Tips and Tricks for Wintertime on the Horse Farm
February 15, 2021
We'll be visiting with us about wintertime care for horses, also joining us today, It's Christina Curell who will be giving us some quick and simple manure management tips. Please note that this session is going to be recorded and we will share the recording a few weeks after the conference. Before we get started, I do want to take a quick moment and thank our sponsors. We were showing them on the screen as you were signing in to the webinar today. Due to their very generous support, we were able to offer this event at no charge for our participants. We are also able to offer a college scholarship opportunity for kids that will be entering into college in the next year. Please go ahead and check out our Michigan Ag Ideas to Grow website. If you know of a student that may be interested in that opportunity. Starting off today, we do want to share just a quick video with you. Because we know that caring for crops and animals creates a unique stress and pressures that can be hard on our farmers and agribusiness professionals. We want to make sure that everyone is caring for one's health and wellness in this high stress profession. Because a lot of times it's overlooked and it is just as critical as caring for animals and caring for our farm businesses. So I'm going to take a moment, share my screen and play a video for you. And then we'll move on to Christina and her quick talk about manure management. Hi, my name's Eric Karbowski. I'm a behavioral health educator with MSU Extension that focuses on farm stress with your farm stress tip. We know that farming is a stressful occupation and there are a number of uncontrollable risk factors that go into running a successful business. Recognizing some of these different signs of stress, the MSU Extension program is very happy to share that we are the recent recipient of two different grants that we're calling the Legacy of the Land. Could your farm benefit from some additional supports? Some of the key offerings that are provided in this grant or the farm financial analysis and business management strategies. Through this, farmers and participants will have the opportunity to connect with MSU Extension farm management educators to go through and look at your farm, look at your books, look at different things in your operation. And maybe which could include tax preparation, maybe record keeping analysis. And as well, farmers will have the opportunity to access the Telfarm program. So in addition to that, the other key offering that is provided within the grant is the teletherapy program and Mental Health First Aid. Through these different program opportunities, farmers will have the ability to connect with the master's level condition to help support them and controlling some of their stress and different things that happen, different factors that happen in life through online counseling with a therapist that has an agricultural background, and through Mental Health First Aid, this is an evidence-based practice that supports the continued knowledge and resource development for those that might be struggling. And so if you are a person that could benefit from some of this, there are a number of different ways that you can connect with this. If you go to the MSU Extension farm stress website, there are a number of resources there. You can also fill out an anonymous survey to help connect you with the teletherapy program. In addition to that, you can go to the MSU Extension Farm Management website and fill out a survey there were there are five questions and that will help get you enrolled in the program. And so with that, I would just like to say thank you very much for all the work that you do. Know that there are a number of people that are working very hard behind the scenes to support you as you support us. Have a great day. All right. That with Eric Karbowski talking about our farm stress program that we have through Michigan State Extension. If you would like to learn more about farm stress, you can go ahead and join us on Friday, February 19, that 11 AM for our session entitled Mending the Stressed Fence. You can find the Zoom link and the pass code on the final email schedule that was emailed to you earlier today. Now let's go ahead and jump into our first presentation. Joining us today, we have Christina Curell, who's going to share with us some information on manure management. Christina, go ahead and take it away. All right. Thank you. Thank you, Beth. Again, my name is Christina Curell. I'm currently the cover crop and soil health educator. I'm actually presenting this presentation on behalf of Erica Rogers and Sarah Fronczak. Erica is unable to be with us because some medical issues that she's having right now. So I'm going to I'm going to jump right in. But know that for 18 years I was actually doing manure management. So I do have a little bit of experience in this. So what we're going to look at is if manure. How much does your, your horses produce? How much nutrients is your horses produce besides that manure? The first thing that we'll want to decide how much manure the horse producers you need to know how much food that your horse needs to consume. Now we're going to assume that you have a 1000 pound horse. And if you have a smaller or larger horse, you can sit down and you can figure these, these numbers out, but you need to figure out how much they eat. Now, one of the things you need to realize is that a horse will consume about 2-3% of its body weight in feed each day. So for a 1000 pound horse, they're going to produce, they're going to, I apologize. They're going to need about 20 pounds of hay, five pounds of grain and then there's still going to need water. They're going to need about seven gallons of water, which is going to equate to about 58 pounds of water. So that's how much food and that's a much water they're going to intake. And you can see that that they're going to poop about ten times a day, so they are producing significant amounts of manure. Now when we're looking at the nutrients, you really again need to think about how much it weighs and how heavy is that horse. And when you sit down and do all of the numbers, we're estimating that an average one 1000 pound horse is going to produce about 50 pounds of manure a day. And that's through a lot of different ways that you can have some fun with this. And I say this, tongue and cheek, and go out and watch a horse all day and weigh all of the manure and figure out how much it's actually producing, that's one way of doing it. But on an average, a 1000 pound horse is going