Fly Spray and Annabelle’s Hoof Trim

Annabelle is in her later golden years and her back hooves were way too long which caused her discomfort when she walked. She needed them trimmed, but we do not have a squeeze chute to help her stabilize on three legs, so it was a difficult job for her.

The mean, biting flies were not helping.


I have made my own natural fly and mosquito spray this year, which really works, especially for milking when you don’t want them kicking and smacking you in the face with their tail because of being bitten.  None of these ingredients are  harmful to animals or humans and considering that cows lick each other and also lick themselves I don’t want any harmful residue on them to enter the milk through their system.

The flies are chased away, but not killed by this formula.

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It should not be sprayed on her udder, nor on any cuts or wounds because it would sting.  It is amazing how well it works on humans to keep off mosquitoes, even by the river.

The formula consists of Apple Cider Vinegar, Peppermint Castile soap, essential oils and water in a spray bottle.


This is a 32oz spray bottle and I fill half with Apple Cider Vinegar.  I add two teaspoons of Peppermint Castile Soap and the rest with warm water and shake well to incorporate the castile soap well with the liquid. The peppermint castile soap has a very strong fragrance to repel flies and mosquitoes and the soap helps the mixture stick to the insects and the hair better.


Several different essential oils are good for repelling insects, though I could not find citronella oil this year, which should be in the mixture.  Lavender would also work as most insects hate the smell of lavender.  The essential oils I have been using in this mixture are Eucalyptus Globulus, Rosemary Highland and Grapefruit, which are effective and also were on sale at the health food store.  I add about 50 drops of each and shake well.  This mixture is very cost effective and I go through quite a lot of it because of the fly and mosquito season.


The hoof trimming job was not a great success because it was difficult for Annabelle to balance comfortably on three legs. This is the same back foot that troubled Annabelle last year when she had foot rot and we had to move her to a dry pasture.  Now mainly her back hoofs are just too long.  She still has a crack in this hoof which I apply lanolin and coconut oil to.


The rope also did not work to hold her foot up and was quickly taken off.


At least Luit was able to trim off the excess length to her back feet.


He wanted to take off more and shape her hooves, but we will wait until we have a safer set up for her. She is much more comfortable with the partial trim however.


Annabelle’s calf was due on August 1st, but she lost it on July 26th. She is such a dear cow and is doing very well and is giving 5 gallons of milk a day.  I forgot what a joy it is to milk her, compared to Elsa who has been so difficult and had dropped her production to less than a half a gallon.  We have stopped milking Elsa, which is the real vacation, and dear Faline drinks all she needs from her mom.   So all is well.

4 thoughts on “Fly Spray and Annabelle’s Hoof Trim

  1. Thanks for the adaptation. I have been using cidar vinegar with a little soap as fly spray for years. This smells sooo much better. I spray mine not only on myself, my horse and mini donkey but also on the inside of there house and bedding. I went out last spring to the inside of there open barn being invaded by millions of Skeeter’s. I panicked grabbed their homemade spray and went wild wild west on the inside walls and bedding. To my delight it seemed that within 5 minutes there was virtually no mosquitoes. It stayed that way for about two weeks with only covering up or removing the poop. I then saw a few more fly’s and resprayed the inside. I have done this ever since and it works like a charm. I am also using mosquito dunks in all my standing water which are little life savers.

  2. The flies are so horrendous this year, so I whipped this up before milking this morning… and it works! Fabulous! I found citronella oil yesterday at the health food store, so I used that instead of the peppermint oil (and ended up using dish soap too). Thank you! I am going to use some on myself today as well. Love the rain, hate the skeeters!!

    • I also need to make some! I do put diatomaceous earth in the mixture as well, which when it dries on the fly or deer fly… It will kill them too! Ha. Sometimes it clogs the sprayer though.

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