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Shoo fly

June 27, 2009

 We don’t have too many flies to worry about, but I do like to keep Della comfortable since I have been pasturing her in such small areas with no shade.  BAD farmer, bad farmer.  Plus, she is such a piss ant to milk when she is annoyed by flies.  We both end up doing things we reget later… .

I’ve tried many different products, and then of course I have spent countless hours and money trying to make my own concoctions.  Usually with poor results.  I have finally settled on No-Fly repellent from Crystal Creek in Wisconsin.  Other products of their’s that I like are Saf-Cal a non-caustic calcium drench, and the Fresh-n-Easy calcium supplements.  Flies are kind of an indicator species, just like weeds.  Cattle with properly functioning adrenal glands won’t have flies.  I need to work on that part of the equation.  Sigh.  So using insecticide isn’t really solving all the problems you have with your cows.  Kinda like spraying for weeds.  We do want the weeds and flies to go away, but in way that does no harm.  So I prefer a repellent to an insecticide.

It’s hard to tell what Della dislikes more, the flies or the fly repellent.  The strong essential oils really bother livestock, so with that in mind, I prefer to wipe on the oil instead of spraying.  She still dislikes the procedure.



I keep my fly wipe cloth in a tightly lidded plastic container in my milking area.  When I want to apply fly wipe, I pour on a little repellent and let it soak into the cloth. 


 The cloth stays moist in the container. 


 Apply the fly repellent to your cow the same as you would your horse, using the repellent soaked cloth, rub the hair the wrong way. 


 Then rub the hair back down.  This really gets good, long lasting coverage. 


Della has her tail, so I try to concentrate on areas that she can’t reach with her switch.  Legs, front and back. 


 Especially the heels, to repel heel flies. 


 Under the belly. 


 Flank area. 


Tail head. 




And surprising, the horns.  Huge blood supply here, and horn flies bite through the horn really irritating the cow. 


 To wipe in the eye area, take your cloth and wipe downward.  The cow will close her eye and this will avoid damage to tender skin.  Notice the oil on her horns. 


Ready for the day.

18 Comments leave one →
  1. June 28, 2009 7:59 am

    Do you use the water based or oil based? I’m assuming oil based but wanted to make sure. Do you dilute it at all? This is a very timely post!! Thanks!!


    • June 28, 2009 8:12 am

      Katie, I do use the oil base, and the only time I dilute it, is when I am making up a spray bottle mixture. My daughter uses it on her horse and she sprays him all except his face. But for the cow, I like it full strength. Even at that a gallon always lasts into the second fly season.

  2. June 28, 2009 1:10 pm

    You said:
    Cattle with properly functioning adrenal glands won’t have flies.

    I’d like more info. We had some small calves and goats and a few flies. Then we got a cow from a farmer down the road and oh, the flies. She came in with her own supply and now we are seeing more on the other animals. I suppose the time of year means there will be more, but we saw such a huge increase when Lily arrived that I’m hoping to find a natural way to keep the flies down.

  3. June 28, 2009 1:47 pm

    I never knew that flies could bite into a horn. Wow.

  4. June 28, 2009 4:51 pm

    When we had a HUGE fly problem on the farm with the horses, we bought mail order wasps. Little tiny things that ate fly larvae but did not harm human or animal. They lay their eggs in manure, over winter somewhere and come back strong in the spring. While they did not totally alleviate the flies, they sure did help!

  5. June 28, 2009 5:28 pm

    What a beautiful clean cow.

    Have read that muscovy ducks can eat huge number of flies. Our sheep don’t have many flies but we like the muscovys none the less.

  6. June 28, 2009 7:58 pm

    she has beautiful horns. wow.

    I remember my dad used Blag flag in the barn. That has since been banned. I’m surprised all of us kids survived ha ha.

    Anyway — just to make sure he didn’t get a head swat, he took an old bicycle tire and laid over her backside while he milked her (by hand) …

  7. Renee permalink
    June 29, 2009 9:43 am

    I have no clue how I starting reading your blog (several months now)…but I am glad I did…you have got to be one of the kindest, most responsible person that I have had the honor of “meeting” online….thanks

  8. Genevieve permalink
    June 29, 2009 1:55 pm

    Hi, I’ve used pine tar with olive oil at a 3:1 ratio for our cow and it seems to work pretty well.
    I was wondering if you could send me the info on the man you used for mobile slaughter. I live in Sandy and I have some pigs I’d like to have done……..thanks so much.

  9. July 7, 2009 9:20 am

    Flies are a terrible problem in the summer, just plain ugly. We have tried all sorts of stuff also. This is good to now.


  10. August 15, 2009 8:55 am

    I am in search of a fly wipe for horses from household ingredients. I assumed an oil base but what kind of oil? Canola, olive…? What other household products are safe but are a repellent? There must be an old fashioned remedy. I feel just awful when i see their faces covered even though they don’t seem too bothered, it bothers me, plus flies are disease carriers and are pests for us when working with our animals. Does anyone have some old-time solutions we might try? Thanks!

    • August 15, 2009 9:22 am

      Jason, any kind of oil would work, and essential oils like eucalyptus and peppermint added to the oil seem to offer the most relief as repellents. Look into health and nutrition issues for your horse too, with cattle, poorly functioning adrenal glands can contribute to fly problems. I would assume it would be the same for horses, as most horses do not consume a diet anywhere close to what they would eat if left to their own devices.

  11. July 5, 2010 5:50 pm

    Hi, do the essential oils in the No-Fly get into the cow’s endocrine system, they don’t have an impact on milk? What if the cow is pregnant? the formula looks super great.

    • July 5, 2010 8:33 pm

      Hi Bob or Laura (?), Not that I know of. I do wipe it on though instead of spraying. It seems to work better that way and isn’t so irritating to the animals. It is on the “consider for use” on certified organic farms.

  12. February 7, 2011 6:46 pm

    So, how do you address the adrenal gland problem?

  13. June 7, 2014 9:21 am

    We use this method once a week as well and it really works! Another very good source for eliminating flies is the QuickBayt Fly Bait by Bayer. It’s considered the best fly repellent for horses on the market. All you do is sprinkle the granules throughout the stable and ground and the flies will literally die within a minute of consumption. Hundreds a day!

    Your cheapest source online is at


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