With whipping winds, snowstorms, and freezing temperatures, winter can be hard on your barn and the livestock inside it. For those of you finding yourself behind, we have 9 tips to get your barn ready for winter.
1. General Maintenance.
Start from the top beginning with the roof. Replace missing shingles and repair leaks because the last thing you want to worry about during the winter is having to climb on an icy roof to make repairs. The same goes for walls, windows and doors. Repair or replace any area that could potentially let in the elements when the winter winds kick up.
2. If your barn has a heater in an office or restroom.
Have a maintenance check for any issues including carbon monoxide leaks if it is gas or propane. Check smoke detectors and CO detectors regularly. Make sure furnace filters or air filters are clean as well.
3. Do an Electrical Check.
Faulty wiring is the leading cause of barn fires, so do your due diligence in checking that the wires, fuse box, and electrical cords are up to snuff year round.
4. Sweep Away Debris.
Which can be a fire risk. Get rid of cobwebs and make sure straw and hay are swept up from the aisles regularly. Make sure the area around light fixtures is clear of dust and cobwebs. Furthermore, make sure to store flammable products away from the barn and consider installing fire alarms if you don’t already have them.
5. Stockpile Sand and Salt.
Sand and salt are good items to have around. Salt or ice melt may be needed to remove ice from the tracks on sliding doors so they can be opened. Also make sure to dig out around the bottom of sliding doors before the ground freezes. When the ground heaves in the winter you may not be able to open the doors in an emergency.
6. Check Water Supply.
Water supply, make sure the faucet is in good order and doesn’t have any leaks to prevent freezing. Add insulation around any of the exposed pipe to help prevent freezing. Make sure your well pump is in good working order and won’t freeze, no pump no water.
7. If you use heated buckets.
Make sure to check the cords for any wear. Check them regularly to make sure they are not overheating. *Tip for using unheated buckets. Have an extra bucket for each horse so when the ice forms on the bucket in the stall you can remove the frozen bucket and hang a fresh bucket. Then take the frozen bucket into a heated area if available to thaw out. Or use a hammer to break away the ice and dump it so it is ready to use again when the other bucket is frozen. Just make sure to dump the ice in an area where no one will slip on it. Horses require more water in winter as they will be eating dried hay. Always make sure there is fresh water available
Stock pile hay before winter hits. Always keep at least one bag ahead on grain and medicines.
Most healthy animals will be okay in the winter as long as they have an area to get out of the wind and precipitation. If possible have a three sided shelter where they can retreat to when needed to get out of the wind or rain.
When animals are being kept inside during in-climate weather, consider opening the side doors (away from wind) during the day to provide fresh air. Healthy horses should be okay with this as long as the air temperature is above 15 – 20 degrees.
How do you winterize your barn? Any tips or tricks you swear by? Share with us on Facebook!