Right now, your hayloft or shed is probably as empty as it will be all year---the perfect time to give it a thorough cleaning and inspection. It won’t take long, so grab a broom and get started:
• Remove all remaining hay bales and any pallets and sweep the floor thoroughly. (If you are cleaning a loft, take the horses out of the barn below before you begin work.) Also sweep away cobwebs from the ceiling.
• Look for signs of rodent or bird infestation as you work. Droppings from such visitors can spread disease, so wear a mask and coveralls if you come across enough to notice. Remove nests and close up entry holes where you can.
• Evaluate the condition of the ceiling. Look up. Can you see sunlight streaming through tiny holes? These will also let in water that leads to moldy hay and need to be fixed as soon as possible.
• Scrutinize the floor. Wood floors should show no signs of warping or rotting. If you find otherwise, make repair plans yourself or call a contractor. Dirt floors may always hold a bit of moisture, so it’s important to use pallets to allow air to circulate underneath the bales.
• Restock your shed with your remaining winter bales and pallets, if you use them. Inspect each bale for mold as you replace it and throw away any that are suspect. Place older bales near the front of the shed or loft to ensure they will be used first after a new load is delivered.
This article first appeared in EQUUS issue #440.