There’s no better time than fall to get your barn ready and functional for the winter. Whether you are dealing with wooden barns or Armstrong steel barns, if you wait until winter hits, you’ll find that certain barn care tasks become far more difficult, if not impossible.
Here are 5 tips on how to prepare your barn for the cold:
Organize and clean everything
Organization is key when it comes to making sure winter won’t turn your barn upside down. Use fall as a time to do a thorough and deep cleaning of your barn, you can hire the Monster Cleaning company to help you do the cleaning, they will help you get everything done faster. Get rid of any extra and non-usable supplies you might have, like feed bags or any leftover piles of junk. Dust off any surfaces including shelves, lights etc. Hose down stalls as well as the mats, and clean all the bedding. Not only will your cleaning dissuade winter dust from settling in, but it will also keep away unwanted rodents, that tend to take up residence in warm spaces like your barn during the winter time. A rodent infestation would be a hassle to deal with in the winter, so make sure you take precautionary measures, and keep mouse traps handy.
Prepare Water Supply
With winter comes stilted water supply due to frozen pipes, and slowed flowing. With this in mind, making sure your barn has a clean unfrozen water for horse care is integral in winter months. In an article, Kathy Key of Key Stallion Station states, “Some people think horses can lick the ice or eat snow. That doesn’t work. Your horse will get colic if it does not get enough water to digest the roughage consumed to keep warm.” It’s important to make sure that all your tanks and electric waterers are in working condition, and to constantly check everyday to make sure none your horses aren’t getting shocked by the current.
Inspect Your Roofs
Why roofs? Well, roofs are what will provide shelter from the snow and cold winter winds. Fall is the perfect time to spot defects in your roof due to the light coming in during the day. Equis suggests standing inside your barn during the day, and looking for gaps that allow light to come through. Making sure there aren’t any cracks and holes in the roofs and walls will make sure that your barn is secure, always aiding in keeping away rodents. If you aren’t sure about the overall structure of any animal housing, then don’t let animals live in these spaces until examines and okayed by a professional. Another thing you might consider is installing snow guards if you don’t already have any. Snow guards are mounted on the roof to prevent large snow slides and buildups that can damage gutters.
Keep Emergency Stock
You never know when a terrible storm might hit, blocking roads and preventing you from leaving home. In this common winter scenario, it’s always good to have some extra supplies at your disposal. Keep items like hay on hand, a good rule of thumb to always have 10% more than you think you might need. Feed is important too, and having two-three weeks of extra feed will be a boon in any emergency. The important thing to remember about buying feed is to check the expiration date, and if you have extra that’s about to expire, then use that and buy some more as your emergency supply. Ready your first aid kit with all items you use regularly, as well as any items you might need for more severe horse injuries, in the event you can’t get to a horse clinic.
Make sure any powered items are in working condition
Any powered equipment should be serviced if necessary during late fall. You should also make sure that equipment is in ready-to-use condition, with engine oil changed, antifreeze replaced and ample lubrication for equipment like tractors, mowers etc. Tires should also be checked and upgraded if need be, so that you don’t face an unwanted problem during those cold winter days. Finally, make sure all your lights are working. This is something many tend to forget, as there is plenty of natural light during the summer and spring, but when the winter hits and you’re plunged into darkness because of failing bulbs, you’ll wish you had handled the problem sooner!
With these tips, start working on winterizing your barn sooner rather than later. This way, you’ll be in good stead when the cold hits. Is there anything particular you do to care for your horses and/or ready your barn in the winter? Let me know in the comments below.
About the author: Akshata Mehta has a passion for traveling and exploring the world. She loves to write, and is interested in entrepreneurship and sustainability.
Image: Carl Wycoff