The War on Bugs

Green Horsekeeping for the Frugal Barn Owner



Plant-based DIY flyspray that works! Less toxic, ridiculously inexpensive, and 32 oz. (which costs about $20) makes about 200 gallons! To find out more about Permethrin 10% (made from chrysanthemums) available from the horse warehouse 


  • 15 ml Permethrin 10%

  • 2 Tsblespoons (approx.) tea tree oil

  • 3 or 4 drops liquid soap

  • 1/4 cup Vetrolin Liniment (optional)


Fill with enough water to make half a gallon.
Shake to mix.
Use a funnel to fill spray bottles.


To spray the premises, make up the same solution with double the amount of Permithrin. Be sure to mark it well!

Recipe for half gallon (2 spray bottles)


The Bug Patrol

The bat colony in one of the barns works the night shift.

Stillpoint's Good Neighbor Policy

Feed through fly prevention May through the end of October is worth the investment.
(Horses appreciate it too!)

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The Benefits of Fly Masks and Fly Sheets

  • Longer daytime turnout
  • Eyes and ears protected from biting flies, allergens
  • Calmer horses, less wear and tear on the pastures
  • Less stomping reduces cracks and chipped feet
  • And dark bays (like Star here) don't bleach out
One size fly mask does not fit all. Folding the tab over will keep a mask on even over a cribbing color. Most of the time anyway.

Composting Manure 

Shavings are separated to another pile that takes longer to decompose. Manure compost is turned every couple of weeks with the tractor. On a winter day the temperature in the middle of this pile was 153 degrees! Here's what that same spot looks like in June (lettuce, chard, kale, potatoes and tomatoes, as well as some pumpkins along the far fence line).

Pasture Rotation

Horses are taken off each pasture in turn for a month or so in the summer to give the grass a chance to grow. Given the chance, horses won't eat where there is manure, which is why the three most luxuriant patches of grass in the big field have to be mowed every summer. Composted manure is spread and dragged every few days until it's completely broken up. The grass grows right up through even heavy layers of compost. It's a multi-generational job whenever there's a grandchild around!

Horse manure is the best fertilizer for vegetables!