Maintaining a barnyard can often feel like a full-time job. It often feels that by the time you have worked your way through your list of tasks, it’s time to start again from the top. A barnyard will always be a dirty and messy place, no matter how often you tidy and clean it. But there are a few ways to make sure your barnyard stays about as clean and tidy as possible.
1. Establish a Cleaning System
When it comes to maintaining a barnyard, efficiency is key. Cutting corners can lead to mistakes with dangerous and costly consequences. So, it’s always best to work smarter, rather than faster or harder.
The first step in establishing a system is to divide the cleaning into lists of daily, weekly, and monthly tasks. This will remind you of what needs prioritizing and also allow you to keep track of what has and has not been done.
Once you have made the lists, you can put them into a calendar or a rota. This will allow you to mark off when you have completed something, as well as remind you when something needs doing. Organization is absolutely key to maintaining a barnyard.
2. Invest in Good Quality Cleaning Equipment
It’s tempting to just keep using the old broom that you have had for years, but it’s best to get yourself – and your animals – some good quality cleaning equipment. You don’t need anything too fancy, but using the best tools to ensure your animals are in the best possible condition is definitely worth it.
You don’t need to spend huge amounts of money on cleaning equipment. This can simply mean getting good quality, strong, and durable cleaning equipment. This can simply mean getting a tough horse wheelbarrow that will last a long time and lift a lot of waste.
3. Use Stall Mats and Floor Coverings
Most barnyards have dirt floors or sometimes concrete and other harder materials. Whatever ground your barnyard has, using mats and floor coverings will make cleaning so much easier. You won’t risk accidentally tramping manure and food into the ground and you can remove them to clean.
Of course, you will need to shovel the manure and straw out of the stalls. But once you have done that, you can take the mats outdoors to hose them down and leave them to dry. You should still clean the floor underneath the mats as dirt and manure can get around and underneath them, but this will still be so much easier than not using mats at all.
4. Keep Storage Organized
As mentioned above, organization is key to running an efficient, clean, and safe barnyard. Simply having a place for everything and everything in its place will make maintaining your barnyard so much easier.
This is especially true in your tack room, feed room, and any other storage space. Keeping storage spaces clean and organized will make items easier to access and save you time searching through all of your gear.
Keeping these storage spaces organized also keeps your gear safe and in good condition. If your bridles and saddles are hung properly, they will be kept out of the way and safe from potential damage. This will save you both time and money.
5. Vacuum Instead of Brushing
Investing in a good vacuum cleaner is a great way to easily clean your barnyard. But it’s also useful in other ways. A vacuum cleaner will be more efficient but will also clean better.
When using a broom, you will pick up bigger pieces of debris and clean most of it up, but you will also be moving a lot of it around. Brooms are fine but they are not actually that great if you want to clean your barnyard properly.
Neither a broom nor a vacuum cleaner will be particularly useful if you have a barn and barnyard with dirt floors. These will require rakes and other tools. But for other debris, especially dried leaves and other irritating things, a vacuum cleaner is very useful.
6. Pest Proof Your Barnyard
This is super important but most people don’t think about it until they have a pest problem. Ensuring that there are no gaps in the barn to allow in rats, snakes, and other larger creatures is essential for keeping your animals safe as well as keeping your barnyard hygienic.
Pests are a nuisance, especially rats that will bite through anything, including feed bags and even tack. But they can also carry illness or hurt your animals if they are venomous.
7. Regularly Check for Safety Hazards
Safety on a barnyard should be one of your highest priorities. This includes ensuring that your barn is properly maintained, especially if it is wood and so prone to breaking and rotting. It’s also essential as you need to consider other factors such as handrails, ramps, and other basic safety measures. This is especially important if you have other people regularly visit your yard, such as for riding lessons.
8. Keep On Top of Repairs
This might seem obvious, but it’s easy to ignore problems until they become really serious. Fixing something as soon as it becomes a problem will save you so much time and money in the long run.
If you see a repair that would only take a few minutes to repair, do it straight away rather than thinking you will “just do it later”, because you will inevitably forget about it and the problem could just get worse.
9. Winterize Your Barnyard
Winterizing your barn and barnyard is really important for protecting both your property and your animals. This can involve ensuring that pipes do not freeze over, ensuring that ice buckets do not freeze over, and adding insulation.
Making sure that your barn and barnyard are ready for winter is important for making sure that you don’t need to spend money on repairs that could have been avoided. But more importantly, it’s important for keeping your animals safe and healthy.
Depending on where you live, your winters could be really harsh. This means that you should start winterizing your barn and barnyard as soon as possible, before the cold weather starts to set in. This will stop you having to do a lot of winterizing work in the cold weather, which will be a lot more difficult and trying.
10. Establish a Feeding System
A lot of the tips on this page have been about the barn and barnyard specifically, but it’s also important to consider your animals when it comes to running a well-maintained and efficient barnyard.
A feeding system doesn’t have to be particularly complicated, it just needs to be efficient. A feeding system can simply mean preparing meals ahead of time and having specific feeding times.
The feeding system will depend on the animals you have and their needs. Not all animals, even of the same breed, have the same feeding patterns and nutritional needs.
A feeding system can also mean installing automatic feeders. These can be pretty pricey so they are best suited for you if you are not able to get to your barnyard all the time. If you have another job or just need some help remembering feeding times, these can be super useful.
Most automatic feeders allow you to fill them up with around a week’s worth of food that will be regularly dispensed on a timer. To avoid overeating, it’s important to check that the feeder is working every day. So they are useful but you unfortunately cannot let them do everything.