to produce about 50 pounds of manure. So when you're thinking about this, when we do, when we talk about manure, manure management plans and how to calculate manure, and if you have a large enough area for storage, we don't normally go by days. When we talk about how much manure you produce on your farms, we usually look at how much manure you're going to produce either weekly, monthly, or usually annually. I don't know about you, but hauling manure is not something I enjoy doing. We have just a few animals and I I don't actually clean out the stalls anymore. I have boys and they can go out and do it, but they actually have to clean those stalls out and we have to somehow store it so that we can manage it on their lands. So you need to do it to think about how much manure is being produced so you have enough storage space for that. So it's very simple. If your horse produces 50 pounds like our average horse did, and you times that by 7 days, you actually will produce about 350 pounds of manure per week. And if you do the same math per month, you'll have about 1400 pounds. Then when we're looking at the entire year, when we're looking at a storage facility or how much manure you need to put out on your fields. For year, you have about 16,500 pounds of manure. Now that's wonderful. but a lot of times when we're spreading manure, especially with, with horse is usually solid. So we don't usually talk about pounds, we usually talk about tons. So if you do the math, each horse per year at a thousand pounds will produce about 8.4 tons of manure a year that you've got to learn how to manage, and manage it accurately. Unfortunately, you just can't take into account the manure. You also need to take into account all the bedding and all of the stall ways that you have when you for, for your operation. So again, per, per animal, per horse, if you have a 1000 pound animal that produces 50 pounds of manure, it's going to produce about 20 pounds of bedding per day. That's how much you need. So total on your total farm, you're going to have 70 pounds of waste per horse for your stall. Now if you go down and you do all the math and we figure out how much you have per week, That's 490 pounds of waste per week. And then if we keep on going, we actually will have per year about 23,520 pounds of waste. Or you have 11.8 tons of waste per year, per head, per 1000 pound unit. So, so what you need to do is you need to make sure that you have the landmass or the land-base to put that manure on. Plus you need to look at your storage. Do you have adequate storage to hold that manure so that you can apply it. Now, there are some people that will go out and apply the manure maybe once or twice a week if they don't have thst storage capacity and you can do that, just make sure that your land base can hold that. So let's say that you do decide, hey, I want to go I want to figure out a storage situation. so I am not doing daily haul or weekly haul of manure. So how do you calculate how much manure volume you need to store? So what you really need to do is get out your math book and do some little bit of calculation. So you need to look at your storage site and you need to figure out how large the area that you want to store, how big it needs to be. And if you look at manure volumes, length times width times height, you need about 0.9 cubic feet of storage per animal per day. So you need a little under a foot, a cubic foot of manure storage per animal per day. And if you do the math again, calculate it out throughout the year, you're going to find that you need a lot of storage space. Essentially for one year per 1000 pound animal unit, you're going to need about a 864 cubic foot. Now, I'm not really that good at numbers. I mean, I can, you say the numbers and okay, I understand it, but I'm a really visual learner. So another way to look at this is a school bus. It would, would hold 860 cubic feet of manure. So you need just a little bit over one school bus for every single horse that you have in storage to hold that manure per year. Now for some people, they can do that. They have the land-base the financial wherewithal to do it. But a lot of us don't have that. So you really need to consider that when you're looking at your livestock and your horses and where are you going to put that manure and what are you gonna do with that? One of the things that you can do is, I am sorry, let's back up. Let's, let's look at manure itself before we look at some of the benefits or the detriments of manure is what is in that manure. And there's a lot of things in manures, there's a lot of nutrients. The typical horse manure is about 15 percent solid and 85 percent water. now this manure, all of those nutrients really can help our soil and we need it, that's fertilizer, but at the same time it is a detriment to our environment if it's not handled correctly. So those nutrients, even though they are a good fertilizer, what we're seeing is we are having such an accumulation of those nutrients in their soil that, that there's more nutrients than what's being removed by crops. So we are having excess. And that unfortunately is where we're seeing a lot of our small farms right now in Michigan, we have an excess of nutrients on our soil. And while, while a lot of times you think that's good, maybe we don't need to add nutrients and next year. There are some issues with it building up. This is just a little graphic and this isn't a pasture situation. If you have pastures, we do see where we have accumulation of manure in certain areas. So if you have a water your water trough or you have some sort of pond or whatever using to water your animals or livestock, we're seeing that there's a lot of manure and urine that has been built up around those those areas. And in the same goes with shade or trees or anywhere this time a year, I'm up north. it's extremely windy right now I'm only a few miles off of Lake Michigan and the wind is pretty strong so you need windbreaks. And where those we have windbreaks we have a lot of accumulation of manure. So just think about that when you're looking at your pastures, you may think everything is good because they're out there. You're not having to store ir or haul that manure, but it's in the soil and it's accumulating and the nutrient levels are getting higher every year. So the biggest issue with manure is environmental. One of the things that we know is that when we have a lot of rain or runoff or snowmelt, we have manure that's going to run off, especially if you have your storage is in a slope, or your pasture is on a slope, or you may have a situation where it's short, it's