How to Keep Flies Off Cattle

Keep flies away from grazing cows.
Keep flies away from grazing cows. (Image: BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images)

It is important to keep flies away from cattle because they pose a potential health threat to the animals. Some flies feed off cattle blood, and take up to 20 feedings a day with their sharp needle-like noses. Not only does this annoy the cows, but it can also lead to disease and infection. Impregnated cattle ear tags are filled with insecticide that is released gradually over the cows' heads and bodies while they are moving and grooming, and this has been proven to be the most effective way to control the flies.

Things You'll Need

  • Impregnated cattle ear tags
  • Chemical-resistant gloves
  • Tagging gun
  • Rubbing alcohol

Disinfect the tagging gun with rubbing alcohol to make sure that it is clean and safe to use on the cow. This is important to prevent infection and other diseases.

Put on your gloves and take the tag out of the packaging. Place it on the tagging gun. Follow all of the recommended directions on the label.

Take the gun and tag and place it halfway between the head and the tip of the ear, and also in line between the second and third rib so the needle doesn't accidentally penetrate any blood vessels.

Squeeze the tagging gun until it pops, and then you are ready to do the same with the other ear. Make sure that the tag is on there securely and there is no blood.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use brands that direct you to use a tag on each ear for better coverage.
  • Don't tag a cow unless it has at least 40 flies on each side.
  • Take tags off in the fall so the chemicals stay effective.

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