Let us start by asking where maggots in a chicken coop come from. Well, here is a simple answer: A dirty coop that is always warm and smelly will attract flies that can breed and lay eggs. Those eggs hatch into larvae which are known as maggots, within a day. After hatching, maggots will crawl around the coop while looking for food before they develop into the next stage (pupa).
To get rid of maggots in a chicken coop, wash it with hot soapy water. Let it aerate until it is completely dry. Then wipe it with 125 ml white vinegar mixed with 500 ml warm water. Ensure the coop is always dry and clean any chicken droppings every day to keep maggots away.
The number of maggots in a coop depends on the amount of food they can find and the environment. For example, maggots will thrive if the temperatures in a coop are kept between 70° F to 85° F. Therefore, it is easy for those white worms to thrive in a coop because that is the normal temperature in most coops.
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Causes of maggots in a chicken coop
As long as the coop is never cleaned regularly, maggots will always dwell in it. A dirty coop that stinks is the major cause of maggots in a coop because the rotting smell is what attracts flies. Once the flies come in, they are likely to lay eggs which turn into maggots. Here are some of the reasons why you may see maggots crawling in your chicken house:
1. Chicken droppings
Maggots can feed on chicken waste, and if there is a constant supply, they will keep coming back. In most cases, chicken waste is usually soft and damp in nature. This encourages it to produce a foul odor that is enough to attract flies to the coop. Maggots like soft food that is damp, and this means that they can feed on fresh chicken droppings.
2. Chicken food
Too much food in the coop is always left on the floor as the chicken eat and scatter. After some time, the food is mixed with moisture, and becomes damp. As it rots away, any maggots in the coop can easily feed on that. The foul odor from the rot will also attract flies that will lay more eggs which develop into maggots over time.
If you are using a bowl for chickens to drink from in a coop, there are high chances that they will knock it over. Spilled water will soak the chicken droppings, which results in a smelly coop. As they rot, flies are attracted to them. More flies in a coop increase the chances of maggots because they will lay eggs there.
4. Filth and dead pests
A dirty coop usually encourages other pests to live and thrive around it. This can be inside, around, or under the coop. Rats in a coop may sometimes die, especially if you are using poison to get rid of them. If this happens, they will attract maggots as their dead bodies rot and decay in hidden areas.
How to get rid of maggots in a chicken coop
The only way to get rid of maggots in a coop is to ensure that are well aerated with no smell from the chicken poop that can attract egg-laying flies. If this is done, there will be eggs from flies that can hatch into maggots inside, under, or around the coop. Here are simple tips on what to do:
1. Wash the coop with vinegar + hot water
White vinegar can dehydrate and kill maggots on contact. It can also repel them since it gives off a burning smell. If the coop is infested, simply mix 250 ml of white vinegar with an equal amount of hot water in a spray bottle. Then sprinkle the solution on the maggots to kill them.
The solution can also be used to wipe the entire coop after thoroughly washing it. During this period, all the birds should be removed from the coop. If possible, use a make-shift shelter for 2-3 days so that the coop is well dried after washing.
2. Sprinkle diatomaceous earth
Food-grade diatomaceous earth can kill maggots by drying and cutting through their soft bodies. This should be easy to use because it is as simple as spreading it on the maggots after removing all the chicken from the coop.
If the coop is wooden and there are gaps and cracks that are holding some maggots, sprinkle diatomaceous earth in there. This should dry out and kill all the maggots in it. Note that it is okay to use this in the coop because even if they eat it by mistake, it cannot harm them. In fact, chickens that ingest DE in small amounts can have low internal worms in them.
3. Clean the droppings regularly
When chicken droppings are damp and rarely cleaned, the foul smell will attract more flies to lay eggs. If possible, always do some cleaning in the morning when the chickens are out. You can repeat this until the maggots are all gone before you resort to any time of the day.
Maggots can leave and survive on droppings alone, which is enough to keep them going. Therefore, try always to clean them and keep the coop as clean and dry as possible. It is the only way you can rid your coop of worms instantly. Clear any waste that is hidden under the coop as well.
4. Keep the coop dry
Maggots cannot eat dry food; if the coop is always kept dry, their survival chances are reduced. Avoid leaving lots of drinking water in the coop that can be spilled as the chicken drink. If possible, always use artificial chicken waterers.
Those waterers are designed for dripping enough water for chickens to drink. There is never too much for them to spill on the ground. Another advantage of using regulated waterers is that too much water is not left in the open to evaporate.
A dry coop will always reduce the maggots’ survival rate. In some cases, chickens will eat maggots out of curiosity. However, this is just part of their diet. Their safety after eating maggots depends on how much they take and the type of maggots ingested.