We are having a serious fly problem this year. I mean, it's BAD. I've done a bit of research and it seems the combination of a really wet spring and a significant decrease in the local bat population may have something to do with the explosion of flies. I am very diligent about keeping all the animals' living quarters clean and the grass and weeds kept under control, but these flies are INSANE.
And I can't seem to find a fly spray that works for more than 20 minutes and with three horses, we go through a LOT of spray. We spray in the morning before the horses are turned out and they all get their fly masks. They get sprayed again when the come in at night and sprayed before we ride. Most of the time, the horses are stomping and swishing less than an hour after we spray them. Poor critters!
I've tried the homemade fly sprays in the past (the apple cider vinegar and the Skin So Soft version) and was even less impressed with them than the commercial versions. I've read some people put garlic in their horse's feed to help ward off the bugs and some even put vinegar in the feed or water to help make them taste "nasty" to the bugs. I know other's who use feed-through fly control and have success with it and the fly predators are touted to be quite efficient.
But I can't use the feed-through fly control or the fly predators because we have free-range chickens who like to make a tasty meal out of the horse manure and would snatch those fly predators right up and render them absolutely useless.
Does feeding the horses garlic actually work? Does anyone have a homemade fly spray they use that works for more than an hour and doesn't end up costing more than the commercial fly spray? I'm pretty open to all suggestions at this point!
My ponies are desperate for long-term relief from those horrible things. Especially poor Gabe, thin-skinned, sensitive Thoroughbred that he is. Poor guy really, really suffers when the spray is no longer effective.