Welcome to July! We are in the full swing of summer with heat and humidity in many regions of North America. The higher temperature and moisture levels common this time of year can make feed freshness a challenge, requiring extra attention to how feed is stored. Read on for a few tips on storing horse feed for freshness, and see how well your barn is set up to store feed.
Many of us purchase feed by the bag and transfer the contents into a container which is kept in a feed room or designated area of the barn or shed. The container that feed is kept in as well as the location of the container play an important role in how well the feed stays fresh.
If possible, use of a waterproof, seal-able container to store your feed. The container should be able to keep pests such as mice and insects from enjoying an “All You Can Eat Buffet” on your dime. A waterproof container will insure the feed stays dry if there is unexpected water leakage into the area.
The location that the feed bin or container is kept is also important. If you have a designated feed room or area in your facility, check to see that it is not exposed to unnecessary moisture such as a leak in the roof or sweating pipes overhead. Elevating the bin off the floor will help keep feed dry should there be rain-in or minor flooding. Also, check to see if your feed bin is sitting in the hottest part of your barn or shed. For metal sided buildings, this could be the South or West wall which receive the strongest of the sun’s rays and tend to hold heat longer. Relocating the bin to a cooler or dryer area will go a long way in keeping your feed fresh.
Whenever possible, try to practice inventory management of feed in the form of FIFO; an acronym which stands for First In First Out. FIFO is a method to manage the freshness of perishable goods such as produce, baked goods or dairy products. The premise can also be applied to feed, where feed already in the bin is fed prior to the feed that was just purchased. Also, between feed rotations, periodically wash and thoroughly dry the container to help get rid of build-up at the bottom. Using this method can ensure that the feed you are scooping has not aged beyond its ideal shelf life.
Taking some time to check these few steps will go a long way in keeping your horse feed fresh. Stay tuned for a future post regarding factors that impact the shelf life of your feed! Until then, happy riding!