Fly populations are an occupational hazard of poultry farming.
Large fly populations cause stress and irritation to poultry, impacting their health and potentially decreasing output. Flies are also a vector of bird and human disease; out-of-control populations have a broader impact in the local area.
Fly management requires a coherent fly control programme. An essential element is understanding how to spot a potential infestation and locate sources when numbers increase.
What Signs Should I Be Looking For?
Regular fly control is essential on a poultry farm. Effective protocols involve more than dealing with the adult insect; finding the sources is critical as reliance on killing adult flies won't work in the warmer months when their life cycle speeds up.
Here are some of the signs to help you find fly sources:
- Frequent sightings in a particular area
- Fly concentrations or clouds
- The presence of maggots
- Birds in a specific location showing irritation or distress
- Fly blooms in manure pits or heaps
Familiar Sources of Flies on Poultry Farms
Managing fly populations is just as much about farm design and operation as fly trapping or insecticide spraying.
Here are some of the most common sources of flies on the poultry farm.
Flies love the warm and moist conditions engendered by chicken manure. Flies lay their eggs in rotting or decaying organic matter with a moisture content of 50%-85%.
Fresh poultry manure has a moisture level of between 75%-80%, so It's a big target for adult flies to breed.
Remove manure heaps regularly. Treat the manure to lower the moisture content to less than 50% or design a system which allows it to dry out before it is collected. Ventilation of the manure area is possible with air-circulating or exhaust fans.
Carcass Disposal Sites
Carcass disposal sites for dead birds are a big attraction for flies with rotting flesh, the perfect food source.
Locate carcass disposal areas at least 150 feet from the poultry houses and any water supply. If the site is a pit, it should be tightly covered so flies and insects cannot enter.
Incineration is another option.
Spilt poultry feed is attractive to flies. Clear up spills regularly and ensure feed is stored in secure containers and located in insect-controlled areas.
Poorly Ventilated Buildings
Good ventilation reduces moisture, and air movement discourages flies.
Increase ventilation by looking at building design or installing fans.
Fans improve air circulation; flies can't make progress against a robust outward flow. Fans also dry the air reducing moisture.
The Importance of Monitoring Flies on Poultry Farms
Flies transmit serious diseases, including Avian Influenza, Newcastle Disease and Salmonella, as well as compromising bird welfare and potentially impacting yield.
Fly surveillance is the hallmark of good farm management and high welfare practises, allowing farm owners to evaluate their fly control programmes' success.
A coherent and well-thought-out fly monitoring programme picks up population spikes against consistent documented levels. It flags new problem areas like fresh breeding grounds, highlighting these before they create an infestation.
Monitoring highlights weak points where different measures could be more effective and protect bird and human health, ensuring the best productivity and output.
Fly monitoring regimes should be supported by written records. These are helpful evidence if there are complaints about infestations from nearby people, demonstrating that fly control measures are in place and subject to regular assessment.
Effective control in poultry farms, which includes monitoring fly populations, is essential to comply with the requirements of an Environmental Permit.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do You Get Rid of Flies Around a Poultry Farm?
Some flies will always be present on a poultry farm; fly control programmes aim to keep the population within acceptable levels to protect the flock's health and output.
Eliminate flies with insecticides, physical traps, and use barriers like meshed screens, and pay attention to farm layout and design.
What Flies Are Associated With Poultry?
The common and lesser house flies are the most prevalent species on poultry farms, but bluebottles and stable flies are often also present.
Identifying fly species helps with control as it makes understanding breeding patterns, feeding habits and lifecycles easier and directs product choice.
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Fly control on the poultry farm is a year-round multi-faceted operation, including everything from building design to farm layout, the use of insecticides, to good old-fashioned sticky strips.
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