not that far to the groundwater, so we have a manure that will actually the nutrients will actually infiltrate through the soil and get into the groundwater. So one of the things that we want to think about is those nutrients and what they can do to water quality in Michigan. When we're looking at environmental hazards from manure, water quality is what we really need to consider. And one of the things we really need to consider is phosphorus. Phosphorus is an essential nutrient for plants. They have to have it to grow. The problem we have with phosphorus is that if we have excess phosphorus in our manure, so for the phosphorus will accumulate in that soil and it actually will bind to that soil. It doesn't like to move. Nitrogen can volatilize up in the air. It's gone. It can go down through the system and it's gone where phosphorus is bound to that soil. So what happens is when it rains in our situation here. So we have our manure storage is on on the slope and it rains, water is going to leach down into our surface water and that, oh I'm sorry, manure was going to leach down. and phosphorus will actually cause algea and grasses in our lakes and rivers to grow. And when, when those algea and those grasses grow, they actually will die and release more phosphorus. So we have this continual supply of phosphorus in our system. They also will actually harm our oxygen levels. Are fish need oxygen, especially trout and salmon. The sensitive fish, they need a lot of oxygen. and as plants grow, they're actually taking that oxygen out of that water. and they're not giving enough or leaving enough for the fish. So we're actually seeing where we having less available oxygen for the fish because the plants are taking it and they're expiring it. And then we having too much of that phosphorus. What we're actually seeing is that our fish actually being choked out because they just don't have the level of oxygen in the soil that or in the water that we need. So so when we're looking at storage facilities, we want some sort of storage facility that will hold that manure, so won't get down into our groundwater or surface water. So having it your manure in a contained area is really a good thing to do even better, the best way to keep water from moving down to the soil or off is not allowing water to actually touch the manure. So if you can keep your manure facilities covered, then that's the best thing that you can do. And I understand that's not always, not always something you can do, but the key is making sure that water does not ever come into contact with manure. Another thing that you can do to, to decrease the amount of manure you produce is composting. Compost will actually reduce the amount of manure that you have by, by 50 percent. So you can actually reduce the volume. You will have a 50 percent less manure. If you compost it. You also have less odor and it will actually kill the weeds. One of the things you need to understand when I talk about composting, I'm not talking about stockpiling the manure. That that's just piling it up and just leaving it there. I'm talking about truly composting. So you make sure you have your carbon and nitrogen ratio correctly, make sure that it gets hot. Manure is hot, it should be burning hot in the middle of the winter. In the middle of that pile, all those weed seed in those diseases are actually going to, to, to kill off and they're going to die. So you need to make sure that you keep the temperature up. And by doing, in order to do that, you need to go ahead and turn it. There's a lot of things you need to do to compost manure correctly, but it's well worth the time to learn how to do it. And then once, once you have a truly composted, then you can apply it to your plants and understand that when you compost manure, there is very little nutrients that, that's one of the things that people need to understand about manure. There's very little nutrients in composted manure. We like compost and manure because it builds a soil tilt, it builds that soil health, but there's not much manure. So that'll decrease that nutrient loading on those fields. So with that, I think that's about my ten minutes. I do want to just just bring a couple of quick things to your attention. We do have the hay production school. I am a part of this team, the forage team. We do have that coming up and I'd be glad to talk to you about that. There's also a lot of resources out there on producing manure for your horses. And this information I sent to Tom and Beth, but I will be more than happy to meet with you or talk to you about that. So with that, is there any questions? And if you do have a question, go ahead and put that right in the Q and A or in the chat. We'll get those to Christina. Christina is joining us on the go today, so she has an important basketball game. Christina, I'm assuming your son is playing. He's actually playing right now. He's JV, He's playing. It's half time, so we're good. We do have one question, the question is, how do you compost correctly? So to compost correctly. you need to make sure that you have both carbon and you have nitrogen. So, so you know your manure is going to be your nitrogen. So we want another carbon source. We want leaves or, or something else with carbon. and you want to mix it to the ratio of the type of manure you have. And there's a lot of, there's compost schools, Charles Gould and Erica Rogers. actually, I'm doing this for Erica. She is our compost educator. She can help you walk through the steps of doing that. Or Sarah Fronczak could also do that. But the key to compost is to correctly turn it every so many days to take that internal temperature to make sure it gets hot. And there is a lot of publications that you can get through MSU Extension on how to properly compost. Alright. Thank you, Christina. I know that with just a quick overview. One more question. How do you keep it hot in the winter? So, you know, it it's easier than what you think in the middle of that compost pile. It is burning out. You actually have steam coming off. If you, if you keep the compost and the carbon and nitrogen, gotta keep that recipe, it's a recipe. You keep that at the right temperature. You pile it up, you add a little bit of water, it will still in the middle of that compost pile. There'll be steam coming off it. And when you turn it, we actually turn couples and stir it. Steam will be rising even in this this two degree temperatures we have right now. Yeah, you're right. It's a lot easier than you think it is to keep that pile nice and hot. One more quick question, Christina. Are there firms that specialize in manure