Gnats!! What Else Can I Do?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Baymule, Apr 14, 2012.

  1. Baymule

    Baymule Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 1, 2010
    Northeast Texas
    Last check up on the girls last night found them shaking their heads in spasms, scratching at their heads and BA-GAWKING in an alarming manner. GNATS! I ran in the house and got my husband so he could hold the door to the coop shut, (don't have a latch on the inside) and looked for something to treat them with. I used a spray bottle of CedarCide aaaannndddddd.......they HATED IT!! There was a whole lot of squawking and ba-gawking going on as I caught and sprayed each girl. I also hung 4 new vanilla scented Christmas tree auto fresheners in the coop. It seemed to help. I kept running out to the coop to check on them as I cooked supper. At dark, I went back out there and held the spray bottle over their heads and sprayed them on their roost. THAT was a lot easier [​IMG]

    This morning they were OK, just now I went back out to check on them and they were fighting GNATS again, although not as bad as last night. I use the CedarCide on my horses, but not so sure about the chickens and I sure don't want to "treat" them to death. So I realized I have a big bottle of Mexican vanilla. I dropped a spray nozzle in the bottle and saturated the girls with vanilla. They smell really good now! [​IMG] At least it chased the gnats away. I thought about treating the ground in the coop, but the lime I bought for the compost pile is hydrated and I think that burns animals feet, but I have pickling lime, so I sprinkled some of that on the dirt floor of the coop. The coop has lots of hardware cloth for ventilation and there is now a strong breeze blowing, which also seems to help.

    I have to go meet a guy that is going to build our cross fence on some land we have and I'll be gone the rest of the day. I'm hoping the gnats will stay away [​IMG] while I am gone.

    Does anyone have any other ideas on how to combat these pests? I will be back on here this evening to see if anyone has better ideas. Please comment on what you know will help. I have a friend that lost over 50 buff orpingtons to gnats while she was at work. I think my 8 girls are OK for now, but I will certainly welcome any ideas anyone has, Please!!
  2. Madam Hens

    Madam Hens Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 5, 2010
    Lexington, KY
    Something is drawing the gnats into the coop. Check for wet areas, wet feed, etc. Was at a meeting yesterday and was told to use pelleted lime for coop floors as the powdery lime acutally can cause respiratory problems when the chickens breath the dusty air. Wonder if a fly paper hung high in the coop so chickens didn't get tangled in it would work????
  3. RedDrgn

    RedDrgn Anachronistic Anomaly

    May 11, 2011
    West Virginia
    My Coop
    I have a feeling you're talking about black flies, which a lot of people refer to as gnats. These blood sucking nuisances are drawn by body warmth, movement, and respiration. So during black fly season (pretty much now through first frost in our area), they're going to be drawn by just about every warm blooded living creature that they can get to. They're an absolute pain in the @$$, and with the mild winter we had, they are already awful.

    They bother our chickens, too, particularly when they're out free ranging. There is nothing you can really do about it, though. The chickens will either shake, scratch, and keep them away or they'll seek shelter. When they get harried too bad, mine go back to the run or even into the coop, where the flies leave them alone. They pester our rooster the worst, but I think that's because his big comb and wattles provide huge fleshy targets for the voracious little bastards. He deals with it pretty well, though, will even go straight for a dry area and roll in the dust (which gets rid of them, too) for awhile.

    Be VERY careful what you spray your chickens with! Last that I knew, you shouldn't ever use cedar shavings in your coop/enclosed areas because it is a severe respiratory irritant for chickens, so I don't think it's a good idea to be spraying them with it. You can't do much of anything to get rid of the black flies because they're not attracted to bug lights or fly paper or any of that...they want blood. So your birds will either learn to deal with it, or put them in the coop if they simply get far too aggravated.

    I can't walk around my own yard now through frost without eye wear and a hat (otherwise I'll end up with three black flies in the eyes within five minutes), UNLESS I break out a cigar and keep a smoke cloud about my head. Unless I'm doing something that has me constantly walking (like mowing), I won't even go out without wearing long pants. They'll just chew me apart. But that's life when you live anywhere near a water way that has any kind of riffles. [​IMG]

    P.S. As far as controlling them, so far as I know from working with PA's black fly division in the past, the only way to control their populations is to treat the waterways that they originate from in bulk with Bacillus Thuringiensis, which is something that only your County or State can really do effectively.
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2012

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