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How to Respond to Fly Complaints on Poultry Farms

John Seo |

Flies are inevitable on poultry farms, but complaints from local residents don’t have to be. 

Some people moan when fly numbers are high, while others complain about just a few flies in their home. 

Local authorities have the power to investigate alleged fly infestations that may be a statutory nuisance or harmful to human health.

A strong fly control programme provides a robust response to complaints. Here’s how to spot the first signs of trouble and easily take steps to remediate fly populations.

What Signs Should I Be Looking For?

First, the legislation has no data about what constitutes an unacceptable fly population.

However, an active insect control programme should keep the fly population on a poultry farm within acceptable levels.

Monitoring adult and larval fly populations confirms the success or failure of control strategies and can help establish threshold levels - making sudden increases easy to spot. 

Even with a good fly control strategy, looking for certain key items and differences is essential. These include: 

  • Regular concentrations of flies or blooms in specific locations
  • Evidence of maggots
  • Irritation or distress in the flock
  • Spikes in numbers on weekly monitoring checks in different sites around the farm
  • Complaints or increased complaints from neighbouring properties

Large numbers of flies indicate that things are amiss, but good fly control programmes are year-round, not just in the warmer months. Yes, active control measures should be in place when flies are not visible in the winter.

What Are the Common Sources of Flies on Poultry Farms?


Manure is a massive attraction to different fly species, with warm and moist material providing the perfect breeding ground.

Site manure heaps away from buildings and poultry sheds. Active management is necessary to control fly infestations using chemical dryers or regular removal.

Manure heaps or pits are a good data source for adult and larval fly monitoring regimes.

Carcass Disposal Sites

Decaying flesh is top of the menu for most fly species!

Dispose of culled or birds dying from other causes in a secure, covered location. Flies and other insects should not be allowed to enter the pit, which must be securely and tightly covered.

A carcass disposal pit should be at least 45 metres from any poultry building and water source.

Incineration is another option.

Spilled Feed

Feeding poultry correctly without waste significantly impacts profit, and avoiding attracting flies and rodents is an art. 

More so, large numbers of birds can become stressed over feed, affecting their health. Ideally, feeding routines should allow the birds to exhibit natural behaviours.

Explore different feeder designs, like gravity-fed or treadle units, which minimise spillage, waste, and fly population. Good feeder choice is based on flock numbers, building design, and the age and type of birds.

Poorly Ventilated Buildings

Lack of ventilation increases the moisture content in the air, while the chicken litter attracts flies. Likewise, good airflow deters flies because they struggle to fly against it. That’s why there are fewer flies outside on windy days.

Wall and ceiling-mounted fans increase airflow in poultry sheds and ancillary buildings. For even better control, open windows and doors, but ensure you use mesh screens to keep insects out.

Why Monitoring Flies on Poultry Farms Is Essential

Flies cause problems with flock health and welfare and are vectors of serious diseases for humans and birds, including Salmonella, E-coli, and Listeria.

Without rigorous monitoring, it’s impossible to tell if fly control strategies are working. Monitoring also alerts poultry keepers and farmers to new problems because regular checking highlights unexpected spikes in population.

Surveillance confirms the effectiveness of fly control measures and the efficacy of particular products.

Insect control, the protection of public health, and the prevention of statutory nuisance is a condition of environmental permits. 

The local authority has the power to investigate any premises about which there are complaints from local residents under the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005.

Fly monitoring programmes support a robust insect control strategy and can be used to rebuff complaints.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do You Get Rid of Flies Around a Poultry Farm?

You’ll never eliminate all flies on a poultry farm, but numbers must be within acceptable levels. Fly control is year-round and not just in the spring and summer.

An effective control programme includes insecticide spraying, good farm design and layout, and regular monitoring of adult and larval fly populations.

What Flies Are Associated With Poultry?

Chicken manure provides the perfect warm, moist conditions to attract flies and is the ideal breeding and feeding ground.

Flies most associated with poultry are the common housefly, the lesser housefly, and bluebottles. Identifying the species when monitoring is essential for accurate assessment and control.

Need Help with Fly Control on Your Poultry Farm? Shop Dalton Engineering!

Successful fly control relies on a blend of active management and appropriate and targeted products.

Dalton Engineering provides tried and tested products for all your fly control needs to support an insect management strategy, including physical barrier deterrents, fly traps, and quality insecticides.