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Horse-Fly and giant horsefly in cattle  RSS feed

 
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Milking cows when they are being eaten alive by horseflies is not the nicest job, and can even be dangerous with a horn landing in a rib. Riding people have the same problem, sitting on an animal who gets pinched by one of these painful Tabanus sudeticus.
The insect breeds in wet areas, and the female is attracted to big, dark, moving things to suck out blood to produce eggs.

What solutions are there?

Poison? Meh.

Repellents?

Sticky traps? This glue is said to work well and not being dangerous to other, bigger animals (birds, bats…). Said to be non-toxic, but I couldn’t find the ingredients. https://sticky-trap.eu/

A purely mechanical trap. As the biting horsefly is attracted to dark moving objects, a big black ball is hung up in the sun, with a funnel-shaped mosquito-net on top. And on the end, another funnel leading to a container.
How should it work? The insect thinks this warm black thing is food, flies on it. The horsefly cannot start to fly downwards, therefore gets stuck in the funnel. Can be built or bought.
Instructions (in German, but the pictures speak by themselves)
Link to buy: https://www.amazon.com/Professional-Control-without-Chemicals-Electricity/dp/B00T6MS6LI or search “horsefly trap” “Bremsenfalle” or similar words. Seems to be used a lot in German speaking countries, and cheaper there.

What else do you see? Got experience with the traps?
 
Posts: 113
Location: San Diego, California
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My mom always put Skin So Soft on the animals face, to keep regular flies away; don’t know if it works for the big biting flies.

I also don’t know how safe this is for the animal(it didn’t bother them, but, you know, “chemicals” and all that...)
 
gardener
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Location: Morongo Valley
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I ended up suffering from my neighbor's horse and deer flies.  It sucked; we'd never had them before.  Once they find a food source, they know where to hang out.  So, after much reading online, I discovered a method developed in Africa - using blue fabric to make a trap.  Here is a good detailed article about it: Natural Horse Magazine DIY Horsefly Trap - Blue fabric style

And here is a quote from the article:

Through extensive research, it has been found that this unique trap, known as the Nzi (EN-zee) trap (‘nzi' is the Swahili word for ‘fly'), effectively catches biting flies. Originally designed to trap the dreaded tsetse fly in Africa, it is now being used worldwide, thanks to the generous sharing of information on the internet - at http://informatics.icipe.org/nzi/index.htm, hosted by the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology - where you can find lots of interesting details about this trap and its variations, and flies.

It works via the attraction of flies to large blue and black objects. Once they get inside this clever configuration of cloth and netting, which they readily do, they can't find their way back out and they die in the collector.  



Here's a pic of one of these African inventions:


We also tried leaving out something blue with sticky stuff on it - but that ended up catching things that we didn't want it to, like butterflies. But here is one way, also you can just put up blue fabric, or a blue balloon, you get the point:


When working outside, we wore hats with a blue plastic cup attached to the top, with sticky goo on the blue cup.  Like this:


You can also just put anything blue like this:


When working outside, the hat method really helps reduce harassment.

Then to be more proactive, you can also consider biological controls.  Here are some links for info on those:
Organic Cowboy How to use fly parasites

Bugological fly parasites

And a big 'ol quote because it has a lot of useful info:


You’re on Your Way to Season Long Fly Control

Biological fly control is a proven way to control flies before they become the adult pests that can spread disease and bother you and your horses. These tiny gnat sized fly parasites deposit their eggs in the fly pupa and destroy the immobilized fly during its pupal stage, long before it can become an adult pest.

Step 1 – Locate Your Worst Fly Breeding Habitats

The primary fly breeding habitats in horse stables are those areas where manure builds up along fence lines (tough to clean up areas), and where manure is stored for later removal or handling. These are the primary fly breeding habitats and this is where you'll find fly larva in large concentrations.

Step 2 – Put Your Fly Parasites to Work

It's now time to release your fly parasites and let them go to work for you. Working along the fence line, choose the areas of greater build-up, then simply peal open the top of the pack and shake out a small quantity of the fly parasites on to the manure. Continue with this process, until you've covered as much of the stable as possible. As the season progresses, you'll begin to clearly recognize the worst fly breeding habitats. You should release your fly parasites there first, and then move to the secondary habitats. This is the same procedure you'll follow with the arrival of each shipment of Organic Cowboy™ Fly Parasites.

