Winter is fast approaching, so here are some tips to help you prepare your barn for the cold weather. It’s important to take the time to plan ahead so that your animals are safe and warm through the winter.
First, check all pipes, spouts, and faucets. Make sure that pipes are buried deep enough into the ground to prevent freezing. For spouts and faucets have them securely wrapped and/or insulated. When it does start to freeze, remember to drain your hoses over night so that they do not freeze.
Second, consider fire preventative measures. Check electrical wires for lights, heat lamps, and water heaters. Also be careful not to overload outlets and extension cords. Even keeping your barn tidy and clean can help.
Third, examine the condition of your barn. Look for any leaks, holes, or lose boards. Make sure that all the doors can seal tightly and that windows can be opened to aid in proper ventilation. Also, trim back trees and branches that may hang over the barn.
Fourth, have a water plan. Cold weather decreases your animals water consumption. To prevent dehydration in your animals, have a plan to get fresh, warm water to them. You should check troughs at least two times a day to break ice. Or you can use deicers to warm the water to keep it from freezing. Also make sure that your animals have access to salt mineral, this will help encourage them to drink.
Finally, plan ahead and have supplies on hand in case of hazardous weather. Stock up on hay and grain to have enough for all your animals for several days. Also stock up on straw or shavings so that you can keep the stalls dry and clean.