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Keeping biting flies off my cows!

 
Joellen Anderson
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Hey all!

What has been the most effective way to prevent flies where you have cows?

All of my cows are in a small-ish compacted dirt area. They are here for recovery from injuries (these are all stray cows...welcome to India http://fb.com/badmashpeepal) and so it is super important for me to keep flies off of the ones with wounds or surgery sites (we have a big problem with maggots in wounds here). Does anyone have a good fly repellant I can put on the cows and something I can use on the ground? It can't be toxic to cows of course!

Thanks!



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Alder Burns
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Just a stray memory but it may be useful. Years ago having nowhere else to put them, we put a bunch of turkeys in the same pasture as our dairy cow. The birds learned soon to follow the cow around and scratch up the manure for bugs and uneaten grain. Then they began picking the flies off the cow. Eventually the cow learned to lie down and the turkeys would walk all over her, catching the horseflies! I never got the chance to work with this observation since....but I wonder if other poultry might work as well or better?
 
Olga Booker
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Location: Pyrenees Mountains, South of France
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Neem oil is a powerful insect repellent. You could rub some oil on the most vulnerable parts of your cows. A paste made of camphor powder and Neem oil should deal with the maggots and use turmeric powder for the wounds left by the maggots. You can sprinkle the powder liberally on the wounds. Good Luck!

 
kevin stewart
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And India certainly has neem trees.
Last summer I put neem leaves in a blender and used the neem water on a friends dogs. No more fleas, no more ticks.
Actually I stopped using soap and to shower and only used neem water, no more fleas, no more ticks.
 
Joellen Anderson
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Alder Burns wrote:Just a stray memory but it may be useful. Years ago having nowhere else to put them, we put a bunch of turkeys in the same pasture as our dairy cow. The birds learned soon to follow the cow around and scratch up the manure for bugs and uneaten grain. Then they began picking the flies off the cow. Eventually the cow learned to lie down and the turkeys would walk all over her, catching the horseflies! I never got the chance to work with this observation since....but I wonder if other poultry might work as well or better?


Unfortunately our dogs won't let a bird live in here for long That is why the egrets aren't doing the job!

Neem is a great idea and I already have a bunch of oil that we use for de-flea and de-ticking dogs. The oil used straight on the cow is a little thick though and means they will get TONS of dirt and poo stuck in their hair. Maybe if I mix the oil with water and spray it on the cows and on the ground? I don't actually have neem trees to use the leaves (we are at a higher elevation) so I have to either dry it in Delhi and bring it or just use the oil.

Thanks y'all!
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Travis Johnson
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Not sure if you have cedar but ticks HATE cedar so that is a good natural fly repellent.

I also use bats and ducks. Bats eat their weight in bugs per night so they really knock down the population quickly. A few bat houses placed advantageously as they are very finicky where their homes are placed may bode well for you. Ducks do well eating bugs and insects as well. Together they do two things, get insects both during the day and during the night. Unfortunately bats fly so they get the bugs flying higher, and ducks are limited to the first two feet of the ground so insets down low at night are still an issue, and bugs up higher during the day is a problem, but for me and my sheep, the duck/bat strategy has worked to some degree. It is better than nothing.

I am assuming you are placing DE upon the soil where the cows are treading, or lime to break down the manure? That goes a long ways as well.
 
Olga Booker
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It is a very good idea to have ducks and bats for pest control, however, I don't think it would quite work for you. As you've said, your dogs wouldn't let a bird live, and as for bats, I don't think they would be much use either since flies are mostly troublesome during the day.

We have a big problem with flies in the summer here and I had an elderly dog that was infested with maggots after flies laid eggs in her thick fur. They were virtually eating her alive. That is when I discovered the camphor and Neem remedy. I understand the problem with the oil and the dust and poo on your cows. Maybe the best bet would be to make an infusion with the leaves and spray the cows. You'll probably need to do it 2 or 3 times a day.

When my donkeys are troubled by flies in the heart of the summer, I often pick up a handful of fresh peppermint and rub it all around their eyes. It is very effective for a while as peppermint is also an insect repellent - and they love the attention and scratching! Maybe you could add a few drops of peppermint essential oil in the Neem "tea". As for the turmeric for the wounds, it will work well if you don't mind your cows being a bit yellow for a time!!

 
Elijah Bowman
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sepp holzer's bone salve ~ https://youtu.be/o4xVKVc4NYQ
 
Andy Moffatt
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Location: New Zealand
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People with horses use vinegar and water and sometimes a little dish washing liquid
 
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