It’s that time of the year where you have likely begun your annual fall and winter maintenance routine on your Kentucky horse farm.
Here are some valuable tips to help ensure your winter is successful.
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- Stock up on hay, feed & bedding
- Test emergency supplies on hand
- Prepare your tools & equipment
- Ensure fencing is secure
- Check outdoor & barn lighting
- Clean & store your tack
- Wash blankets
- Plan a rodent control stategy
You will need about 600 pounds of hay per month for each 1000-pound horse. During winter months, your horses may not have access to fresh food from the pasture, so it’s important to have enough hay and any supplements on hand to last until they are able to graze outside again.
This is also a good time to be sure you have enough more absorbent bedding. Since horses will be spending more time in their stalls and there is the potential for water run-off from rain or snow, it is important to to use more absorbent bedding to keep them healthy and comfortable.
Winter storms and power outages can happen.
Be prepared by ensuring flashlights are working and extra batteries are easily accessible. Check and service your generators and have extra fuel on hand. If you’ve upgraded cell phones, check that you have a car charger that works for your new phone.
Other helpful items to have on hand are a battery powered radio and battery -powered headlamps.
Be sure that you have all of the tools and equipment you need to conduct necessary repairs and equipment servicing. Consider keeping a supply of spare parts on hand such as belts for equipment, as well as stall and gate hardware are handy to have. Now is the time to switch over to winter tires on vehicles and trailers if you have not already.
During the spring and summer months you may not have utilized your automated waterers, remember to test these and be certain they are in good working order. During the winter months horses will need to drink more water to avoid dehydration since they will be consuming more hay and dried foods.
Walk your fence line and check for signs of wear and tear that will need to be addressed before winter. Look for loose posts and double check gates to be certain that they will withstand the winter conditions.
With fewer daylight hours you will need to rely on your outdoor lighting more.
Check that your outdoor and barn lighting is bright enough to do your chores on darker days. Clear dust, spiderwebs and other fire hazards from electrical outlets and test them to be sure that they are working.
It’s time to deep clean and condition your tack prior to storing it for the winter. This process requires pieces to air dry so you will want to allow adequate time to dry.
This is also a great time to photograph tack before winter. These pictures are useful if an insurance claim needs to be made. If your barn does not have a heated tack room, consider storing your tack in your home to prevent damage.
If your horses wear blankets, make sure they fit and are in good condition. If your blankets show signs of mold or mice, replace as needed. Wash blankets to keep them fresh and ready for your horses.
Since you will no doubt be storing more hay and feed it is even more important to have an effective rodent control strategy.
Barn cats may help keep rodents away and mousetraps are another good option. Avoid using poisons and chemical deterrents to keep your animals safe. Another way to deter rodents is to store feed in tightly sealed containers off of the floor, either on a shelf or a pallet.
If this is your first winter owning your horse farm, or one of many, a good fall and winter maintenance plan is the best way to keep things running smoothly all through the year.
Contact Turf Town Properties if you are ready to purchase a Kentucky horse farm. Or if you prefer, call us at 859-608-8039.Posted by Hill Parker on