, but an inconvenience or nuisance, that my neglect caused. Flies love shit, they will be there, but in what quantities is okay? What is a normal healthy amount, and when is it time to compost that old brown banana?

Anyways, yes chicken = chicken shit = flies. But if said chicken was in the jungle, with no care taker, there would be nobody to have a problem with chicken shit flies. Sorry for the confusion, it was a broad statement, i guess i was saying chickens don't care, humans do. You won't hear many people complain that there's too many flies on bear poop.
 
Michael Cox
Posts: 1570
Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
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Deep litter methods are supposed to help with this. Give them a nice bed of wood chips and let them dig and scratch in it. Every so often you can throw some feed down on mucky areas that need turning and the girls will work the manure into the chips for you. Deep litter gives all those lovely bugs a place to live, including predatory ones that will eat the fly eggs and larvae, it absorbs moisture readily so you don't end up with so many wet smelly patches, and the girls will love digging in it and finding grubs to eat.
 
Tiffany Morris
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Thank you everyone. I'm very glad to hear that DE can help with this. The current coop is quite large (built in early 1900's for far more chickens than my 6), so I think I will first DE the floor then cover with another bale if straw. If that is one of the places the flies were coming from, then this should help. I really don't think I would be so bothered by this, except we are still in town and I don't want the neighbors hating the chickens (or us). We've kept chickens for about 10 years, and never noticed this when using the coop and run. The flies must have been a source of food for them, when there was less available to forage. Once we have moved out to our property, I am also planning on using the paddock system, but again the only place with electric (heated chicken watered used in winter) is way at the bottom of our hill, which is our road access and the only place we can see neighbors homes. So, again I don't want to be causing a fly issue for them. If I felt confident that there would be enough forage on the hill (rather thick forest of deciduous trees, many raspberries and roses), and that I would remember to change their water often during the winter (no electric for waterer), then I could paddock them near the house site (work in progress, as earthbag building takes longer than we expected, but looks like it will be liveable by fall). So, if I paddock them at the bottom of the hill near the main road and use an open-bottom mobile coop, perhaps this won't happen on the scale it is happening now. And of course, there are no sidewalks to poop on there. Thank you again.
 
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