Getting Your Barn Ready for Winter
As the leaves begin to fall and the oppressive heat of summer ceases, one thing becomes clear to farmers everywhere: it’s time for fall! While those working with crops can expect long hours preparing for harvest, many livestock activities tend to die down around this time of year. For example, the equine show season is usually finishing up around early September, and many species of farm animals—chickens and cattle, for example—tend to birth primarily in the spring or summer months, though farmers can, of course, artificially influence this.
However, the general lull in activity means that many livestock farmers are left with a quieter period on the farm—the animals are less demanding, the weather is temperate, and it seems as though you can take a breather after the more stressful summer months. While we at KBS Companies, a livestock equipment company, are all for your taking care of yourself (especially given the current global state of affairs), we’re also here to remind you that fall is the perfect time to stock up and prepare for what’s arguably Minnesota’s most brutal season: winter.
Any seasoned farmer will have plenty of cold-weather horror stories to tell: water pipes freezing over, improperly-used tank heaters starting fires, animals catching horrible cases of frostbite. Indeed, the colder months can be overwhelming for livestock farmers of any caliber! It’s best to prepare now for winter, so you’re not stuck nursing an injured animal or making farm repairs when the wind chills are in the negatives, and you’re at risk of illness yourself. After all, your wellbeing matters too; if your body gets worn-down, your animals and profits will suffer.
Even if you’re fully on-board with winter prep, it can feel like an overwhelming task, especially for the novice farmer. KBS Companies is here to help. With our knowledgeable staff and a vast selection of livestock supplies and general farm supplies, we strive to be your one-stop-shop for everything agriculture—and yes, this includes winter preparation supplies and the knowledge you need to use them. We’ll share a bit of our hard-earned farming knowhow below; read on to discover how to prep nearly any farming facility for the cold and prevent winter woes.
The Ins and Outs of Winterization
First and foremost: know your animals. What you’ll need to do to prepare before winter depends on what kinds of livestock you raise. For example, horses might need to be blanketed if they’re clipped for heavy work, while farmers rarely blanket full-size cattle. Certain breeds of chickens might require product on their combs to prevent frostbite, while your equine partners will rarely suffer such a malady. Look into the type of animal you’re raising and buy all the “little” things, such as wearable equipment, early, to avoid price spikes and the wintertime rush. Not sure where to start? Contact KBS Companies today, and we can point you in the right direction!
Of course, all animals have certain universal needs, and you’ll need to make sure you have a way to address those needs come winter. Before the ground freezes, winterize the following integral farming systems:
● Your waterers | Often, the biggest pain in the neck for livestock farmers come winter is their watering systems. Either your pipes are freezing, tanks are icing over, or your show horse has come down with a case of colic because he won’t drink ice-cold water. Make it a point to prepare ahead of time, so your animals have access to water at all times this winter; they can’t live without it! Consider a Richie automatic waterer with proper insulation to circumnavigate the “frozen tanks” issue, and make sure the pipes to other spigots are dug deep enough and, if applicable, wrapped in heat tape. Nobody wants to have to haul water across the barn in below-zero temperatures.
● Your floors and lean-tos | Dried-on excrement only freezes and gets harder to remove when winter arrives. Though you probably won’t notice a smell until the thaw, proper sanitation is essential for remaining your livestock’s health. Give your floor and lean-tos a thorough cleaning to ensure the prolonged usability of your barn and enclosures, as well as to promote a slip-free walking surface. We’ve got just the livestock equipment for these sorts of jobs.
● Your walls and fences | Have a pesky mare whose bad-natured, poorly aimed kicks are weakening your walls and fencing? Now’s the time to make the repair. For one, drafts drastically cut down on your barn’s ability to maintain heat. Plus, doing fencing once the ground freezes is next to impossible if you’re not a professional, so it’s best to make sure that everything’s dug deep now. Trust us: you’ll thank yourself later.
Contact KBS Companies for Top-Notch Agricultural Systems
No matter if you’re a small-scale hobby farm or a massive agricultural operation, our attentive team and huge selection is bound to come in handy. For all of your farming needs, give our Plainview location a call at 507-534-3855, or our Rochester office at 507-287-3264.