waste management? There are some if you're looking at somebody to contract to help you do it, there are some people that I would work with your NRCS office that they have people trained to do it. But, you know, I gotta go back to I would talk to Sarah Fronczak and Erica Rogers and I, we have done this. I've done a lot of manure management. I can help you come up with a plan. It's not that hard once you figure it out. In fact, it's pretty easy to do. So we can help you come up with a plan to do it. Okay. I know I talked about with the last question, what we want, what time are we going to squeeze one more in there? Are their size calculations based on a horse being in a stall every night? For example, they've never moved manure and the pile is less than a school bus size, 1-4 horses, but outside a lot. And they've been there for a number of years. So I would really recommend you get that spread. That is not that stockpile manure, that's not compost, that's not truly compost. Get that out, get it spread. Because what you're seeing is you're going to see accumulation of nutrients underneath that pile in that soil and it will leach. And we have seen some environmental hazards because of those stockpiles. So even though it doesn't seem like a lot, you need to get it out. You need to get it on actively growing fields. And actually really is a resource, we have that people pay for manure to get it on their fields. We have people that need the land-base and take manure from our different livestock groups. One more question was about using the compost to heat your barn, for example, is that possible? No. no, this. the heat is inside that pile, right in the middle of the pile. You can't see my hands, but I'm doing little gestures. So the outside of it is not, it's the inside. So it won't heat your barn. Awesome. Alright, Christina, I know you've got an important game to go to. Some of our attendees are telling you to have hope your son has a great game, good luck with that. All right. Thank you for joining us. Now we're going to move on to our main speaker for the evening. I'd like to introduce you all to Tom Guthrie. Tom is our equine educator here in the state, is based out of Jackson County. He's going to talk to us a little bit about wintertime horse care , Tom. The floor is yours. All right. Thank you. Beth. Can you see my screen, I hope? Absolutely. It looks great. Okay. Alright. Well as Beth mentioned, my name is Tom Guthrie. My role for Extension is a statewide equine educator based in Jackson County. And so we're just gonna talk about a little bit about some wintertime horse care considerations. So I grew up out-of-state and Western Illinois, Northwestern Illinois. And so I was talking to my dad just a few days ago and he was telling me that it was minus ten degrees, feels like 25. That's cold. I can save very confidently that I do not miss the wind from where I grew up and especially trying to take care of horses sometimes it was relatively challenging during the winter months. Okay. So this is what we're going to talk a little bit about throughout the presentation. We'll talk about horse tolerance to cold, blanket or no blanket. And that's always a big question. Body condition scoring, forage, water, hoof care, the elements with snow, ice and mud, some other considerations and then just kind of a wrap up slide for a take-home plan essentially. Okay, so 40 degrees fahrenheit is the lower critical temperature for horses. So at 40 degrees Fahrenheit, horses will need to use energy to stay warm. Okay. But that lower critical temperature is really dependent on acclimation, body condition, their age, and shelter. So when we look at horse tolerance to cold weather, okay, what we have to realize is that horses evolved as plains animals, right? So they're used to the wind, the cold and the snow. So at they can tolerate at the absence of wind and moisture at or slightly above 0 degrees Fahrenheit. With shelter access, if they have some place to get out of the weather like a running shed, they can tolerate temps as low as negative 40, but they are most comfortable between the temperatures of 18 and 59, depending on their hair coat. So that brings us to the question, should you blanket your horse? Answer is, it really just depends. So I'll give you a situation here. On the left-hand side, we have an old mule that's Dimples. She's now 36 years old. She is known as the yearling educator around the farm. And on the right hand side, we have, we have a horse that's being shown. This picture was actually taken in January out in Colorado. So you can see the differences, right? Dimples, she's not working, she's just roaming around the pasture, but she's has allowed to have her hair coat come in so she can tolerate the temperature and the snow. And then the horse on the right is being shown. So obviously, it hasn't had the chance to, to build in that hair coat. Okay, so those are two situations where the horse on the right, it's going to be blanketed in the wintertime. Okay. A horse's hair coat is a natural blanket developed by natural winter coat until the winter solstice up until December 21st. And you can see a little pony here. A little over conditioned pony, as a matter of fact, has a good hair coat. So when or if to blanket some considerations. Okay. If there's no shelter available during turn outs and the temperature or the wind chill drops below five degrees. Okay. Both of those together, there's a chance of a horse that may become wet. This is one that I don't really care for, is that freezing rain one. That's where I have the inclination to always go get horses and bring them in if I can if they're, if they're out in the pasture. If the winter hair, the winter coat is clipped, if they're very young or very old. If there aren't. If they're not out in the cold. So for example, if you're if you are going down to Florida or southern Texas, right, and you're going to bring a horse home and this kind of weather, okay. They're probably not going to be acclimated to or below freezing temperatures at this time. And that if we have a body condition score of three or less. So look at, let's look at condition scores real quick here. As you can see, they range from one to nine, okay? One through three. It's kinda on the thin side or in very poor condition. Four through six is the moderately thin to moderately fleshy. And five is right where we want to be. And then seven through nine is kinda on the fleshy side to it says extremely fat but I'll use over conditioned. Okay? Really what we're trying to do here is avoid the extremes. Avoid one through three, and avoid seven through