Winter is coming - and no, we don’t mean that in the cool Game of Thrones way. We mean cold temperatures, nasty weather and never enough layers to go around. As we hurtle through autumn into the upcoming winter, there are many things to be thinking of when preparing your farm. Winterizing your horse property is a necessary task, and there are many ways to reduce risk and the corresponding stress and headaches that come with a change in season.
So what are some of the best way to go about preparing a farm for winter? Our winter safety tips are easy, efficient and are sure to save you some stress as you go through your winter horse care checklist.
5 Tips for Winterizing a Barn:
- Check for any necessary repairs.
Do you have pipes that have loose connections or rust? What about that pesky stall door that keeps coming off of its hinge or the light above the wash stall that keeps flickering? Doing a cursory check of anything that needs to be repaired or updated will keep you from having to make an emergency repair in the middle of winter. Especially with water pipes, you’ll want to do a thorough check to ensure that you don’t have to deal with frozen or burst pipes during the cold weather. Keep in mind that property preservation is a key component of preparing for winter. Maintaining the various working parts of your home and farm will help with the longevity of your property. For information on how to drain pipes for the winter, click here.
` 2. Breathe easy.
Ventilation and airflow is still important - if not more important - when it comes to winter horse care. While you may be concerned about the temperature drop, this doesn’t mean that you should batten down the hatches and crank up the heat in the barn. Horses’ respiratory systems are very sensitive, so breathing in circulated, dusty, dirty air can wreak havoc on their lungs and immune systems. Therefore, you’ll want to make sure that your barn still encourages airflow even when the temperature drops. Also, keeping the dust down when bedding down and cleaning stalls will assist with the air quality indoors, as well as keeping the footing in indoor arenas as dust-free as possible.
- Formulate a snow removal plan.
For those of us who live in states that receive heavy precipitation in the winter, having a plan for removing snow is of utmost importance. The weight borne by the roof of a barn or arena under wet snow can cause tragic problems, and having walkways slick with snow and ice can be risky as well. When going through your winter storm preparation, be sure that snow and ice removal and build up prevention are at the top of the list. You can never be too prepared!
- Have an emergency stash.
And no, we don’t mean an emergency stash of chocolate (although that can definitely come in handy as well!). Winter storms can often bring power outages or cause water issues. Having supplies on hand at the barn can help you out in a pinch. Keep several gallons of water handy in case you ever need them. Extra batteries, flashlights, and a good first aid kit are also things to put on your stable winterization emergency shopping list. When coming up with ways on how to prepare for a winter storm, it’s important to have even the worst case scenarios identified and addressed, so as not to be caught unaware and ill prepared.
- Streamline your chores.
Preparing a farm for winter is no light undertaking, but simple measures can be taken to ensure smooth sailing. Consider your path to dump manure from the barn: is it on a pathway that is easily cleared of snow and ice? What about your feed room? Is it sufficiently sheltered from the elements and accessible in the worst of conditions? Keeping your grain, hay and bedding dry is also important, as moisture can damage the supplies.
As we move closer to the winter months, having a good home winterization checklist is vital in your preparations. Whether you have a harsh winter or a more mild one in your area of residence, there is plenty to be aware of. Winterizing your home and farm will help you establish some peace of mind even in the worst weather Mother Nature can throw at you.What other winter safety tips would you add to our checklist?