Is your barn ready for winter?
That is something many people tend to look over until it's too late. As the weather gets colder, the winter brings challenges for every horse owner. Preparation is key. Below are a few pointers to help you winterize your barn.
Check your stalls:
Make sure you check each of your stalls for any protruding nails, screws sharp edges, etc. Also replace any old wood to keep your horse safe from any split, chewed or uneven boards. For many people, your horse will be spending a lot of time in their stalls during the winter so make sure they are safe!
Ventilate your barn:
Make sure your barn is well ventilated to keep your horses healthy. Natural ventilation can be provided through stall windows. If this is not an option, leave some doors open during the day time to get fresh air through the barn. Another option is to open your horses stalls up by using grilled or mesh partitions between the stalls which will allow for more airflow.
Invest in heated water buckets:
Make sure your horse has water, even during the coldest of days. Remember that snow cannot provide horses with enough water for survival so investing in heated or insulated water buckets helps the horse and yourself by reducing
work load of breaking ice and hauling water.
Clear the way to manure disposal:
With the snow, dumping manure can even be more difficult. Make sure you have a clear and easy path from your barn to the manure pile. You can always relocate it come Spring time, but make sure there is a designated area.
Stock up on bedding:
Make sure you have enough bedding through the winter months and that the bedding is stored in a dry area. You can buy bulk shaving more cheaply.
Stock up on feed:
Make sure you have enough hay to last you through the winter months. This is generally an end-of-summer task but if you have not done it, do it now!
Remove all cobwebs:
Cobwebs catch dust, hay and bedding which can be a fire hazard. Give your stalls and barn a good dusting.
Provide outdoor protection:
If your horses are outside at any point in time during the winter, make sure they have a place to go in the case of bad weather. A 3-sided shed is the best option which can block precipitation and wind. Make sure it is safe for your horses of any nails, sharp edges, etc.
Check your lights:
Lighting is important during the winter as the days are shorter. Check all the lights in and outside of your barn. Replace any that are dim or burnt out.
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