Step 3 – Maintain an Effective Program

Your fly parasites are now doing their job, but there are things you can do optimize your season long fly control. Along with releasing the proper number of fly parasites throughout the season, weekly stall and barn cleanup can greatly reduce the amount of fly breeding habitat and effectively interrupt the fly breeding cycle. Cleanup and limited spray use in fly roosting habitats (where adult flies rest), can complement your biological fly control program. Just be sure never to apply the chemical sprays in areas where you release your fly parasites.

Whether you choose to receive your fly parasites every other week or monthly, be sure to release them within 48 hours of arrival. This helps you stay ahead of the flies, and insures that the fly parasites are fresh and ready for action. If you choose to store them for a few days, keep them refrigerated, to slow their metabolism.



Hope that helps!
 
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Tiny predatory wasps!  No poison, no nasty sticky traps, nothing to put on the animals every day, just let nature do this.  I had 8 horses within 100 ft of the house in the middle of Kansas.  They were on a 1/2 acre, and belonged to my nephew who never cleaned up the manure (another story).  I found a website that sells tiny predatory wasps.  Some of the feed lots in Western Kansas use them. They are smaller than a gnat and can't hurt you or the animals.  They lay their eggs in fly maggots, which are in the manure, and the wasp larva kills the fly before it hatches.  I couldn't believe how fabulously this works!!!  It took 2 months before I looked out and the horses weren't even swishing their tails.  You need to put them out on manure and repeat it every 3 or 4 months.  I don't know if they fly away in between, but I didn't care, it worked so well.  Before this, I had flies all over the white siding on the house leaving spots and all over the windows and animals.  The chickens and guineas couldn't keep up (BTW throw the fly cocoons out after the birds go to bed or they will eat your wasps).  The wasps are so tiny, they are way, way too tiny to hurt you or your animals.  About the size of a comma in this post.  I guarantee you will use them forever if you try them.  Don't use insecticide on the manure at the same time or you will kill the wasps.  I got them from Spalding Labs, but they are on Amazon from many vendors. Check the Spalding web site's video. I will never use anything else. They are not free, but they are magic!
 
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Location: Appalachian Mountains
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In the Herbal Handbook for Home and Stable by Juliet deBairacli Levy, she says to use vinegar or wine and rub down the animal with it, especially the legs, and it will even prevent Bots fly from laying their eggs on horses' legs.  I've tried this and it seems to work, but have to reapply every day or two.  
 
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I try to do my part, today I killed134 deer flies. I dont count one unless I see a dead body. About 120 of these were killed in my truck cab in two go's. They follow me in to the cab, I roll up the drivers window and don't stop killing until it is just me in there. Not very practical but if you have ever tried to work around them using both hands you will know how satisfying it is to me.
 
Posts: 237
Location: SE Oklahoma
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hans muster wrote:What solutions are there?



Combine multiple methods for the best results.

Use fly traps

I've had the best results with Rescue fly trap bags. https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_trksid=m570.l1313&_nkw=rescue+fly+traps&_sacat=0&LH_TitleDesc=0&_osacat=0&_odkw=fly+traps You can more than get your money's worth as these will fill to the brim. If you keep water filled to the indicated line, they will keep working as the dead flies turn into bait.



They come in 2 sizes and have attractant in them. Read the directions as they can vary. The first time you fill them, hang them in the sun to get them started. Then you can move them wherever you need them. Do NOT hang them too close as they smell really bad.

The bags would be filled to overflowing before the dome type were 1/6 full when I lived in Texas. https://www.ebay.com/itm/Starbar-14624-Trap-N-Toss-Disposable-Fly-Trap/271251210960?epid=1100727967&hash=item3f27d502d0:g:~M4AAOSwNuxXbvVDBut different attractants are likely to work on different populations.

And/or fly bait

The best known is Golden Malrin https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_trksid=p2047675.m570.l1313.TR6.TRC1.A0.H0.Xgolden+malrin.TRS1&_nkw=golden+malrin&_sacat=0 It comes in many different sizes from 1 lb. to a 10 lb. bucket. I would try the small one first and then get a big one if it works well.