nine. If we can, right? That allows us if we stay in that, if our if our body condition score of our horses stay in that four through six range. Okay. We, we're in pretty good shape. Okay, so how do we do that? Right? Body condition score is just the body fat estimation. And as I mentioned, the scale one through nine, extremely thin, thin as one, extremely fat or over conditioned is nine. And as you can see here, I've got some circles on this horse where you would take and feel the horse for fat levels. So if we go down the neck to the withers, this is a route I always like to take I like to go down the neck to the withers, down the side of the shoulder, across the ribs, across the backline and to the tailhead okay. And so we can kind of determine what the fat level is on that horse if they're in good condition or not, right. If we can feel ribs very easily, okay, we're probably getting down towards that. that 4 range, ok, 3 range. If we can't feel any ribs at all, then we're probably on the other side of that in that 7, 8, 9 range. Okay. But with body condition scoring you have to put your hands on the horses to feel beneath the winter hair coat. And as you can see here, here is my hand on a horse and you can see that that horse has a very adequate winter hair coat. Actually, you can't even really see my fingernails when I when I put it on the horse. Okay. So that horse is in good shape as far as winter hair coat goes to protect it from the elements. We look at forage requirements. Okay. Christina touched on this just a little bit, but horses require at least 1% of their body weight in forage. Forage should make up at least 50 percent of the diet. And horses can consume 2% of their body weight per day. So if we're looking at a 1200 pound horse and we want to put it on simple terms 1200 pound horse, let's say that we have a small square bale, that's about 50 pounds, right? We cut that in about half. That's going to be about the right amount of forage. So what are the benefits of feeding forage in the wintertime? Well, if we feed a little bit more hay, especially when it gets this cold, it can increase the body temperature due to heat fermentation. Okay? In the, in the horse. It also satisfies the desire to chew, can reduce some stereotypes, reduce wood chewing, promotes relaxation. Okay, so there's lots of benefits for allowing that horse have something to do with a little bit extra hay, especially when it becomes a cold. Okay, so a lot of, a lot of folks may think, well, I'm just going to feed my horse more grain. Well, that will produce a little bit more heat, but it's not going to produce as much heat as it, as forage will, and as you can see here, I've got this separated out where the corn is in the stomach. That's where it's going to generate the heat. And, and the hay bale here is in the large colon. And you could see how long that is ten to 12 feet long. Okay, so that offers more time for that fermentation to take place and produce some heat. So as far as that goes, if you really want to warm up your horse in the winter by, just feed them more, hay, okay. If we look at the over conditioned pony that I showed you, since grass hay is lower in calories than alfalfa, horses can eat more grass hay and produce more heat that way. And on the left-hand side you can see here horses produce more heat from digesting hay compared to grain. Here is just an example picture of horses that are out on pasture. I really like the way that they feed these horses here because there are several piles, obviously, there's a few more horses behind me when I was taking this picture, that's why all the hay piles are out there. But it does allow them, if you spread it out a little bit, it allows them to move around a little bit, their natural tendencies to kind of graze with their head down. Okay. We don't really have to worry about too much about sand colic at this time because we have snow cover, so on and so forth. And as you can see here, the horse, this bay horse has a really good winter coat too. You can see the snow that's that's built up on the hair coat. So well isolated. Okay, When we look at shelter usage, this is some research from University of Minnesota. Horses use shelter less than 10 percent in mild weather conditions and as you see here on the left, the horses do have access to the barn there but it's a nice sunny day and they're outside. Ok, they did find that they use it 62% of the time when it was snowing and the wind speed was greater than 11 miles per hour. So what this tells us is if it's breezy and wet conditions, the horses are more likely going to utilize that shelter. As far as shelter goes, free access to shelter is probably the best way to approach it, right? So those horses have a choice if they decide to use it or if they don't choose use it. Okay, that can that can make up many things. It could be an open sided, three-sided shelter. It could be a stable, right? If you bring him in the barn, it could be trees, it could be other things. Okay. But really what we're looking for as far as shelter is concerned is protection from the wind, sleet, and rain. The size of the shelter. You're looking at this picture here, 12 by 24 for two horses and you would add 60 additional square feet for each additional horse. This assumes that all the horses are going to get along. So these three characters that are standing in the three-sided shelter here, look like they get along pretty well. Shelter could be really actually pretty simple. This is just a simple three-sided shelter put in a dry lot for horses to utilize when they're in and out of the main barn when stalls are being cleaned. So on and so forth. Okay. Just very simple but very effective. This is another idea, I guess you could say. Behind these two, these two sheets of plywood is a little paddock for a pony. Okay. And essentially what they did is they just took two sheets of plywood, put them at the end, and there's a Northwest prevailing wind here. And those are set up to block the wind from the pony so the pony can go and stand behind in inclement weather, stand behind those two for a windbreak. And then we have natural terrain. Okay. As you can see here in the picture, the horses are out on pasture and up above on top of the hill there are some cedar trees. And also especially in this pasture right here, if you drive by like right now, during this time, during the day, you'd see the horses that are standing kind of in a little dip or a swale in the in the pasture just to get away from the wind. So they will find those spots to get to get protection when they need it. And then we'll go back to old Dimples. 