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Flies and manure - Is feed source a factor in what attracts flies?

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  • Flies and manure - Is feed source a factor in what attracts flies?

    Just wondering.

    Are flies attracted to manure the same or different depending on horse's diet?

    The older horse in paddock next to my horse eats only Equine Sr.

    My horse eats only alfalfa cubes, soaked hay and BOSS.

    It seems I see more flies on the manure of the other horse.

    Is that possible?

  • #2
    Our senior horses had trouble digesting several different brands of senior feed. You could literally see the undigested feed in their manure.

    Obviously we switched feeds.

    My other thought is that some senior feeds have extra ingredients that may attract flies. Our current senior feed smell like liccorice ... its all we can do to keep from eating it ourselves on the way home! However, our horses are all pastured, so we don't see any difference in the way the flies are attracted to the various "donations".
    The other female in my husband's life has four legs


    • Original Poster

      I wish I could do an experiment on this.

      Put out three bowls of each:

      Something like Equine Sr - ie something sticky and sweeter smelling,
      one of dry "complete" pellets,
      and one of dry alfalfa pellets.

      See how many flies are attracted to each.

      Then see what happens when it comes out the other end.

      I have it in mind that the EqSr types (feed and manure) would attract more flies than the dry pellets, and the alfalfa pellets even less.


      • #4
        Just a thought. Does the senior horse .... er.... produce manure more frequently? Maybe there's more to attract a fly.

        However, I think your theory makes sense ... particularly if there is undigested feed going through the horse. (Many senior horses have dental problems which compound the problem)
        The other female in my husband's life has four legs


        • #5
          Last summer we had built a new barn. Our old (41) pony did not like his stall so ultimately he ended up staying in the aisle way where he could visit all the other horses and come and go as he pleased. His manue was a fly magnent. I assume it had to do with his lack of digestive ability among other things. He was fed the same as the others as he would not eat senior feeds. I just fed him a lot more throughout the day.


          • #6
            Some flies are attracted to moisture. Maybe there's more in your horse's manure.
            Groom to trainer: "Where's the glamour? You promised me glamour!"


            • #7
              I can tell you that horses who eat more molasses in their feed will attract more flies. I used to board at a large horse farm that fed mainly a pelleted feed. A new boarder insisted that her horse had to have the sweet feed version of that line of feed. She got it and her horse was a fly magnet. The stable owner kept telling her it was the sweet feed. She eventually caved and the horse was put onto the pellets. The change is fly attraction was very clear and definite.



              • Original Poster

                Tks Chica. You mean the flies were attracted to the manure as well as the feed itself? ie what goes in comes out the other - ie the manure more attractive as well?

                The flies are terrible everywhere this year - is what I am hearing.

                I guess I am trying to hypothesize that if all the horses on the property were fed the same feed - the least "sweet" in the bucket and in the resulting manure - if there might be less flies attracted to the area.

                I don't know the molasses content of Purina EqSr. It does seem to attract more flies in the horse's bucket. And worse still since the kindly ancient Appy next to my horse eats slowly and the feed gets dribbled on the ground. He also has had the most flies on him. (until the "spot on" fly drops were put on him).
                No, his feed cannot be changed to one less fly attracting. Just the fly observation did make me wonder. Particularly since my horse shares a (divided )shelter with the Appy. The Appy's bucket is inside and there are lots of flies. My horse eats outside the shed. Less flies. Somehow my horse is the one horse on the property that has developed summer sores.

                I have been trying to see whose manure attracts the most flies.


                • #9
                  What kind of flies are you referring to? There are flies that swarm around poop that have no interest in horses whatsoever--they just feed and lay their eggs and basically live their lives in and on manure. Other flies feed on the horses and just lay eggs in poop. If the fly doesn't use manure as a food source I don't know why they'd prefer one "flavor" over another. But I'm no insect expert.
                  Click here before you buy.


                  • #10
                    No, I mean the flies were attracted to the horse, swarmed the poor horse. These are the small black stable flies that feed on the horses legs, bodies and face. The lay their eggs in manure. It may be that manure of a horse that is fed more molasses will attract them more but basicly ALL of those stable flies will be attracted to manure because it is part of their life cycle. Your fly predators find the fly egg casings in manure piles and lay their eggs inside the fly egg casings. The predator larvae hatch and feed on the fly larvae.

                    So, if you want fewer flies you have to either pick up all manure and dispose of it, cover it, feed a feed-thru pesticide or use fly predators. If you want flies to be LESS attracted to a particular horse feed no molasses as the sweet tasting horse seems to attract more flies.

                    I use fly predators with good effect. My horses have an excellent run-in with heavy, sun-blocking shade tarps hung over all doors so the interior is extra dark. Flies are not nocturnal so they avoid really dark interiors. The shade cloth is excellent as long as you get the heaviest and tightest weave with a 70-80 % sun block.



                    • #11
                      feed no molasses as the sweet tasting horse seems to attract more flies.
                      I'm not sure feeding molasses makes a horse "taste" any different. Molasses is a very minor ingredient in even sweet feeds when compared to the amount of sugar in hay and grasses. I'm also not able to fathom why a blood-sucking fly would care one way or another how "sweet" something was. I'm thinking maybe we make too many extrapolations here between observations of certain species of house flies (and yellowjackets, etc.) liking sugary liquds and the common stable flies.

                      There's a reason stable fly traps are baited with stuff that smells like carrion and not with sugar.
                      Click here before you buy.


                      • #12
                        All I can say is I've seen clouds of flies on a horse eating sweet feed, when he was changed off of it inside of a few days they reduced radically, to about the same as was on the other 40 horses at the barn. I also tested feeding apple cider vinegar to a horse I kept next to a feed lot in eastern Oregon. He and the ranch horses were eaten up along their midlines by a very tiny flying insect. I don't believe it was knats, seemed a bit bigger, like a tiny fly. I began adding 1 cup of vinegar to my horses feeds and the bugs left him. The ranch horses 40 feet away continued to be bothered, they were bloody and raw! I didn't expect this to work but it did.

                        I do believe that what a creature eats can affect their attraction to biting insects. My vegetarian friend doesn't get bitten by knats while I am bitten relentlessly. I tried these B12 patches that you put on your skin and they reduce my knat attraction significantly. I am a sceptic. I don't believe it unless it's proven to me. You are what you eat and we are food to many insects a are our horses! I must taste goooood!



                        • #13
                          It's GNATS.

                          And a skeptic, by definition, resists interchanging the words "believe" and "proven" as well as "anecdote" and "data".
                          Click here before you buy.