One of the unfortunate downsides of raising chickens is the attraction of flies to your coop and run area. Chicken poop attracts flies, chicken feed attracts flies, standing water attracts flies, meat scraps and cut up fruits and veggies (i.e. chicken treats) attract flies. In short, if you have chickens, you'll have flies. Spraying pesticide near your coop and run area isn't an option obviously, so I would like to offer some natural ways to control your fly population.
I have learned that 'layers' of fly control offer the best protection against flies. Obviously not leaving any puddles or standing water is important, as is removing uneaten feed, especially feed that has gotten wet, and sprinkling food-grade diatomaceous earth (DE) around the feeders and coop area. Removing soiled litter from the coop regularly will also reduce your fly population. Adding garlic powder and probiotic powder to your chickens' feed can also make their excrement less attractive to flies. Hanging fly catchers is also a powerful aspect fly control. Here's an idea for an easy DIY Fly Catcher.
In addition to taking the above basic steps you can take against flies, here are two a quick, inexpensive and easy suggestions to repel flies.
The herbs rosemary, lavender, basil and mint all purportedly repel flies. Flies don't like aromatic scents and tend to keep their distance. I gather bouquets of fresh rosemary and lavender sprigs, tie them with twine and hang them wherever I see flies congregating in the coop or in the run. I refresh the bouquets as they start to lose their scent. These work especially well over the nesting boxes where flies like to bother setting hens.
Into small glass mason jars, pour a liberal amount of vanilla extract over several cotton balls. Add some fresh basil and mint leaves. Cut a piece of cheesecloth to fit over the top of the jar and then replace the screw part of the lid, leaving the round cover off so the scent can escape. Place the cups anywhere you don't want flies. These work especially well near your feeders (also try setting a few on your picnic table or patio during barbeques to keep flies at bay). Clean out and replace the contents when the scent starts to dissipate.
Try these easy, effective all-natural methods of fly control this summer. Good luck! And please share other ways you repel and catch flies naturally!