Wow, gnat season is here again! I was hoping we could skip it this year due to the late spring. But no. they showed up and are meaner than I have ever seen them before. There are not as many, but they are agressive(possibly due to a very late spring). Several years ago we noticed a gnat is reluctant about flying through 1/4in hardware cloth and by replacing all the chicken netting on the chicken tractors, we no longer had any problems, even though the gnats were terrible. This year is different though, the hardware cloth merely slowed them down and before we realized,the gnats had killed a dozen half grown chickens in one afternoon. So we consulted a friend who free ranges his chickens, and his method proved to work. Vanilla is a natural gnat repelent but it didn't last long enough to be very effective for free range. So to make it last longer mix it with peanut oil(any oil used for cooking should work) and add some essential oils such as lemongrass, tea tree, lavendar, etc. Put this mixture into a cleaned out soap/pop bottle to make it easier to use(vanilla and oil dont mix so youll have to shake well just before using). Than Hang a wire above your feeder and hang a clean rag or towel down to where if a chicken is eating, it gets its head against it. Now lightly soak the rag with the mixture(dont get it in the feed). And thats it. All the chickens that visit the feeder will get a light coating of the repelent on their heads. You have to add some repelent to the rag several times a day. So far 100% success! They're so much more active now I'm interested what fellow BYC members do to keep these killers under control. Feel free to post your solutions to your gnat problems in this thread. Thanks!