We all know the importance of keeping the feed room clean but is it time for you to put a little sparkle back into an area that may have become a little messy and unkempt throughout winter?
Let’s take a look at why the area needs to be sorted to give you some cleaning ‘get up and go’!
Mould. Mould can grow easily when moisture is present and during winter a damp, moist environment is easily created. Moulds can make your horse ill and cause colic for example so making sure the whole feed room, including bins, buckets, bowls, scoops, utensils are clean is very important. Horse owners are also becoming more aware of mycotoxins. These are a group of naturally occuring chemicals which are poisonous and produced by certain moulds, normally in a warm, humid environment.
Rodents. This is self explanatory really. You don’t want to encourage an infestation through feed lying about or poor storage. Rodents can spread disease from their urine so making the area less appealing to the little blighters is necessary.
Cross Contamination. If you are feeding medications or supplements to horses and bowls/utensils used for mixing are not cleaned efficiently the risk of cross contamination is increased. If you are competing under rules this could spell disaster, or even if you are not medication for one horse should not be reaching another!!
For the ‘Thelwell Houdinis’. Ok, so that is probably a little stereotypical, because really it could be any horse that breaks in but it made you giggle and I bet you know at least one! The feed store ultimately should be set up in such a way that if a horse breaks in he can’t access the feed and gorge himself silly, or dare I say it in the literal sense; to death.
Nutritional Values. If you are storing feed for any length of time the nutritional value will start to decline. If it is stored in certain conditions that decline could be faster than normal. You want to be using feed that is as fresh and brilliant as it was intended. You have done a lot of research into feeding the correct feed for your horse. Don’t ruin it now and waste your money!
So where to start? Time for a little cleaning and organising ‘inspo’…
First step get behind the back of your bins, yes it is time to get them all out, Sweep behind them, clean inside them and also ensure they are thoroughly dried out. Try to use storage bins and containers that are completely rodent proof. When leaving the feed room always leave lids down and tightly shut. This is important for any supplements or medications you may be using too.
If you have noticed rodents consider in addition to cleanliness how you need to approach that. Yard cats may help but traps may need placing too. If you are going to do this, make sure you do it in a safe manner and you regularly check the traps. Most yards will have their own preference as to how they want to approach this, but keeping everywhere clean and tidy is in itself a big deterrent.
Try not to order more feed than you can use in a month and have good stock rotation. For example if you are storing some feed bags and you buy some more, don’t just place them on top of the old lot. Make sure it is completely dry and out of direct sunlight and stored on pallets away from direct contact with the wall. Always check feed expiry dates upon delivery of feed and when tipping into your feed bin.
Clean all the shelves and make sure supplements are placed neatly and appropriately labelled with your horses name if appropriate. Make sure medications and utensils required for them are placed in a suitable area too. Throw out all of your empty supplement containers that are no longer used. Start streamlining the whole room. Less clutter = an easier to clean area.
Check the feed board. Is it still accurate? Neatly ensure every horse is on the list and be very clear about supplements and medications. For example if you list x1 dose on the board, could this be interpreted as x1 dose in each feed for example or x1 dose in the space of a day? On busy yards it is very easy for confusion to set in so really think about this board and give it the necessary attention it deserves. This is also a great time to go through your horses rations and check they are still perfect for him with a professional.
I hope this has helped given you the motivation and inspiration to get stuck in!! It really is a very important job and will make it easier to keep clean and organised ongoing. Grab a few of you and the work will be done in no time but will lead to happy and healthy horses. For all feeding enquiries and consultations to check your horse's ration is correct please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org or +44 (0) 7901337826.