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Ask the Nutritionist: Dr. Getty's Forum for Equine Nutrition

   Welcome to my forum. 

Here you will find more than 6 years of questions and my answers. It is searchable and offers a great deal of information. 

Currently, I am discontinuing new questions. This may change in the future, but in the meantime, please know that It has been a true pleasure serving you. 

Take a look at my Nutrition Library and Tips of the Month for a variety of answers on selected topics. Be sure to sign up for my monthly e-newsletter, Forage for Thought

I also have a growing number of recordings on "Teleseminars on Nutrition Topics that Concern You" as well as the new, Spotlight on Equine Nutrition Series -- printed versions of favorite teleseminars.

And finally, look for my articles in a variety of local publications and online newsletters, as well as the Horse Journal, where I am the Contributing Nutrition Editor.  


All the best,

 Dr. Getty 


Ask the Nutritionist: Dr. Getty's Forum for Equine Nutrition
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Homemade Fly Spray?

We have found that ridding flies from 10 horses daily costs more than the grain they consume daily.. Another horse friend suggested a light spraying of bleach water over the stall area while horses are turned out can help in the barn, (I think we just have white flies at our place now):).. We purchase the Repel X concentrate and keep in sprayer, and a gallon in the KY. humid weather is gone in 3 days.. I know that some folks make their own concoction from home products.. How do we know what products are safe to use that work? Not being cheap, but on occasion it would be nice to purchase new tack, or some new boots:).. Thank you for your reply.. Fantastic site!!!!!!!

Where are you from? KY

How did you locate this forum? Internet

Re: Homemade Fly Spray?

Hello Suzie,
I know what you mean, grooming products can cost more for your horse than most people realize. If I may (sometmes I feel weird giving any advise, I didn't start this site, nor am I an expert, so take it for what its worth), oil of olay's skin so soft repels flies, as do many types of plants or essential oils. However, the oils can be just as costly as the fly sprays, but often less harsh because they are more natural. A fly sheet is a one time investment, but some horses can't stand them. My horse had an allergy to flies, as well as really bad dry skin. Flaxseed, rice bran, and grand complete all-in-one supplement on Dr. Getty's advice(I had a phone consultation ) fixed him up and now he's slick and has no problem with the flies. Something she suggested to me that he didn't need was extra vitamin B1 (thiamin). I figure with the yeast he's getting his hind gut is producing more of it for him. (Please correct me if I am wrong Dr. Getty, I'm still trying to learn this stuff). I have heard of those feed through fly control blocks, but I don't know how or if they work or if they are safe. More info on that would be great. You could put up fly spray misters, or plant one of several kinds of plants that repel flies by themselves (be careful, some are poisonous). If you want more info on any of these options, let me know and I'll give you the plant or oil names.

Where are you from? CA

How did you locate this forum? originally, google

Re: Homemade Fly Spray?

Hi Susie,

Gee – I am not a fly spray expert, so I cannot tell you what homemade products are best. There was a recent article in The Horse Journal that compared different fly products.

I’ll tell you my fly regimen – and it is not fool proof by any means, but it does help. First I keep manure away from the barn – flies breed in manure so the better your manure management, the fewer flies you’ll have.

I also purchase fly predators – they do work, but they take a couple of months to get started.

I use a marigold natural fly spray – it works for a few hours, that’s all. But, frankly, when I used to use the chemical fly sprays, they didn’t work much longer, even though the label stated it works for 2 weeks!

I hang fly bait about 60 feet from the barn and fly
strips inside the stalls.

I am reluctant to suggest the bleach solution. Bleach is very caustic and if your horses lie down in their stalls, it will irritate their nasal passages.

If your horse has an allergic response or suffers beyond the normal annoyance (as with Jamie's horse), then nutritional supplements are very helpful.

Thiamin (vitamin B1) does have some natural insect repellent properties and giving it in high dosages (more than the bacterial flora can produce) seems to be effective for some horses. Every horse is different, so you sometimes have to experiment to find the right solution.

I hope this is helpful!

Thank you for writing and for your kind words!

Dr. Getty

P.S. to Jamie: Great to hear that things are going so well, Jamie!

Re: Homemade Fly Spray?

In Hawaii we suffer from the cattle/biting flies year round, as well as humid conditions...which makes fly spray (of any sort) inadequate. I can offer a couple rules that have worked for me for the last five years (when I started making my own)
1. If you use a oil based homemade mixture, the spray lasts longer on the horse, than water based.
2. Keeping your area free of manure and feeding sweetlix to my geldings (does not allow fly eggs to hatch on the manure pile) also helps.
3. The all time best homemade fly spray concoction is:
equal parts of vinegar (white) and mouthwash where the first ingrediment is eucalyptol. Add three good squeezes of Dawn GREEN dish washing soap and then add one tablespoon rice bran oil and one tablespoon Permectrin II.
This is effective and doesn't smell bad. I have never had skin/allergy issues and have also used it on a rag to wipe down faces when flies are really bad. I even use it on my legs in the summer!
Just remember to shake before spraying.

Good Luck and ALOHA!

Where are you from? Hawaii

How did you locate this forum? surfing