36 year old Dimples, to much of our chagrin, this mule is is at my dad's place and she just refuses to utilize shelter. She will stand out in the snow. At her at her leisure. She just never chooses to use the shelter and that's that's her choice. Okay. Indoor housing, the barn. Okay. Lots of times we want to make the mistake of really trying to seal it up tight. But we really need to let it breathe, right? We need we need good air exchange in our barn. Air quality factors to consider would be airflow, the oxygen, carbon dioxide exchange, right? Humidity, 60 to 70 percent is optimal humidity level inside the barn. You also have things like ammonia and dust that are going to be around in there. So just make sure that you have adequate airflow running through your barn if the horses are stalled. Okay, moving on to water management. An adult horse will drink 10 to 12 gallons per day. Snow is not an adequate water source. So we need to remember that yeah, they they will eat some snow day, but we shouldn't count on that for, for our water source. Extreme cold water can reduce intake. So there's, the common thought is water temperature between 45 to 65 degrees is about, is about the right temperature range for horses to drink water that prefer, they prefer to drink water at that range. Any colder than that, there is some thought that older horses, like older than 12, may sort of not drink as much water if it's colder than 45 degrees because as they get older, their teeth could get a little more sensitive. So we really have to keep an eye on that. Dehydration, if horses aren't drinking enough it can lead to impaction colic. And so if we need to, we can provide salt in the diet to promote horses to drink water. So I kinda mentioned two common complications, right? If they don't have, if they have inadequate water consumption, decreased, decreased feed intake, which that's going to impact body condition score. And then second of all, the impaction call it or impaction colic or constipation. Okay. And then that's going to lead to some health challenges that we really don't want to, to face. Just remember this a frozen bucket is an empty bucket. Okay. Frozen bucket is empty bucket. As far as water tank management goes, I've got two pictures here. On the left side you can see a water hydrant. It's got some electrical tape wrapped around it to try to keep that to try to keep the hydrant from freezing. On the right hand side, this is kind of a, a little more of an elaborate setup with the tank. You've got the tank heater coming down in with the water source. Okay. There is a plywood box built around it that's insulated and it also has a top on it to try to help with all of that freezing, keep that water source available to the horses. In addition to that, here are three pictures of a water hydrant. Okay. You've got the pipe going up. Essentially in these pictures, you know those foam pool noodles that you that you can buy in the summertime if you are going to the pool or the lake or wherever the case may be, this is essentially what's being used- wrapped around that pipe to provide some sort of installation to try to prevent that pipe or water hydrant from freezing. Here's another picture of that. As you can see on the left, left picture they had some armaflex wrapped around that for installation, but that was getting kind of wore out so they replaced it with the foam noodles, pool noodles. In addition to that, I showed the second group of pictures. Because when you look at this, that's a pretty bright color on that water hydrant. And so in the wintertime, if you have somebody that's coming to plow the snow, right, That's pretty visible. They can see it. And so we don't want to have any accidents of accidentally run into the water hydrant with the snow plow or where they're piling it. Right. So it's very visible as well as providing some sort of insulation for that pipe. Hoof care. We can't forget about hoof care. We still need to keep the farrier on a regular schedule. There's some thought that barefoot horses do just fine barefooted. But if your horse does need shoes, there are some pads or there's some studded pads, those are all things that you would need to discuss with your farrier. And depending on if horses are turned out with other horses as well. The big the big key point here is regular hoof picking is required because horses will get snow and ice compaction. And essentially they'll be walking on high heels, which that stresses the tendons, ligaments and muscles. So we want to be makes, make sure that we're checking our horses hooves and then picking them out regularly if needed. Eye protection. Does your horse have a history of eye irritation? Ok, so fly masks, very useful and gusty winds when you got find dirt and debris. Other benefits. They may help with snow glare. Lot of times on a sunny day, and you got all the snow out and go out, I have put on my sunglasses right because of the snow glare. Would be a benefit for the horses as well. The elements, snow, ice and mud. So really evaluating this starts in the summer. And so we need to know how the water flows across your respective property. If you can identify where the water tends to accumulate and then fence off those identified areas. That will help us in the long run because we all know we have snow now. The mud is coming, the mud is coming, right? So snow horses, are going to handle snow relatively well. The things to look at here is where does it get plowed and piled, right? Can it be used as a windbreak in some cases? Right. If you get piled up high enough and just on the outside of the fence where it's out of the way and it's in a corner where the prevailing winds coming it might potentially could be used as a windbreak in some cases. Where is all of that going to run off though once it melts? Okay, so that's just one consideration to think about. During the freeze and the thaw. Ice, very dangerous, right? For horses that have been stalled for a period of time and then you turn them out. You know the get the cabin fever and they just want to take off running across the pasture. Right. So we just need to make make sure that the area that we're turning them out to a safe. Ice is not good. Okay. So best solution is just to remove them. Okay. If you have a walkway that you're walking them in and out. Other options might be sand, some salt, thin layer of wood ash, potentially fresh manure, some no-no's here are shavings, hay and straw because on ice that's going to be really slick. Okay. So then I have here and rain and then comes the mud. Yep, We all know it's coming. So I've written a couple articles