Step-by-Step Guide to Horse Feed Room Organization
Updated July 13, 2023
It’s a big job to manage a boarding facility and keep up with all the changes horse owners constantly throw your way. Between keeping up with the property and managing exercise schedules, lessons, and shows, it’s easy for feed changes, new medications, and supplements to slip your mind. So you may ask yourself: How can I simplify and organize the feed room?
Step 1: Communication Is Key
Most boarding facilities communicate through emails, text messages, and notes. With various messages coming through different methods, it’s easy for things to get missed.
Dry-erase boards are a barn manager's best friend. Hang one on the feed room door and request boarders write any feed, supplement, or medication changes on there with the day’s date. This way, whoever is managing or making feed buckets will definitely see it.. You can also hang another whiteboard inside the feed room so it’s in your face while making the grain.
Step 2: Label Everything
Even if you don’t think it needs a label, label it. Keep fresh markers or a label-maker in the feed room reserved just for labeling. All feed containers should be marked with the exact name of the grain. It helps to keep an updated list of exactly which horses are on what grain, too.
Every grain container should have its own scoop, which means no one plays hide-and-go-scoop at 6 am. All supplements in buckets should be labeled with the horse’s name, dosage, and dose frequency. All SmartPaks can be kept neatly in their storage drawers for easy picking, and post the feed chart directly above the grain in clear print and plain sight.
Step 3: Use a Color Code
To ensure quick feeding, always set up at least the next shift's grain, if not the next full day’s meals in advance. Depending on how busy your barn schedule is, it might be a time-saver to have enough buckets to make breakfast, lunch, and dinner ahead of time. Especially on your day off, if your barn helpers might not be confident enough in making the grain, you can rest assured knowing it's all ready.
Use Fortiflex Pails for each meal and assign a color or variation for each horse. You can label each bucket on its outside with the horse's name and also label the inside of the bucket near the top rim. This is to ensure when looking at the buckets from above, you can double-check to ensure you are feeding the right grain to that horse.
The little stuff like supplements and prescriptions turns out to be crucially important when feeding as they can cause issues if given incorrectly. Brightly colored electrical tape can work wonders for supplement labels on buckets. Putting bright pink tape around the inner brim of the bucket can indicate that this horse gets a prescription in his food, and a neon green ring can signal that this horse is on supplements. The best part is that electrical tape can be easily removed if either changes!
Step 4: Count
If your boarders supply their horse’s supplements, medications, or grain, give them a heads up when items are running low. Boarders tend to feel more confident and taken care of when told at least a week or two in advance that their bucket of supplements, SmartPaks, or prescription bottles are low. While making up grain for the next shift, stop and write the low item on the board in the feed room. When done, leave a note on the stall or shoot a text to let the owner know.
Step 5: Give Everything a Place
It’s nice to walk into the feed room and see everything in place - supplements in their bins and containers shut tight with scoops inside. If something is out of place, the difference is noticed immediately and action can be taken. With better organization, boarders are happy, horses are healthy, workers aren’t ripping their hair out, and you have peace of mind.