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Coastal 101 | Animals

Storing Feed in Cold and Damp Weather

November 5, 2023

Caring for horses and other farm animals means buying, stacking, and storing bags of feed. It’s just part of running a farm or ranch. But some of the dangers in storing enough feed to last a week or more are mold, mildew, and bacteria growth as well as rodent and insect infestations. We’ve put together some helpful tips to keep your feed dry and out of reach from unwanted pests this winter.

Storing Hay

It’s important you start with hay that’s been properly cured and baled. After you get your bales home, stack them in a dry location. To avoid mold growth and ensure air can circulate around the bales, leave some space between stacks, and do not stack more than five bales high. Also, stacking the bottom row on pallets, gravel or something other than the cold, and possibly wet ground will help avoid spoilage of the bottom bales.

As the winter weather progresses, be sure your hay is stored indoors or under waterproof tarps. Canvas tarps from Coastal are a great option.

Storing Grains and other Feeds

Buying bags of grain and feed is the easiest way to rotate food for your animals. Stacking bags up off the ground (even when inside a barn or tack room) will help minimize moisture and pests from getting into the food.

Coastal tip: To keep feed fresher longer, follow the first-in-first-out rule.

Once you open a bag, mold, mildew, bacteria, mice, and insects will find their way into the feed. A proven rancher trick is to use a waterproof, plastic container to store the feed you’ve opened. Garbage cans with secure lids are a great option. Also, be sure to keep that waterproof container in a dry location, away from leaking pipes or leaks in the roof. As you fill and empty the container, clean it out every so often to reduce small bits of feed at the bottom. Don’t forget to securely attach the lid after each feeding to keep unwanted visitors from getting into the food.

Minimizing Pests

Using waterproof containers is a good way to keep out mice, rats, insects, and other mammals. But it’s not 100%. If some critter wants into your feed, they’ll find a way. If they get in, it can ruin the feed or, worse yet, make your animals sick.

Mouse and rat traps can help minimize the risk. Be sure to place traps away from areas where livestock and animals have access. This includes pets and kids. Use extra precaution when using poisons and other lethal deterrents. Stop by your local Coastal where you’ll find a good supply of traps, toxins, and deterrents to keep rodents and other pests from your stacks of feed. Leanr more about controlling unwanted winter pests.

Coastal tip: Farmers all over the Northwest say that scattering dryer sheets around any feed storage area can help keep out mice and other rodents. 

Coastal Carries Feed, Bins, and Traps

You’ll find all the feed you need to keep your horses, and other livestock happy and healthy this winter at your West Coast-owned and operated Coastal. We have waterproof feed bins too, from big ones for your outdoor animals, to smaller sizes for your dog or cat.