We are having problems with flies. Horses have fly mask we spray them down every morn and afternoon, but every time we go feed they are covered up again. We live next to a 80 acre cow pasture, could this be the problem? I see other horses when I am driving down the road and do not see as many flies...what is the deal??? Anyone have any suggestions?
Unless you are next to where they feed the cows or they have way too many head on the 80 acres, I wouldn't think that the cow manure would have a huge impact on your fly problem.
A lot of people use those fly predators (Fly Predators), but I think that you have to start those earlier in the Spring. It is something to think about next year, though.
I like to feed apple cider vinegar in my horses' daily rations. It helps, but I still have to spray them every other day or so. There are also feed through fly products that help to an extent (Feed through options via Jeffers or Rabon Block). We used the blocks for a while, but we had an overweight pony that would devour them in a couple of days :P
Look around your barn/pasture for manure pile ups or other things that might attract flies. If the horses stay close to the gate a lot, for example, you might have some manure buildup that you can spread to the back part of the pasture. Maybe you have some stalls that you have been putting off cleaning, or a bag of sweet feed that you leave open (flies love tasty horse feed).
At this point, I would recommend fowl. At our barn, there are far too many horses for the size of the farm, but we also have chickens, and our fly problem is very minimal for the number of animals there. And I very rarely find a tick on my boys. Chickens are easy to keep, as long as you have a place for them to roost, throw them some scratch feed, and don't mind finding droppings sometimes (and you can find where they nest and have delicious yard eggs!) You could also try guineas, but they make horrible noises lol.
We are covered this year too! Don't remember them this bad. I have heard its the extra rain, and where we ride if its wet they are way worse there. What kind of flies are on them? The predators only get the ones that lay eggs in manure, not the big horse flies. I have about 20 chickens, and they are still awful, even an hour after spraying.
Chris or Brenda, The cows next door are complicating a hard problem. The masks are good, but you can't leave them on day after day - at least I can't due to rubbing. The sprays don't help really, it's a waste of money. I use fly predators and Monster Fly Traps. The fly predators will reduce your population, not eliminate it. It also does nothing for the adult flies you already have. The fly traps are amazing. You have to put it where the horses can't get at it. I put it just out of their reach outside the fence. You won't believe how many flies you will catch and kill with those things. Fly strips are nasty. The traps you just throw away when they are full. Search for Monster Fly Traps and don't get any imitations!
A guy that I know recommended to me using fly tags for cows, but that involves leaving halters on your horses. I know to many horror stories to leave halters on them, especially shod. We have also tried the dryer sheets, they work really good for about an hour. I was at the feed store yesterday and I asked the guy there, "What's the best thing for flies?" He replied " Learn to like em"
I use the Endure fly spray and it has worked well for me. I also use fly predators and they help a lot but won't totally eliminate all flies. The Endure is waterproof and I think that helps alot, especially with the frequent rains we have had. I also use a sulfur mineral/salt block (the yellow ones) I think they help with ticks some. There is no one miracle cure for horse pests...you have to use several things in conjunction to see a difference. The cows next door are contributing the most flies. Ever seen them in a pasture with a 'carpet' of flies on their backs...that is why you have so many. If you didn't have the cows next door, I would say use the fly predators, spray your horses, clean up poop as much as possible, etc but with cows next door you are always going to have a fight on your hands!