The area where feed is stored can be very important to the long term health of your horse. Failure to store feed properly can be hazardous to your horse.
Feed storage areas should have the following characteristics:
- Dry and well ventilated – Feed must be protected from moisture. Feed bags should not be stacked directly on the floor as moisture may be absorbed in the bottom bags and the feed may mold in the bag. Any feed storage containers (bins, garbage cans etc.) should be water and pest resistant. Also, you should completely empty and clean out the feed storage container on a regular basis. If you store feed in bags, make old feed is not allowed to accumulate by stacking new feed on top of the old bags.
- Well lighted – It is important that you be able to see clearly the condition of any feed or supplement products stored in your feed room. Feed and feed supplements are produced under controlled conditions. Once the feed has left a feed mill, it may be exposed to other conditions in storage, so it is wise to be able to see clearly what the feed looks like every time you feed your horse.
- Clean – It is important to keep the feed room/storage area free of spilled feed, dust and potential sources of contamination.
- Pest free – Feed tends to attract rodents, birds and insects. Spilled feed should be cleaned up. If pest control is required, care should be taken to make certain that any pesticides or rodenticides cannot contaminate the feed and that animals cannot access the pest control material. The hay storage area should also reduce the risk of exposure to pests. Opossums are identified as potential carriers of Equine Protozal Myeloencephalitis (EPM). Other species may also be carriers.
- Secure – Horses and other animals should be prevented from accidental access to the feed storage area. If the Houdini in your barn opens the stall and gets into the feed room, lots of bad things can happen! Also, if you have multiple species, you need to keep horse feed clearly separated for any other species feed, particularly medicated ruminant, poultry and swine feeds.