I just ordered this to try so I'll know more soon:  https://www.ebay.com/itm/Quikstrike-Fly-Scatter-Bait-1-Pound-Can-Fly-Killer-It-Works-1-LB/232797914512?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649



Keep the bait away from animals as it is poison. (I have no idea if they'd try to eat it.) It works best if you put a wet sponge next to where you put the bait. Plastic lids work well for this, but anything you can put a little piece of sponge and pour the bait will work. Based on another comment, I'll be trying blue lids to see if that makes a difference.

Flies are attracted to moisture faster than to just the bait.

There are bait stations you can use if you want to get fancy. https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_trksid=m570.l1313&_nkw=fly+bait+station&_sacat=0&LH_TitleDesc=0&_osacat=0&_odkw=fly+trap&LH_TitleDesc=0



You can also make this type of trap using a plastic bottle or canning jar. The bait is sold separately or you can use bits of meat scraps or anything else that will attract flies.

Prevent them from hatching with predator wasps

This works well if there aren't a ton of neighbors nearby who are hatching their own. I used them when I had a pasture with only one close neighbor who also had horses. I didn't use them when my ranch was surrounded by thousands of head of cattle.

I bought mine from Arbico https://www.arbico-organics.com/category/fly-control-program and see that Valley Vet also sells them now https://www.valleyvet.com/c/horse-supplies/fly-control/fly-larvae-control.html Since they sell them, the other large vet supplies probably do as well.



Control on Cattle, Horses, etc.

Commercial fly sprays typically only work for a very limited amount of time. What works this year probably won't work next year. The best control method was Marlate, but it apparently was very toxic as it was banned. It killed them rather than just repel them.

There are feed-thru fly control products, but I never use them because I don't want to be poisoning my horses. They may or may not be permitted for dairies. If you look online, there are many recipes for home-made fly repellents. They typically use combinations of dish soap, vinegar, essential oils, lemon juice and mineral oil.

I recently moved into a lot of trees and the deer flies, horse flies, and some other huge flies are something else here. A Canadian friend recommended I try mixing a large bottle of mineral oil with a small bottle of camphor oil. I have those ingredients enroute to test it out. https://www.ebay.com/itm/LorAnn-8-oz-Pure-Mineral-Oil-Lubricant-Wood-Preserver-Food-Grade/161940032882

https://i.ebayimg.com/images/g/Z04AAOSwX~dWjpja/s-l300.jpg

Apparently, there are good and bad brands of camphor oil, so I went with NOW because that is a quality brand. I don't know about any of the others. https://www.ebay.com/itm/NOW-Foods-Essential-Oil-1-Fluid-Ounce/111905401565



The camphor repels them and the oil keeps it on the horse (or other livestock). She uses it for those types of flies and also to deter bot flies from laying eggs. (Those little yellow dots you see on their legs.) It tastes bad, so it also keeps the animal from scratching or licking them, thereby preventing consumption of the eggs that may already be there.

Avoid getting it in their eyes or other mucus membranes. Reapply when you can't smell the camphor anymore and after a rain or bath.

NOW also has a bug ban essential oil, but that would get expensive on livestock unless you still mixed it with the mineral oil.  

https://d3d71ba2asa5oz.cloudfront.net/12031404/images/0733739078049.jpg

Sticky traps: Not recommended

The reason we don't typically use sticky fly tapes and other similar devices is that they quickly dry out in the summer or anywhere there is a breeze.

Plants that repel insects

I plan to plant American Beautyberry bushes in the areas my horses hang out the most. It is said that crushing the leaves and rubbing them on horses, livestocks, and other mammals repels insects. They are also edible as food for wildlife and useful as an emergency food source. Lots of information about them in this listing on eBay https://www.ebay.com/itm/American-Beautyberry-Flowering-Shrub-Stunning-Purple-Berries-LIVE-PLANT-2ft/332676603359?hash=item4d75121ddf:g:cTIAAOSwDZ1bFyxa


 
Posts: 12
Location: Alaska
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Hey there ya'll!

