Winterizing Your Barn

It is essential to protect your barn from winter storms, and doing so will help keep your equipment safe and your livestock healthy through the long winter months. Some simple steps and a bit of forethought will make it easy to prepare, whether your barn is a small hobby structure or a large, commercial operation.

  • Clean Thoroughly: Remove excess dust, cobwebs, and other debris that could become fire hazards when extra heaters are used in winter. Declutter aisles and eliminate unnecessary equipment to keep the barn a pleasant and safe place in winter.
  • Make Essential Repairs: Check windows, doors, screens, gates, fences, and lights to be sure they are in good condition and proper working order. Making repairs in freezing temperatures is much less enjoyable, so do these tasks before winter arrives.
  • Secure Heated Areas: If your tack room or other spaces in your barn are heated, check their weatherproofing to keep heat contained and improve energy efficiency, and check that heaters are working properly and safely.
  • Check Pumps and Tanks: Ensure an adequate winter water supply by checking that pumps and tanks are fully operational and in good condition. Be sure there is sufficient water capacity for all livestock, including a backup supply in case of problems.
  • Stockpile Emergency Supplies: Assess your livestock's nutritional needs and stockpile essential food, taking into account that greater calories are needed to maintain body heat in winter. At the same time, stockpile bedding to help animals keep warm.
  • Ensure Proper Ventilation: While it is wise to block large drafts to keep animals comfortable, a barn needs good ventilation for healthy stock. Small windows should be able to open an inch or two, and cross-ventilation will be most effective for clearing out musty air.
  • Winterize Equipment: Take proper steps to winterize any equipment or tools stored in your barn, including checking fluid and lubrication levels, covering blades and keeping tools out of reach of livestock.
  • Plan for Barn Pets: If cats and dogs live in the barn, be sure they have a warm, suitable place to sleep on cold nights. Keep extra bedding on hand to replace soiled or wet material, and be sure the animals have easy access to food and water.

With a few simple autumn chores, you can easily winterize your barn to be safe, secure, and comfortable no matter how severe the coming winter may be.