Question: Now that the weather has warmed up, I notice that there are lots of flies in my piggery. Is there anything I can do to control the flies?
Fly control is an important part of biosecurity on a pig farm. Flies are a nuisance to the pigs and to the people who work with them, but they can also bring diseases into your piggery when they settle on the feed or on sores.
The first important rule is to reduce the number of places where flies can breed.
Flies like to breed in dung or in other rotting material, so it’s important to dispose of dung that’s been removed from the pens, dirty bedding and dead piglets in a hygienic way so that flies won’t breed near the piggery.
A composting system for solid waste, preferably some distance from the piggery and covered to prevent smells, is a good idea and will provide you with fertiliser for the garden.
The second important rule is to keep the pens as clean as possible by removing solid waste daily and making sure that the pigs aren’t wasting feed.
If they’re not eating all of their feed, reduce the quantity so that they will finish it and not leave any for the flies.
The third rule is to do whatever it takes to repel the flies. Sticky fly-paper coils are very effective: If you suspend a number of them in the piggery and replace them when it’s clear they’ve done a good job of catching flies, you can reduce the fly population considerably.
The baited fly traps one can hang up outside the piggery are also very effective and catch a lot of flies, but they have a bad smell.
- Flies don’t like to go into dark places – you will probably have noticed that there are more flies in the sunlit areas of the piggery.
- Many pig farmers in hot areas hang rows of large leaves (foliage) along the edges of the roof of the piggery to reduce the light intensity.
- The leaves are equally effective when dry, so there’s no need to replace them unless they fall to pieces.
- The pigs will also appreciate the extra shade in hot weather!
- Finally, if you see any open sores on the pigs, treat them with a wound spray – you can buy it at the co-op. It helps the wound to heal and also keeps flies away.
- This article was written by dr. Mary-Louise Penrith and first appeared in Farming SA.