Winter makes barn management particularly difficult, but it’s still important to keep up with your barn care to-do list. Even though your horses might have the winter off, you’ll need to stay on task to make sure you prevent problems before they occur. Have you added these 5 important winter barn maintenance chores to your to-do list?
Freezing temperatures can mean frozen and burst pipes, so stay ahead of the problem. Insulate any exposed pipes, and familiarize yourself with how to turn off your barn’s water source just in case a burst pipe does occur. You may also want to invest in a hot water hose bib so that you don’t have to haul water buckets.
Check For Leaks
Winter is the perfect time to check your barn for leaks. After a rain or a snowstorm, carefully inspect the inside of your barn. Check out the roof, ceilings, and walls, and look for signs that moisture is making its way into your barn. This can help you to identify areas that will need to be repaired in the spring. If you can find these areas early on, you can prevent the problem from getting worse. The repairs will be more minor, and you’ll save money in the long run.
If you’re in an area that receives heavy snowfall, then you may need to rake your roof after larger storms. This is particularly important for both barns and indoor arenas; the structures can collapse under the excessive weight if too much snow builds up.
Raking a large structure like a barn or an arena is a challenge. It’s also highly dangerous, especially if you attempt to get onto the roof to shovel it off. A long roof rake may do the task, but it’s often best to hire the task out to a fully insured professional who has the right equipment and knowledge to get the job done safely.
The never-ending fight against cobwebs in your barn needs to continue in the winter. Cobwebs are flammable, and if they come into contact with a light or other heat source, they could start a barn fire. Since we use barn lights more often in the winter, it’s important to keep up with the cobwebs year-round.
Check Your Fencing
Even if you’re turning your horses out a bit less due to the winter weather, checking your fencing should remain a priority. High winds, heavy rains, snowfall, and even falling branches or trees can damage and weaken your fencing.
No matter what type of fencing you have on your farm, chances are it will need some attention this winter.
- If you have electric fencing, you’ll need to tighten it regularly in order to compensate for the winds and the weight of fallen snow.
- PVC fencing can become brittle, so it’s important to inspect your fencing for damage, loose boards, and broken posts.
- Wood fencing can swell and contract with freezing and thawing temperatures. This can cause nails to work their way out, so you may need to hammer in loose nails and make sure that no boards are rotting.
Check your fencing regularly this winter, and be sure to walk your fence lines after each storm.
Winter’s a challenge in any barn, but the more that you can stay ahead of potential issues, the smoother your experience should be. Good luck!