Eight clever ways to make barn chores a breeze

bitofbritain-Week1

 

Eight clever ways to make barn chores a breeze – Sponsored by MD Barnmaster

Barn chores are no easy task. It takes a fit and hard working person to perform all of basic the duties required to keep a barn running smoothly. Running a barn is hard enough, don’t make it more complicated and time-consuming by not using these clever barn chore hacks…

1) Skip sweeping the barn aisle and use a leaf blower instead: Sweeping a large barn can easily take over 20 minutes but if you use a leaf blower to clean out the aisle it will take you three minutes tops. For the price of leaf blowers, I have never understood why every barn does not use this system. It also cleans the aisle much better because it removes small particles that brooms can leave behind.

2) Tow a trailer through the barn to save time by avoiding pushing a wheelbarrow to the manure pile: If your barn aisle is wide enough, bring a trailer through to muck into. You can muck directly into the trailer or use a skip bucket then just simply empty it in the trailer. It is surprising how much time can be wasted pushing a wheelbarrow back and forth to the manure pile, this tactic will save hours each week.

3) If you cannot get a trailer in the barn then make sure your manure pile location/accessibility makes sense: I have worked and ridden at numerous barns that have manure piles in the back forty and their barn staff wastes heaps of time pushing wheelbarrows to this location. I have also seen manure piles or bins that are very tricky to access because they involve steep ramps or hills. I know that no one wants their manure pile or bin close to their barn for obvious reasons but don’t make it a nightmare to get to. Another great idea is to install a manure elevator in the barn that lifts the manure into a bin or trailer outside the barn that can then be moved elsewhere.

4) Consider using the deep-litter or European bedding system or use stall mats and fewer shavings: The deep-litter or European system is a great way to establish a thick layer of bedding without having to spend forever cleaning stalls and use heaps of shavings. All you do is remove all of the manure and obvious wet spots from the stall but you don’t turn over all the bedding and muck down to the floor. Then every few months you strip the stalls down to the floor. When properly done this system keeps stalls dry, odourless and well cushioned. Or you can use purchase stall mats and place them in all the stalls and use just enough shavings to keep stalls dry. This will be very quick to muck and you won’t ever need to strip stalls.

 


 

5) Install automatic waterers or make sure horses have multiple buckets: Don’t underestimate the time you spend filling up water buckets. Automatic waterers are the most hassle-free way to keep your horse with a clean source of water all the time. But if installing automatic waterers isn’t in your budget make sure you hang at least two or more water buckets in each stall. This takes a little longer at each stall but reduces the number of times you have to perform this task.

6) Have one cart or wheelbarrow designated for hay and one for feed buckets: Carrying hay flake by flake or feed buckets one by one to your horses’ stalls is a major waste of time. Wheeling a cart down the barn aisle with bales of hay in it will save heaps of time and it will also keep the barn aisle from getting littered with hay. Likewise, pushing a cart down the aisle with either pre-prepared buckets of feed on it or feed bins with scoops so you can dish out grain as you go is a much speedier system. The wheel was invented for a reason, so use this great, ancient technology.

7) Don’t store your hay and shavings in the next county: Storing your hay and shavings in a loft above the barn is a great way to use gravity to your advantage and simply toss it down a door into the barn. But if you cannot build anything above your barn, consider building a shed nearby your barn so you are not constantly running miles to get hay and shavings. Or look for a place in your barn you can fit a good deal of hay and shavings so you only have to stock up on it in the barn once a week or so.

8) Always have the right tools to do the job and if they break, replace them ASAP: There is nothing more painful than trying to muck stalls with pitchforks that have broken prongs or sweep a barn using a broom that only has three straws left in it. Don’t procrastinate when it comes to purchasing the right kind of equipment to do jobs at the barn. If you do, you will end up spending more on labour costs than it would have cost you to just go buy a new tool.

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