on our MSU Extension website on how to deal with mud. And you can look them up. Rain, rain, and then comes the mud, mud go away, leave me and my horses alone is the actual title of that article. So you can get on our website and check that out. But as far as mud questions are concerned, we need to identify the pattern. What type of soil do we have? We have to know where the water drains or doesn't drain from respective areas. Where does the rainwater go? Okay, and so are the identified muddy areas just around the gates, waterers and high traffic areas because that's going to change a lot of things compared to the picture that you see here, which is somewhat of a round pen area. Okay? And that gets pretty taxing to use a lot with that much mud. So there is a bulletin, it's called Greener Pastures, it's from the University of Vermont. You can look that up. It's a really awesome bulletin that shows how you can improve your, your dry lot areas with some geo-textile fabric and layering of different materials to get good drainage on specific areas where those horses might be housed, such as a sacrifice lot or a dry lot. So that's an excellent bulletin. Other tips and considerations, especially in our barns, we need to make sure that we're taking care of all the cobwebs, right, because that can be a fire hazard. Barn doors are cleaned out. Areas beneath the doors. Power outages, right? If we have a small generator or if we're getting a major storm and we're thinking that we might have a power outage, we might want to we might want to draw some more water to have it available just in case. Check electrical items and barn wiring, gutters and spouts. Right. So they're not clogged. And then if you are actually shoveling snow, it wouldn't hurt to spray it with your your most favorite horse polish to make it a little bit slick. That will help with the snow actually not sticking to your shovel. And then you don't have to you don't have to deal with all that weight. Another thing is your trailer, right? Where is it parked? Where is the snow being plowed and is it ready to go? And so I've got a picture here of the trailer and as you can see, that back tire as it sat in the cold for several weeks on end, okay, that tire's got low, low tire pressure. So we need to make sure that even though we might not be using our trailer at this time, during this time, during the winter, we need to make sure that it's it's good to go in case we have an emergency and if we have to haul a horse somewhere. Right. So just make sure you check on the tire pressure and everything else is good to go with your trailer. And then lastly, human factor. So on the left-hand side, that's my daughter and she's she's getting some bucket of water. And on the right hand side, that's me. And I've got a bale hay in my hand, right? So that water and forage, water and forage. But the biggest thing is dress for success when you're out there, right? I always try to teach my kids. Like if you're taking care of animals, you have to allow for extra time because you never know what could happen if you have a frozen water hydrant or if a horse is not feeling well, or if you have to plow some snow or whatever the case, right? So we need to make sure that we're ready to go during those times and we're comfortable so we can do the job correctly. And then the other thing is mental, right? So we need to make an informed decision based on the horse's needs. Okay. And one that you are comfortable with. Okay. That's a big deal, right? Because, you know, sometimes we get snowstorms or other types of storms and we're sitting in the house and worrying about the horses. Okay. So don't forget about that, right. Make a decision that you're comfortable with too. So the take home plan here is be assured in most cases, horses can tolerate cold weather, right? Control what you can control, right? Snowing really hard outside right now I can't control that. But I can control the water source, the forage source for the horses, their shelter, their hoof care, the ventilation in the barn. Those are all things that I can control. Okay. Just try to help the horses out and then prepare. Attention to detail. Okay? We don't want to try to wait until our water hydrant is frozen to take care of the issue. Let's try to take care of it before that happens. So just paying attention to those small details will be a lot more beneficial as we go through the months and spring is coming. So here are some Extension resources that we have. The MSU Extension equine team, My Horse University and extension horses.org. And so Beth that is what I have for you. Thank you so much. So those are some very timely tips for winter horse care as we are looking at a little bit of a winter storm that's covering basically all of Michigan. If someone has a comment or a question, we'd love for you to put it in the question answer, or in the chat section. Tom will be here for just a few more minutes to answer some of those. Tom we did have one comment during your presentation that their horses stood underneath the pine trees even though they had shelter available. So it seems to be a, common occurrence. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. Right. I mean, as much as we want to bring them in or help them try to go into that shelter. They just got to sometimes have a mind of their own. And so if they have the, you know, if they have the chance or the free choice or whatever they're comfortable with. Okay. So Tom, we do have one question in the chat. You may want to pull that up also. It is asking about some of our environmental regulations for manure management. And so here in Michigan we have the GAAMPS, the generally accepted agriculture practices, management practices that we have to follow, and even those of us that may not consider themselves farmers, but do have horses on their property, have to go ahead and follow those GAAMP schools. There is a general manure management GAAMP that you have to follow when you have those. So that is definitely a resource that you could go to talk about some of those questions that we have regarding manure management and environmental quality. Yep, that's exactly right Beth. We do have the generally accepted agricultural management practices that do serve as a guide for environmental stewardship. Those GAAMPs also. So it talks, the question is referring pretty specific and I don't know if I have the answers to those. It's about the size of the livestock operation that creates the discharge in those. I do know that that that is going to be regulated by our Department of Environmental Quality here in Michigan. They would probably