7+ Simple Tips On How To Keep Flies Away From Rabbits That WORK

I get so many questions about fly control and keeping them out of the rabbitry. I am all about preventative rather than treatment. It is a whole lot easier to keep something from happening rather than trying to get rid of it.

Total transparency here when I say I don’t know how to get rid of Flystrike because I have never had to deal with it. Nor do I want to. Which is why I use all of these tips in different seasons in rabbitry so the risk factor is so low I don’t have to deal with a major problem.

how to keep flies away from rabbits intro image

Look Around Your Property

The first thing you need to do is look around your whole property and make sure you are not leaving flies a home. Any kind of manure or rotting material will attract flies.

Even if it doesn’t seem like it is that nasty, flies will take anything they can get.

Here is a list of things to check that are common on homesteads:

  • Manure Piles
  • Under cages with huge piles or litter trays.
  • The underside of a small amount of poo stuck to a cage. – I scrape the undersides of my hanging cages daily to keep the build-up down. 
  • Chicken coops.
  • Cattle barns, goats, ext…
  • Shaded nastiest where they could lay their eggs.
  • Trash cans or dumpsters.
  • Compost piles. – These need to be as far away from animals as possible.

They seem to love heat over cooler areas so this is another reason to be intentional about putting your rabbitry in a nice shared area to not only help keep your rabbits cool but to keep flies away.

a compost pile that could attract flies around your animals

Check Rabbit Cages

Check the bottom of your rabbit cages regularly. Rabbit fur can cause the poo to stick to the bottom of the cages and if it gets compacted enough that it will make a nice little condo for flys.

Scraping the bottom of cages: If you take a flat-bladed shovel or hand trowel to the bottom of the cage and run the part you would put into the ground along the bottom it will flick off the poo before it actually makes a compressed patty. — Pro tip: A dry day is going to be the easiest to get the poo off because it has dried out. But if its humid you can usually still get it off pretty easily without smashing it.

Just be careful of bunny toes sticking through the bottom of the floor. You don’t want to break a toe on accident.

Something like this is perfect and easily stored.

Horse Fly Spray

I LOVE LOVE LOVE this stuff and it is THE BEST. It is safe to spray on horses so if your rabbits get a little on them it’s ok. I wouldn’t spray them with it because horses don’t groom themselves with their mouth like rabbits do. So it’s not really intended for an animal that is a self-groomer and could ingest large amounts of it.

I take this spray and spray it on all of the frames of my lean-to style hutches and it works like a barrier.

image with arrows showing to spray fly spray on the pilers and mantle of the rabbit hutches

So if you have actual hutches then I would spray the front wall and door down as well as a rim around the bottom anywhere that is not sold that a fly could get through to the inside of the cage.

This spray will last about 3 or so days before I notice flys and have to spray again. Just keep in mind that if it rains then it is not going to stay on so you will have to reapply.

[lasso ref=”amzn-bronco-e-equine-fly-spray-32-oz-trigger-spray-2-pack” id=”90450″ link_id=”5402″]

Natural Fly Repellent Solutions

When it comes to pests I am a firm believer in doing what works and not screwing around with stuff that kinda sort of works. Some natural things do work but others don’t if you are not seeing quick results don’t wait days for something like fresh herbs to work. 

Fly perched on a stick.

D.E. In The Rabbitry

Diatomaceous earth is a natural wormer and parasite control for literally all the things. Rabbits can get some on them and you don’t have to worry it will harm them.

I sprinkle it on the ground under the cages that are directly below the rabbit cages as well as the walkways. This keeps bugs from laying their larvae in the rabbit poo under the cages. Doing this once in the spring and again about 3 months later works great for me.

DiatomaceousEarth 10 LBS FOOD GRADE

Last But Not Least! Ducks!

I know this is not an option for everyone so if you don’t have the space or live in an area where you can have them then you could probably skip this section.

Chickens will do the job too but not quite as well. They tend to dig in the dirt for bugs in the ground but not so much the bugs in the air. Which is what you want.

Ducks are natural foragers and love to find bugs. If you watch them they will stick their beak in the grass and handshake it. Causing the bugs to fly up so they can grab them for a mid-day snack.

If there is an area in the yard that feels particularly bug-filled I will close the ducks in that area for a good portion of the day. After a day or two, there is a noticeable difference. 

one chicken and two ducks for eating flys out of the rabbitry

Herbal Fly Control for Rabbits

Herbs are another option you can use but I would only use them as a bonus measure. Cut herbs tend to only last for a few days and as soon as the plant material starts to die it becomes another attractant for flies. 

Here are some herbs you can try if you want to add them to your preventative plan that you can sprinkle in your hutch try or really close to the cage itself.

  • Crushed garlic cloves.
  • Mint
  • Basil
  • Rosemary
  • Lavender can be used in the hutch tray as well.

These highly aromatic herbs have strong fragrances that flies find unpleasant, thus reducing the risk of infestation.

My Must Have Rabbitry Supplies

[lasso type=”list” category=”rabbit-care-supplies” link_id=”5403″]

Another Homemade Fly Repellent Idea

Another homemade fly repellent idea for rabbits is a safe and effective spray made with simple ingredients. This alternative solution can help keep flies away from your rabbit and reduce the risk of flystrike.

To make the repellent spray, you will need the following ingredients:

  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 tablespoon of liquid dish soap
  • 10 drops of an essential oil that repels flies (such as eucalyptus, citronella, or lemongrass)

Mix these ingredients together in a spray bottle and shake well.

When using the repellent spray, it is important to take precautions. Never spray the solution directly on your rabbit, as it may irritate their skin or eyes.

Instead, spray the mixture around the rabbit’s hutch like I described I do with the fly spray.

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Preventing Fly Strike

Preventing flystrike is extremely important because it’s essentially deadly for rabbits and it is extremely painful. It can happen quickly too. Especially during the summer months when flies are most active.

Fly strike is when flies lay eggs on a rabbit’s fur, and the hatched maggots then feed on the rabbit’s flesh, leading to a potentially fatal infection.

male french lop

Here are three steps to remedy the issue:

1. Regularly check for signs of flystrike like lots of flies sitting on the rabbit. Even maggots on the rabbit’s fur. — Pay special attention to the area around the anus, as this is a common location for flies to lay their eggs. If you notice any soiled or dirty fur, gently clean the area ASAP.

2. Keep waste far away from the rabbits. This is a huge reason why I am against solid floors in hutches — Flies are attracted to urine odors, so keeping the environment clean and free from waste will deter them.

3. Empty and spray the hutch tray with a fly repellent. If you have cages with trays adding a fresh batch of pine shavings will also help rep. — Diatomaceous earth is an effective and safe option to control flies. 

Regularly checking your rabbit and its living area for cleanliness is essential to prevent flystrike in rabbits.

Those little pets will bite your legs and exposed limbs if they are in the mood so going to all this effort to keep them out of your rabbitry is as much for you as it is for the rabbits to keep these pests at bay.

Flys are a total pain if you get infested with them so make sure to take preventative measures and your rabbitry and you will be fine.

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