Preparing your Barn for Cold Weather
Transitioning and inspecting your barn between seasons is a sure-fire way to stay on top of any maintenance issues that could affect the functionality of your horse’s home. It also brings new opportunities to address changes that you can make, improvements to add and address any hurdles you may have to face in the future. To ensure your barn is ready for the cold that Canadian winter’s bring, Here are 5 ways to ensure your barn stays in excellent condition for the cold-weather season ahead.
First things first, you want to make sure that your barn is as tidy as can be before heading into the winter season. Luckily, because horses spend a lot of time in and out of the barn throughout the summer, stalls are likely kept fairly clean. Lay down some fresh shavings as bedding for your horses. Remove any cobwebs, dust, and dirt so the barn is safe for ventilation and lastly, ensure your hay is dry so that it does not become a fire hazard.
With cold weather setting in, make sure you prepare blankets for your horses. You should have light sheets and heavier blankets available so that you have exactly what you need according to the temperature lows each night. Ensure each horse has its individual blankets identified and properly cleaned before using them for the season.
Canadian winters are long and cold with sometimes hostile weather conditions. It is important before it gets too chilly to properly inspect your barn for any signs of damage or deterioration – just as you would your own home. Make note of any leaky roofs, broken fences, loose hinges,or problems with the overall insulation of the barn. Inspect your windows and doors, ensure all window panes are reinstalled for the cold months and are properly sealed and functioning well. Lastly, pay attention to your water tanks and pipes to ensure they are in tip-top shape to handle freezing temperatures. While many of these tasks you can fix on your own, if you feel unsafe or unsure of how to properly fix something on your list, call a professional to get the job done right.
With winter on its way, pretty soon we will be facing our fair share of snowstorms, freezing rain, and frigid temperatures. On top of this, the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic has kept many cities teetering between the yellow and red zones, uncertain of a potential lockdown in the future. Preparing yourself for these instances will save you time, and make caring for your animals in the winter a much safer practice. If your barn is not insulated, keep water heaters for buckets so that the water does not freeze. If you only have a few horses, try to have the hay you need to make it through the whole winter; Outsourcing hay can become difficult and expensive, especially considering the current circumstances. Ensure you have all necessities for your horses at your avail, keeping at least a 25% surplus at all times so that you don’t run out if stores are shut down, or if you end up being snowed in or experiencing dangerous weather for days at a time.
There is nothing more fun than adding a little decor to your barn and horse stalls over the winter season. Decorate with horse-safe decorations, and string along some lights (out of reach of your horse), hay bales can double as food and decor, add some garland and other rustic tins and pails with ribbons and bows to fill with beautiful arrangements outside of your horse’s stall. In no time, your barn will be ready for the winter months and filled with holiday cheer.
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