be the best option for you to answer those type of fairly specific regulation questions. So I do apologize for not having that information at the tip of my hand time. Tom, if you had that, feel free to go ahead and add anything in. But I do think the Department of Environmental Quality, that is the regulators, would have the best information to get those types of questions answered. Yeah, absolutely. Wonderful. One thing that I do want to let everybody knows that we do have just a really quick survey regarding this this program. What you thought? Did you learn anything? This really helps us when we start to plan our options. This is a new program this year. Typically we host these sessions that face-to-face meetings. But of course with the current pandemic and the care we want to have for everyone's health, we've decided to move these into virtual events. So some of those questions are going to be regarding, Do you like a virtual event like this? Does it work for you? Is it accessible for you? So go ahead. Click on that survey link. It'll take you probably less than five minutes. I think there's a total of five or six questions on there. We'd really appreciate some feedback. Hey, Beth. I did see there was one question. Right. Go ahead. Sorry. But it was I always judge whether to blanket or not on whether the horse was shivering. Is shivering too late? No, not necessarily. But if you're starting to see those horses exhibit those signs, I would absolutely feed more hay. Just last year, one of my neighbors had like a 20, 26, 27-year-old pony that she was a little bit worried about, but didn't want to bring her in the barn. And she was starting to shiver a little bit and was worried about her overnight. And so essentially how she handled that was fed more hay, she went out the next day. The horse was perfectly fine. Right? So that's why it kind of brought that forage, feed a little bit more hay to help them out. This is actually beneficial. Thanks Tom for that information. Really appreciate that. So just a little bit more information on that specific question. This was an older horse and she was in the barn shivering. Any other comments regarding that situation Tom? No. If she continues to do that, you might, have to, you might need to help her out with a blanket and then and then feed a little bit more extra hay, as well. But if you keep that blanket on for a period of time, then you probably need to keep it on for the rest of the winter because you don't want that hair to get matted down. Once the hair it gets matted down, then you lose isolation factor. Right, thank you very much Tom. And it is key to to make sure that we are observing our animals, watching them. They're going to tell us what they need. We just have to be able to see what they're saying. And I think the poster agrees with you. The weather changes very quickly around here and so that's something that we need to make sure we keep in mind. One more question, Tom. Any advice on the size of open holding areas? Roofing parts of the holding area, installing gutters or diversions to direct the clean water away from waste so we can reduce contaminated runoff? Yeah. If you're talking about the size for horses, if you're looking at it like a dry lot. It's recommended to have at least about 1000 square feet per horse. So they can exercise a little bit. If they're staying in there for an extended period of time. Lots of other times, If they're just in and out of there, you know, obviously if you can make it smaller, that's better. With gutters. and I would absolutely get gutters on your barn. And you can dig some trenches and use some of that black tile pipe to run that to divert that water away from certain areas of the farm or where there might be some manure to keep that clean water diverted away from your other water. The Clean Water. Thanks, Tom. And you're absolutely right. I would agree with you. If you have the ability to put the gutters on your barns, be able to divert that clean water so it's not hitting those lots where the manure might be stockpiled or standing and thus contaminating that water. That's a great thing that we can do. It's a way that we can help make our facilities and our barns a little bit more environmentally friendly. So appreciate Tom that comment. Any other questions before we let Tom go here today? We really appreciate you joining us here tonight. Tom, we're asking for some e-mail contact information. Do you mind putting your e-mail in the chat? We would love for you to be able to share that. Tom sits in Jackson County, but he does service all of Michigan. He's happy to help you with your equine questions. Very knowledgeable resource about those. In as much as I love the horse industry Tom, I was glad I actually did learn quite a bit here with you tonight. So I appreciate your willingness to share all of that information with us. And I don't, there it is. Tom's e-mail is in the chat. I'm going to go ahead and put that survey link in there one more time. If those of you who are still on the call with us would take the opportunity to just really finish that quick survey. We'd really appreciate it. I'd like to thank everybody for joining us here today. Really appreciate everybody's time that they had. It's kinda nice to have this opportunity to do this virtually. Tom before we go, I have one more question. For my high body condition score horse, should I just give it up during the winter and let her diet when it's warm again. That's, that's a, that's a great question. If you are feeding that horse grain, I probably would would lay off of the grain for now. And if you could find a grass hay and go with that for the time being. We want to reduce those calories. Yeah. So it sounds like even horses in the winter have to get ready for a swimsuit season, right, Tom? Yeah. All right. So any other questions before we let Tom go here tonight? Alright, Once again, thank you all for joining us here at our Michigan AG Ideas to Grow virtual conference. Really excited to bring you these different opportunities. We will have an animal agriculture session every night starting at 06:30 PM. You should have the link in your emails if you're interested in going to any of those. This is a completely free event. We also have various different tracks throughout the day. You'll be here, you'll be able to attend those if you'd like. So thank you all for joining us here tonight. Everybody stay safe out there. And it looks like it's a pretty nasty night out around Michigan, so please stay safe if you have to go anywhere and if you have to travel again tomorrow. So thanks everyone. Have a good night.