They don't call them pests for nothin'! Flies, gnats, mosquitos, stingy things, buzzy bugs, all of them out to make our summer barn time miserable! Ok, ok, they do plenty of good in the world, don't get me wrong, but we can all agree that having flies around the barn is more than just annoying, it can spread disease. Here are some ways to help keep your barn as bug free as possible!
1. Keep your barn clean! A clean barn is a happy barn. Keep stalls clean, at least once daily, and let wet spots air out to dry. Keep water buckets fresh, and disinfected regularly. We dump buckets everyday and scrub them several times a week. Make sure you don't have muddy, dirty build up around drains, or right outside the barn, stall corners, etc. Moisture attracts bugs!
2. Keep your manure pile away from the barn. The further from the barn you can get it, the better, and have it spread or hauled off regularly.
3. Make sure feed is in a sealed container. Open bags of feed are buffets for flies, mice, and other pests!
4. A well ventilated barn doesnt just reduce the number of bugs, but it improves the quality of air for everyone in the barn, too. We love our Barnmaster barns with bars between each stall, wonderful breezeway aisles, and big windows in each stall. Now, obviously we know you cant just go start cutting windows into your barns if you don't already have them but here are some suggestions to help your barn breath and have better air quality.
- Install fans in each stall
- Turn horses out as much as possible. This keeps stalls cleaner and drier.
- Look into installing ceiling fans in barn aisles
5. Install automatic fly spray systems like these found at horse.com
6. Fly Spray! Obvious choice, but there are SO MANY out there! My personal favorites include Ultra Shield Black (which has sunscreen in it, great for black horses), Ultrashield Green (Natural!), Equisect (Natural, and safe to use on dogs too!), and Repel X (it works!). Most of these come in a roll on, or a gel, which is great for horses faces, ears, etc.
7. Fly Masks, Boots, Sheets. These all help keep the pests off your horses. Just make sure they fit properly, and that on hot days your horse isn't sweating underneath them.
8. Fly bands. Fly Armour is one company that makes bands you can strap around your horses legs, on their halter, and more places which are great for trail rides, or horses that stomp their feet to no end .
What about all of these feed-through fly preventatives, and things like fly predators? I have heard nothing but good things about Fly Predators, but it's my understanding that when you use them, you can't use any bug spray, or anything like that because it will kill the predators. We have recently started our horses on Solitude IGR, a feed through supplement (and it's all natural too!), after a recommendation from a friend, and so far I would consider it a success.
Til' next time!
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