How to Maximize Your Horse Barn Maintenance
In previous blogs, we’ve talked about how to decide what style of horse barn to purchase based on your horses, property, and intended use.
Now, you’ve bought a horse barn and want to expand its lifecycle, keep it looking brand new, and ensure your horses are living a long and healthy life. After reading this blog, you’ll have actionable steps you can take to maximize your horse barn maintenance so your horses are happy and healthy.
How to Clean a Horse Stall
Let’s start with the interior of your barn. No matter what you’re cleaning within your horse barn, make sure you’re not using toxic chemicals that could harm your horses. Chemicals and products that have bleach in them can cause stomach issues for your horse.
Cleaning the stalls is crucial to your horse’s health and overall wellness. Because horses lie down at night and are constantly standing in the stalls, bacterial infections can become an issue if the stalls are dirty.
To make this process easier, you can incorporate proper horse stall drainage. This is going to help with the smell, the necessary cleaning, and the health of your horse. Rubber mats and drains in the floor are a great way to not let dirt and smells build up, especially if you can’t clean the stall daily.
Doing a basic cleanse of the stall and cleaning the floors daily is not only going to decrease the risk of your horse getting sick, but also protect your wooden stalls from rot, mold, and insect damage.
Use a rake to sift through manure and shavings and spread pine shavings to soak up any wet spots in the stalls. You should also pull out the rubber mats and rinse them off with a hose. As you’re cleaning the stalls, sweep through the common areas like hallways and feeding areas.
Once everything is cleaned, make sure you dry all the stalls and hallways so the interior stays moisture-free. This prevents rot and mold, so the interior of your horse barn is expanded. We recommend using horse barn fans to keep everything dry.
After you clean the floors and stalls, check the water troughs, automatic feeders, and hay to make sure everything is filled and stocked.
When cleaning the water troughs, you can use disinfectant spray but make sure you’re waiting at least an hour before letting your horses drink from the trough. This allows the cleaning products to dissipate.
Tips for Storing Your Hay & Feed
Proper horse barn hay storage is important for maintaining and keeping animals and insects out of your barn. Here are some tips to help you keep your hay safe from critters.
1. Put a tarp over the hay to protect it from droppings, sunlight, and dust.
2. Keep your hay in a dry place to avoid moisture build-up.
3. Don’t store your hay on the ground as this will welcome critters and pests into the storage area.
4. Store your hay away from your barn, since hay is highly flammable, it can be the start of a dangerous accident if your hay starts to burn and catch fire around your barn.
5. Rotate your old and new hay. As you get new hay, make sure you’re mixing it with old hay so there’s a reduced risk of your product going bad.
Increase Your Horse Barn Ventilation
By having ventilation in your barn, you’re putting fresh air into the space and preventing your horses from getting respiratory issues. You can choose to ventilate your horse barn with windows naturally, but this may not be a year-round solution.
We recommend installing ceiling fans for your horse barn so you can maintain high ventilation all year long. That way, dust and moisture won’t build up in the stalls and you’re removing potentially harmful particles from the air.
Keeping Pests Out of Your Barn
There are a lot of things in your barn that could be inviting for pests. Without proper horse stall cleaning or hay storage, you may be welcoming rats, insects, and other small animals into the space.
Other than the inconvenience of unwanted critters, certain animals can carry diseases and potentially harm the health of your horses. One way to deter mice or smaller rodents from your barn is to have barn cats in the area.
During the Winter, animals are more likely to find shelter and warmth in your barn, so we recommend taking proactive steps in the Summer and Fall to prepare for the colder months. One of the best natural ways to keep pests out of your barn is to keep it clean and organized.
The first step is ensuring all your food sources are secure and sealed. This includes checking the window and door frames of your storage space for small holes. If you find any cracks or holes, use caulk to seal them up.
To further discourage mice and other small animals in your barn, keep potential nesting materials away from each other. Wraps, padding, and hay are all appealing options for mice to make nests, so if you keep these in separate areas, mice are less likely to create homes within your barn.
If it becomes necessary, there are traps and pesticide products you can use to get rid of mice and small animals from your barn. It’s crucial to find products that won’t harm your horse’s health but can effectively deter mice from staying in the space.
Maintaining the Exterior of Your Horse Barn
Now that we’ve gone through horse barn maintenance tips for the interior of your barn, let’s move to exterior horse barn cleaning tips.
The Siding and Roof of Your Horse Barn
At Penn Dutch Structures, we offer metal and wooden horse barns. We also offer architectural shingles or metal roofing. Depending on the siding and roof style, you may use different cleaning supplies.
Both wooden and metal structures require fairly little maintenance to stay clean. Every so often, depending on the location of your horse barn, you should rinse the siding and roof with a simple water and detergent solution.
Your Horse Pasture
Your horse’s home extends into the pasture and should also be well-maintained. By keeping up with pasture maintenance, you’re keeping your horses happy, deterring unwanted critters from getting close to your barn, and increasing the visual appeal of your landscaping.
Just like when you’re cleaning the interior of your horse barn, be conscious of what products you’re using to care for the pasture. If you have weeds you’re looking to get rid of, remember that your horses may be inclined to eat these weeds. So if you spray them with something toxic, your horse will suffer.
Mowing your pasture helps reduce the growth of weeds and helps your grass continue to grow to produce nutrients for your horses. Your horses love grazing on grass, and the more nutrients provided, the better.