I don't know much about horses and cattle, but I do know a lot about flies in dealing with our "art-house" (or outhouse for those so inclined).  We've got so many kinds of flies, beetles and mosquitoes here in AK, that it would take days to sort them all out.  We keep a fly swatter close at hand for the amusement of "squatters" and the bugs pile up at the door.  

Then, one year we started adding diatomaceous earth to our morning drink.  A heaping teaspoon stirred into a hot drink (food grade DE, of course) and the foremost, most obvious effect was that within a few days, all the flies in the arthouse were basically dead.  The floor was literally covered with shriveled up bugs.  We eventually stopped eating it, (mainly boredom), but I still sprinkle it around the arthouse and down the hole, around our wood pile, deck, and porches.  I've even dusted my dog and cat with it to keep flies off them.  Might be of help to your bigger animals too.  At least, it won't hurt them!

Happy 4th!
SueJean
 
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My uncle-in-law used to be overwhelmed by horseflies in a residential neighborhood.  He did the 'blue-sticky-hat' thing for a while...then got a moving-black-ball-under-a-tent-leading-to-a-trap -- very much like the mechanical trap Hans mentioned.  The first year he had to empty the trap daily, and had few bites.  Now there are so few around that a spider just lives up in the trap and has easy meals all summer, but he doesn't have to empty the trap at all.  He said it is spec'd to clear 2 acres, which is about what he has.  The one shown from Amazon looks expensive...but the only effort is to put it out each spring, and put it away each fall.  Highly recommended!
 
hans muster
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Thanks a lot for the replies!

will make an Nzi trap once I have time, ordered a h-trap already.
The link didn't work, but found some other links describing the trap
http://sci-hub.tw/10.1079/BER2002186
https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/jvec.12284

Against which flies does the vinegar work? Hoseflies (Tabanus spp.)?
 
Posts: 11
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 FWIW, I've tried most of the aforementioned fly tricks with the exception of the blue traps. I might yet resort to them if my flighty daughter's manure handling in the chicken coop goes south. Baby muscovies make agile little fly traps in an eco-friendly way, but tend to grow up, losing that particular function. The tiny parasitic wasps need to get a headstart on the season in order to exert the best possible control. And they need renewing throughout the season.
As for the Golden Maldrin, it IS toxic even to mammals. When I was forced to use it in my milking area, I placed it on opened paper feed bags, then placed an empty rabbit cage on top. In spite of that precaution, a young goat managed to leap into the milking area and knock the cage aside. I caught her licking up the bait as fast as she could. Within hours, she was lethargic and unable to walk. I called the vet. Apparently the nerve agent in the G. Maldrin synergized  the recent worrmer that I had treated my herd with, and he had to block their interaction with an antidote. That was my last time using a poison fly bait. I've used stinky traps baited with meat (they work, but not near the living areas, please!). I've used electronic bug zappers, but they're most effective at night when the flies mostly sleep.
I've also rubbed cucumber leaves on the various animals with some success, but it requires a large supply of leaves on a near-daily basis, and is impractical for a large herd. However, I also noticed the absence of any kind of insects on a porch overgrown by the wild cucumber vine (the exploding spiky fruits which hubby loved to stomp in his youth), and wonder if they would work even better.
I never had too much problem with horseflies, but knew we had them by the bright yellow eggs laid on the ponies' legs. We had more problems with mosquitos. Local horse breeders used fly masks to keep the flies from landing on their critters' faces. Some resorted to blankets, but that was too hot for mine.

 
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Location: Upstate SC
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I've been able to reduce my local deer fly and horse fly populations by stocking the lake on my property with ducks.  The fly larvae live in mud and shallow water, precisely the areas where ducks like to feed.  We went from having 2 to 4 deer flies going you when venturing outside during fly season (May-June) to having one show up occasionally when venturing outside (I've only seen 3 so far this season). Horse flies, which show up later in the summer,  also declined to where I rarely see one now.
 
