How to Get Rid of Gnats in Chicken Coop
Gnats always attack in swarms, are very relentless, and bite. It might be easy for you to shoo them away but when it comes to your chickens, they can’t deal with gnats the same way. The energy your chickens will spend moving around to brush off the insects might cause weight loss or cause them heat stress. Gnats can also harbor bacteria and diseases that can affect the health of your chickens. So you should find ways to get rid of them.
Add lemongrass to the nesting boxes
It might come as a surprise to many, but lemongrass is an effective agent against gnats. Like citronella, lemongrass contains a chemical component that can keep your chickens bug-free, especially during summer. Place some lemongrass in the nesting boxes of your chickens to provide them with added protection while laying their eggs. Hens typically stay still when laying eggs, which makes it perfect for gnats to pester them. But with lemongrass inside their boxes, gnats would stay away.
Keep your chickens indoors when there are many gnats around
You can also keep your chickens inside their coop, especially when there are a lot of gnats outside. Although chickens don’t like it when cooped inside, it’s for their own good. Since the biting insects don’t go inside coops often, your chickens will remain safe there. In case the gnats do get inside the coop, consider placing a fan inside. Gnats don’t like the wind and a fan should keep them away.
What to spray on chickens for gnats
Many farmers have attested that spraying chickens with a solution that contains vanilla and citronella is very effective against gnats. You should also consider planting citronella around the chicken coop. If you can’t do this, sprays that contain citronella are your best alternative. You can also use vanilla spray.
You can make this by mixing water with vanilla extract. Use the solution to mist the coop and your chickens. While vanilla sprays work, their effects don’t last long. So you have to reapply quite often. If it doesn’t repel all of the gnats away, at least your chickens will have a good smell!
Spray the coop too
One of the best ways to control gnat infestations is by spraying the coop and the surrounding area. Use 1 ounce of permethrin at 13.3% mixed with 1 gallon of water. Before doing this, make sure that the percentage of permethrin is correct as this comes in varying percentages. You may use a yard sprayer to distribute the solution. There are also some steps you need to follow to spray permethrin in and around chicken coops.
First, bring your chickens out before spraying the floor and walls of the coops. Close the coop door until the solution dries up completely. You may find a residue on the surface where you sprayed for about 4 to 6 weeks. When night comes, and your chickens are inside the coop, you can spray the surrounding areas. Permethrin is a substance derived from chrysanthemum flowers. It’s also effective in controlling mites. If you plan to use this directly on your chickens, make sure you use a lower percentage so you won’t cause them harm.
Other methods that work
Apart from the ones already discussed, there are other methods you can use to protect your chickens against gnats. If your coop is big enough, keep all of the chickens inside. While your chickens are inside, keep the coop dark by turning all the lights off. Also, install fine screening over any vents or windows.
Since gnats don’t like wind, consider adding a fan to create wind in the coop. Just make sure the chickens aren’t bothered by the fan. Check the surrounding areas for standing water and if you find any, remove it. Try applying vanilla to the combs, wattles, and heads of your chickens. You can even try hanging fabric softener sheets in the surrounding areas.
Gnats usually attack in swarms and they will attack your chickens from above. They would bite your birds on any skin surface that’s exposed including their wattles, face, legs, and combs. Remember that these insects can affect the health of your chickens as they can carry bacteria and diseases. This makes it important to take the necessary steps to get rid of gnats from your chicken coop whenever they appear.