All about...Good barn hygiene!

Posted by Johan Moors on

Especially in this winter period, your horses spend a lot more time in their stable or box. All the more important is good barn hygiene!

How often and how should you clean the barn and what are the risks associated with poor barn management? You read it here.

“Mucking out once a week, while putting all the clean straw to the side, is an excellent method and frequency in itself. Removing the fertilizer balls and, if necessary, wet spots on a daily basis is of course even better, but not always feasible. It is important to let the stable floor dry before you scatter everything again. Bacteria and viruses usually do not tolerate drought well. They thrive best under moisture, dirt and grime. There are hundreds of bacterial species that just live in the ground or roam somewhere and only get a chance if a breeding ground is created. That can be a dirty stable, but also a wound. For example, the tetanus bacteria exists in the ground, but can only strike if there is a deep wound. Mug and rock ray are common bacteria that take the upper hand in moisture, dirt or grime. A dirty stable and sensitivity of the horse determine whether the it will develop a skin infection on the lower legs (mug).
It is also good to thoroughly clean the stable, at least once a year. With water and a brush. A job for soon, when spring is back!
If you want to disinfect the stable, for example because a new horse is coming in, it must always be cleaned thoroughly first. Old-fashioned with water, soap and a brush. First soak and then brush. Yes, that is labour-intensive, but if you don't do this, disinfecting with any disinfectant is pointless. It is also advised to be careful with the high-pressure sprayer. You can use this perfectly when a stable is completely empty, so no other horses in the stable, because a high-pressure sprayer spreads a lot of germs in the small moisture droplets.”

What are the consequences of poor hygiene in the stable?
“Dirt in itself does not make a horse sick. A dirty drinking trough, moldy hay or a dirty stable do not pose a direct threat to health, in the sense that it can cause infections. It mainly presents a practical problem. A horse does not drink dirty water and usually does not eat moldy hay. Of course, moldy hay can cause colic and it is also bad for the respiratory system. A dirty drinking bowl can indirectly help spread a virus. And a dirty stable floor can lead to hoof problems. In more extreme cases, it causes a worm infection, because if the manure is left for a long time, the cycle of the worm eggs can come around and cause a new infection.” The development from egg to worm takes three to six weeks. If you regularly muck out a house, the worms will never complete their cycle/development. That is why it is also important to remove the manure from the meadow. Dragging the manure also helps, because the larvae dry out more easily and the cycle does not come to an end.”

What about a water bowl?
“A water bowl in the meadow with standing water should be completely cleaned at least once a week. Otherwise everything will grow in it. Algae growth is not yet the biggest problem, but all kinds of germs can also nest there. And if a horse with an infection sticks his nose in the drinking water, he can infect other horses. With an automatic drinking trough in the stable, you have to make sure that no food or other dirt gets into it. This will quickly mold. The most ideal is not to have the drinking and feeding trough directly next to each other. In any case, regularly remove dirt and grime from the drinking trough.”

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