Fall is officially upon us. If you have horses or cattle, your hooved buddies are likely growing thicker fur, and perhaps acting a bit lively as they start enjoying the cooler air. Here, a Mt. Airy, MD veterinarian lists a few things you’ll want to get done before that first storm.
Order Feed and Bedding
This is one area where it’s best to err on the side of caution, and stock up. You don’t necessarily have to order everything you’ll need until spring. However, it’s a good idea to have at least several weeks’ worth of these basics on hand at all times. Make sure everything is stored in a dry place.
Everything is more difficult when it’s cold and snowy. This is the time to add gravel, clean sheds and tack rooms, and move stall mats. Fix any broken shingles or anything that requires getting onto a ladder for.
Ice Bucket Challenge
One of the least-fun parts about having a barn in winter is dealing with frozen water buckets. There are some hacks for this. You can get heated or insulated buckets, for a modern solution. Or, just use spaghetti spoons to fish out ice. Make sure you have a plan of action ready!
Before the snow hits, walk your entire fence line and patch any spots that need it. Make sure your gates are working, and that bolts and latches will stand up to the cold.
Late fall is a perfect time to reseed your pastures. If you want better quality grass, this is also a good chance to start working on that. Consider getting a soil sample done, if you haven’t already.
Prepare For Melt
Are there areas in your barn that tend to collect standing water? Put gravel down to help them from turning into ice rinks. You may also want to look into improving drainage.
As it cools, mice and other critters will be even more determined to get inside. Use humane, non-toxic methods to evict any intruders. This is a great job for a barn cat!
Many larger animals need to eat larger portions when it’s cold out. Some may also require specific supplements. Ask your vet for specific advice.
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