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Location: Moving to east Texas from North Carolina 2018-19
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[size=12]
Ya'll MUST know about this. If any of you are in areas that grow Beautyberries, I have researched them thoroughly, and even made a tincture (and Jelly!!!) out of them. Unfortunately, I never got a chance to see if it worked or not, as I broke up with my g/f at the time who had it. (A little off topic) The jelly from the berries is excellent... like a mixture of blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries. But the main reason I am posting is the leaves. Apparently old timers used to put canvas bags of the leaves around the horses necks and it is an EXCELLENT bug repellent. So excellent that apparently the Department of Defense has researched the plant...WOW! Here's the wikipedia link general info....it covers a little about the insect repellent properties, but not much. Is does mention the Department of Agriculture researching the plant, which is still noteworthy. Good luck hope it helps!

I live in NC now, am moving to Texas and I hope I can get them to grow there. I intend to once again, make a tincture and put it on my cats/dogs/etc as a natural repellent (as well as myself of course).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Callicarpa
 
Gail Gardner
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Mike Turner wrote:I've been able to reduce my local deer fly and horse fly populations by stocking the lake on my property with ducks.  The fly larvae live in mud and shallow water, precisely the areas where ducks like to feed.  We went from having 2 to 4 deer flies going you when venturing outside during fly season (May-June) to having one show up occasionally when venturing outside (I've only seen 3 so far this season). Horse flies, which show up later in the summer,  also declined to where I rarely see one now.



What kind of ducks? I assume you stocked it with ducks that can fly? Otherwise, I would think coyotes and other predators would wipe them out pretty quickly. But if they can fly, don't they just fly away?
 
Gail Gardner
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Sandra Peake wrote:  I never had too much problem with horseflies, but knew we had them by the bright yellow eggs laid on the ponies' legs. We had more problems with mosquitos. Local horse breeders used fly masks to keep the flies from landing on their critters' faces. Some resorted to blankets, but that was too hot for mine.



Horseflies and bot flies are 2 different things. Horseflies are huge, black flies that suck blood. Bot flies are small yellowish flies that lay the little yellow eggs that look like yellow dots on the legs of horses.

Black Horsefly:

This is a horsefly:



Information about them at http://www.cirrusimage.com/fly_horse_Tabanus.htm

Yellow and black horsefly:

There are yellow and black horseflies where I just moved that I've never had anywhere else before.



Read about those at http://influentialpoints.com/Gallery/Tabanus_sudeticus_Dark_giant_horsefly.htm


Bot fly:

This is a bot fly:


Information about them at https://www.littletonequine.com/faq/what-are-bot-flies-and-what-should-i-do-about-them/ You will see these hovering around the legs where they are laying eggs, not landing on the horses or livestock.

Deer fly

This is a deer fly some call green-headed flies:



Information about them at https://extension.entm.purdue.edu/publichealth/insects/tabanid.html

Buffalo fly aka Face flies

Another fly that causes trouble for horses pastured in areas with cattle is called a Buffalo fly by this site. I believe this is the same fly others call a face fly. I suspect there may be other names for it. In areas where they run stocker cattle (pastured from weaning age and shipped to feedlots), the cattle tend to ship 1000s at a time. All the flies they had then descend on the horses. I used to use Marlate to kill them off quickly, but it is banned now.

These are little triangular-shaped flies that don't seem to bother the horses as badly as the other flies. But still, they're a problem, especially in large quantities.



This place has an interesting trap to get them off their cattle:



See https://www.farmco.com.au/blog/the-5-biggest-mistakes-farmers-make-when-tackling-buffalo-fly-in-cattle for more information. Typically, you put something like that between where the livestock eats and where they drink to encourage them to use it.

Update: If the Strike bait works at all, the flies must be leaving after they eat it. Not a single dead fly on either trap in spite of putting a water source right next to them. Note that they are up high on shelves under the patio roof where the flies land, but where no animals can get to them. I ordered an original Rescue fly bag to test that next. They worked great in central Texas when I had cattle all the way around. Not sure if the knock-off brand they're selling on eBay would work.

My main line of defense as it is too late for predator wasps is to apply oil mixed with camphor on the horses to keep them off. I'll let you know how that works. I seem to have made a major dent in the population manually killing them. They were horrendous when I moved here, but probably because there had not been any livestock here for months.

