Is Your Farm Ready For Winter? Get Started Now!

Bright red barn covered with snow surrounded with wooden fence on snowy winter day

I grew up in Idaho, then resided in Washington, and now I reside in Utah. I’ve experienced my reasonable share of cold, dark weather. Although I have to state that Utah is much warmer than I expected (do not everyone move here simultaneously). Here are some things to consider before winter really sets in and you can not alter them!

Test Hot Water Heater – Before it is well below freezing, and there isn’t room for mistake, test your hot water heater and ensure they work and the thermostat is correctly changed. The automobile waterers that we utilized to have would certainly run hot when initially plugged in. Follow the user manual standards for testing, repairing and preparing hot water heater for the winter season.

Check Your Barn and Fence Lines – Look for leaks and cracks in your shelter that might allow cold air and moisture inside where it isn’t wanted. Make sure fence posts are durable and protected in the ground before it’s below freezing. Fix any posts or wires or boards that are broken or split. The winter can cause a partially damaged fence to be a totally broken fence in no time.

Make Certain You Have a Backup Plan for Power Outages – Primarily for your horse’s water. Being without lights isn’t a big deal (keep a flashlight quickly available), however if your well is on electrical energy, have a supply of water or a generator to run your well pump so you aren’t scrambling to find water for your horse( s)!

Stock Up on Materials – Depending on your weather, winter can trigger regular deliveries to be delayed. Ensure you have enough hay, grain and bedding that you can weather a storm for a bit of extra time.

If you blanket your horse, make certain their blankets are ready for winter season– Check for rips and tears and also think about re-waterproofing your blankets too (the most current item I used was NikWax Waterproofing Spray). Have the blankets ready to opt for the first storm of the season. You do not wish to be rushing to discover a blanket that you require when it is below zero and your horse is shivering.

Don’t Forget About Your Liquids and Medications – Move fly spray, injury spray, medications, Showsheen, etc into a place that it won’t freeze. Some items will separate and therefore trigger you to acquire new bottles in the spring. Strategy ahead and take things out of the cold that will not survive!

I see a lot of posts on social media and talk with a great deal of individuals about how to keep water tanks liquid in the winter. I am fortunate enough that we have power right by where Dede lives, so I can simply plug the hot water heater into the outlet directly. However a great deal of individuals have actually limited or no access to power, and that develops some issues! We have discovered that simply having the tank out of the wind and direct weather can assist keep the temperature up in addition to reduce the evaporation rate. If you read my previous post, you will find out that we removed our automatic waterers– finest choice ever– now we need to keep a closer eye on Dede’s water tank. Here are some tips for keeping water easily offered for your horse in the winter:

Make sure that your tank heating unit is safe to be plugged into an extension cord, I know the one we bought specifically says, “do not plug into extension cord”. Better safe than sorry.

Keep a clean stick by your water, then you can punch a hole through the ice without getting your gloves soaking wet!
Put the tank near a wind block or inside your horse’s shelter. Taking it away from the elements will make it harder for the water to freeze.

I’ve heard that putting seawater containers into the tank can decrease the freezing temperature (i.e. it takes a lower temperature up until the water will freeze) but I’ve also heard this does not work. Let me know what you find out.
If you do not have access to electrical power, they do make lp stock tank heating systems. There are also waterers called “the drinking post” that are deep adequate (and your horse pushes to access water) that they won’t freeze. I do not know much about them, however I’m interested!

If you have the space/use for it, there are constant flow tanks, which use the concept that given that the water is constantly moving, it takes longer to freeze (think of creeks and rivers).