Look what happened to fly into our little chicken coop area yesterday.
We are not sure what they are but think Daisy, Donald, and…whatever another girl ducks name has found a new home on The Simple Farm.
I’m just kidding about them flying in. We have been really concerned over the last year or so about the number of flies that swarm around our cows. We’ve tried non toxic stuff like making faces at the pests. We’ve tried spraying vinegar over the cows. We’ve even gone so far as to sit as swat the flies in the more horrid times of the day.
One of our farming friends says she controls flies with these beauties. These are Muscovy ducks. They are a duck that lives on land and are quite useful for pest control.
In our discussion with our friend she sent over this information:
Here is an article from a study down with large operations from a while back. http://www.entomology.wisc.edu/mbcn/live409.html
This is from another article on the net -
"Another biological control is use of Muscovy ducks—a breed of meat duck that spends its time on land (rather than water) eating insects. Some small farmers claim that four or five ducks per cow virtually eliminates a fly problem. According to Dennis French, DVM (Louisiana State University), in research trials, Muscovy ducks removed adult house flies 30 times faster than fly traps, fly paper rolls or bait cards. Ducks in cages with 100 flies took only 0.6 hours to remove 90 percent of the flies compared to 15.3 hours for the most effective commercial bait devices. “In other studies, the ducks lived for 12 weeks in pens with calves, without injury or any additional feed for the ducks. They ate about 25 house flies per 15 minute observation period when fly populations were low to moderate,” says French."
This is from homesteading today site -
"I've used Muscovy ducks to control flies for several years. It works well. The Muscovies roam widely. They follow the cattle, waiting for manure to hit the ground. Then they scatter it, looking for something edible. The manure dries out and won't hatch flies.
The cattle learned how else the Muscovies can help. They lie down to chew their cuds and let the Muscovies pick flies off of them. That's the best horse fly control. You can often see a cow turn her head or stretch her neck so a duck can reach a biting fly."
I the winter I give them whole grains (wheat and barley) and 2nd cut alfalfa/grass mix hay (small amounts in a box/mini manger) plus water to drink. Care about the same in winter, but less care in summer. In summer I let them roam the yard, set out a 2 1/2 gallon bucket for water, and some screenings or some whole grain for backup feed. They eat a lot less as they eat more insects and vegetation. When first turned out they scout the yard for insects. they also eat grasshoppers, mosquitoes, moths, slugs and whatever else they find.
I lock them up at night for their safety.
Rosebud’s only comment was: You had me at “Control Flies.”