Friday, November 12, 2010

Checklist For Winterizing Your Farm

It's time to cowgirl up!  Whether you are a rancher with 200+ head of cattle in Texas, or a small horse farm in Ohio, preparing for winter is essential in keeping your barn in top operating condition. Winterizing your barn helps prevent damages from harsh weather, helps keep your livestock healthy and comfortable, and aids in fire prevention during the long winter months. To keep winter preparations simple and easy, develop a check list to help prevent mishaps during the cold weather. Below is Rod’s check list for winterizing the farm.

1. Give Your Farm A Good Once-Over – Check fencing, the roof, stalls and pastures for any necessary repairs.  Neglecting even the smallest of repairs can cause major problems during  the winter months.
2. Heated Water – Now is the time to bring out the heated water bucket or trough to prevent water from freezing and make sure your animals have a water source.
3. Salt Walkways – Slick and icy walkways and entrances can be harmful for both animals and humans. Help prevent falling or slipping by keeping a bag of salt near the walkway and salt often! Even the smallest amount of snow or rain could make for an unsafe walkway.
4. Heat Tape – This could prevent any extra "honey do's" and expense.  Heat tape is a great way to prevent faucets from freezing. It can be found in most hardware stores and is a quick and easy way to winterize this winter.
5. Lanterns – Let there be light!  It is always a good idea to keep a battery operated lantern in the barn in case of a power outage.
6. Stock Up – Stock up on hay, grain, and winter blankets for the barn. You never know when a large snow front will come through and make roads inaccessible.  Remember what grandma' used to say, "Better to be safe, than sorry".
7. Halter/Lead and Blanket – Keep a halter, lead rope, and blanket at every occupied stall for a quick escape in case of a fire.
8. Ventilation – Never completely close up the barn during the winter. Air movement is essential in preventing fires and even respiratory problems for the animals. 
9. Animal First Aid Kit – Keep a first aid kit in the tack room in case of an emergency during harsh weather. It may take an extended amount of time for the vet to get to you, or you to get the animal to a vet.
10. Clean Sweep – Move the “Spring Cleaning” to fall, and clear your farm and barn of debris, trash and all flammables.  Get the whole family involved and knock it out.  My kid's would rather clean the stalls then their rooms anyway.

I hope your family and your animals have a safe and happy winter!

Until next time, someone once said: "Success is a journey, not a destination."

A cowgirl once said: "The journey to success is just one wild ride after the other!"

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