Winterizing Your Barn Part II
Winterizing Your Barn Part II
With below zero temperatures, it is vital to you and your horse, that your barn is set up well to keep them well fed and watered. Horses caloric needs skyrocket in cold temps and the best way to keep them happy and healthy in this type of weather is to let them load up on as much hay they will eat and fresh water they will drink.
In my 25+ years of caring for horses on my own property, I first sympathize – yeah, caring for animals in frigid cold weather kind of sucks…but there are ways to make it easier on yourself and your horse.
One of the biggest struggles, obviously, is clean, fresh, unfrozen water. I covered some of this in Winterizing Your Barn, Part I (see link above) but now want to talk about your hose. Weird, I know…but if you are in the midst of this, you understand completely!!
Hopefully, you already have your water source (well pump) protected from freezing with a heat tape and insulation and your large stock tank water tank is in easy reach. I like to put my stock tank just slightly (as in a couple feet or so) away from the barn structure, in the off chance it malfunctions and sparks or melts or whatever that can catch the barn on fire. Years ago, I had a stock tank heater melt the side of a big stock tank and catch our board fencing on fire. Thank goodness we came home in time to see it so it was just a minor inconvenience. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on grounding etc. for your stock tank heater. I personally do not use water bucket heaters in the barn. Now if I had the money I would consider heated automatic waters but I don’t have those so no experience to share.
Now on to the hose.
Buy the best, thickest type of water hose you can. It is better to buy one from a feed dealer or farm supply store vs. a garden store. The garden stores don’t carry the super heavy duty ones.
Buy a length that reaches your outside tank. (I know- seems redundant.)
After the hose is used…it MUST be completely drained so it does not freeze. Over the years I have concocted elaborate ‘hose hanging’ systems so I can drape the disconnected (this is important- it won’t drain all the way if still connected to the pump) hose in a way that gets all the water out. The huge motivator here is; if your hose freezes you have to haul water! Yuck!! No one wants to do that!!
I used bungee cords to hang my hose so it can drain completely.
You can’t have any ‘sags’ in the hose or water will collect and freeze in those places. It is worth the extra effort to get a system down, even if it does look weird.
My barn is on a slight hill so I always take the extra length and position it so it can be stretched out so it drains completely.
I have 2 hoses lengths- one shorter one for the stalls and one longer one for the big stock tank.
So how do you handle the water in your barn? Share in comments your tips!
If you missed Part I you can read it here: Winterizing Your Barn Part I
Stay warm and hydrated!
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