Calf pens and hutches provide an ideal environment for flies. Not only do flies spread disease to calves, but they also cause the calf discomfort and stress, reducing feed intake and affecting the health and growth of your calves.
An Integrated Pest Management (IPM) plan is the most cost-effective way to reduce fly populations in calf housing, says Gary Geisler, Land O’Lakes Purina Feed calf and heifer specialist. He offers the following advice:
• Clean up spilled feed and milk, eliminate standing water, clip grass, and store manure and soiled bedding away from calf facilities.
• Since flies lay eggs in manure, consider using a feed-through larvicide in both milk replacer and calf starter to break the fly life cycle.
• Use scatter baits when you see adult flies around calves. If and when fly populations really get out of control, use pesticides that kill flies on contact.
• Add a feed-through larvicide to your calf program 30 days before the fly season starts and 30 days after a killing frost.