 
Gail Gardner
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Patrick Dillman wrote:[size=12]
Ya'll MUST know about this. If any of you are in areas that grow Beautyberries...But the main reason I am posting is the leaves. Apparently old timers used to put canvas bags of the leaves around the horses necks and it is an EXCELLENT bug repellent.



I read they crushed the leaves and rubbed them on the horses. I had not run across the tip of putting the leaves in a bag and hanging that on the horse. It just occurred to me that if the bushes are sturdy once grown, the horses would probably rub on them and apply some of the smell by themselves in the same way cattle ranches have those long cattle rub things hung between trees or in gate openings.



This one says it is for fly and lice control.  https://www.jefferspet.com/products/cattle-rub-with-face-flyps Apparently, you buy the device and then add your own choice of repellants to it. So it might be possible to find a mix that is not too toxic that still works.
 
Mike Turner
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Location: Upstate SC
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Gail Gardner wrote:

Mike Turner wrote:I've been able to reduce my local deer fly and horse fly populations by stocking the lake on my property with ducks.  The fly larvae live in mud and shallow water, precisely the areas where ducks like to feed.  We went from having 2 to 4 deer flies going you when venturing outside during fly season (May-June) to having one show up occasionally when venturing outside (I've only seen 3 so far this season). Horse flies, which show up later in the summer,  also declined to where I rarely see one now.



What kind of ducks? I assume you stocked it with ducks that can fly? Otherwise, I would think coyotes and other predators would wipe them out pretty quickly. But if they can fly, don't they just fly away?



Rouans and khaki cambells, which can fly short distances.  They spend the night either out on the lake or up next to the house. I've lost a few hens, but only one khaki cambell drake.
 
Gail Gardner
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Mike Turner wrote:Rouans and khaki cambells, which can fly short distances.  They spend the night either out on the lake or up next to the house. I've lost a few hens, but only one khaki cambell drake.



Interesting. I never heard of that kind. I'll look them up. The Welsh Harlequins at the last place I lived were sitting ducks. Only the young ones were light enough to fly a little. The older ones get too heavy and can only flap their wings to move faster on land. They had to be protected from coyotes. Aren't the drakes supposed to protect the hens?

Do you live wild or do you feed them? If you feed them, what do you feed them? Do you get eggs? Research says the Khaki Campbell ducks are the most prolific egg layers, but not broody so if you want more of them you have to buy them or put their eggs in with a broody chicken. The best broody chicken I ever had was a bantam. She wasn't even a year old and hatched 19 eggs at once - most of them from full-sized chickens.
 
Mike Turner
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Gail Gardner wrote:

Mike Turner wrote:

Gail Gardner wrote:

Mike Turner wrote:Rouans and khaki cambells, which can fly short distances.  They spend the night either out on the lake or up next to the house. I've lost a few hens, but only one khaki cambell drake.



Interesting. I never heard of that kind. I'll look them up. The Welsh Harlequins at the last place I lived were sitting ducks. Only the young ones were light enough to fly a little. The older ones get too heavy and can only flap their wings to move faster on land. They had to be protected from coyotes. Aren't the drakes supposed to protect the hens?

Do you live wild or do you feed them? If you feed them, what do you feed them? Do you get eggs? Research says the Khaki Campbell ducks are the most prolific egg layers, but not broody so if you want more of them you have to buy them or put their eggs in with a broody chicken. The best broody chicken I ever had was a bantam. She wasn't even a year old and hatched 19 eggs at once - most of them from full-sized chickens.



The rouans can fly about 50 ft at a height of 3 ft, farther when flying downhill.  The khakis can fly 150ft and clear a 4ft high fence. Drakes don't protect the hens, only harass them trying to mate. My ducks can access the feed I put out for the chickens, but get most of their food from the lake and pastures.  06562920 lay eggs, the problem is finding them, the rouans will nest and brood, the khakis drop their eggs wherever they happen to be when they feel the urge.

 
You ought to ventilate your mind and let the cobwebs out of it. Use this cup to catch the tiny ads:
Self-Sufficiency in MO -- 10 acres of Eden, looking for a renter who can utilize and appreciate it.
https://permies.com/t/95939/Sufficiency-MO-acres-Eden-renter
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