Summer is on its way! I enjoy nothing more than riding in the summertime and soaking up those sunny rays.
However, the pesky pests hidden away in my stables also enjoy making the most of the hot weather and can flock to hay barns, fields and stables for food, bedding and shelter.
Thankfully, having worked in stables for most of my life I have developed some effective pest control methods that help keep the pests at bay – even on the hottest of days!
1. How to Keep Rats Out of Your Stables
Rats are one of the worst pests to have in your stables. Not only do they carry diseases, but they can get into food, bite your horses and damage the structural integrity of your stable.
Unfortunately, rats are capable of squeezing through small spaces – fitting through gaps as tiny as ½ inch in diameter! They can easily gain access to your stable and distress your horses.
What’s more, if rats feel threatened they will bite as a method of self-defense – causing infection and spreading disease.
To prevent rats from entering your stable, it is imperative you seal all gaps and small holes. Rats are rapid breeders, so once they’ve accessed a stable they will quickly develop into a full-blown rat infestation.
Another effective method is to keep rats away from food sources, garbage and dry grain. All food should be kept in sealed containers. Finally, never store cardboard boxes in your stables as this material is particularly desirable for rats who make their nests by chewing up boxes.
How Do You Know if Your Have a Rat Infestation?
So, you think you have a rat infestation but how do you know? Pest control companies suggest there are some noticeable signs:
- Rat droppings
- Skittering sounds across the floorboards
- Rat nests
- Scratching noises
- Holes in food packaging or other areas of the stable
If you notice any of these signs, you must call a pest control company to provide a professional rat removal service.
Although you can do everything possible to prevent rats from entering your stables, if they’ve already made themselves at home it’s best to call in the professionals!
2. Keep Your Stables Squeaky Clean!
Keeping your stables clean is the most effective method of preventing pests from entering your stables. We all know that stables are breeding grounds for pests.
Where there are animals, there’s manure and feed – two things pests love! Simply carrying out a few cleaning management tactics will help keep your stables clean and under control.
You should clean your stables at the beginning and end of each day, removing all manure, cleaning bedding and sweeping. At the very least, manure should be removed daily and either spread on fields, gardens or hauled off to the compost – ideally a good distance from the stable!
Although cleaning the stable can be a time-consuming task, it is essential for the prevention of pests.
3. Keep All Horse Feed Properly Sealed and Stored
Easy access to feed is a particular draw for pests who love to fill themselves on horse pellets and hay. If there is food lying around on your stable floor or if food containers are not properly sealed, pests will be attracted to your stables like wildfire.
Successfully controlling the rodent population in your stable requires a proactive approach.
When storing your horse’s feed, be sure to seal it effectively and store it in large metal bins with tight fitting lids.
Unfortunately, rats and mice make easy work of plastic, wooden or paper storage containers, completely chewing through them to access the feed.
Storing your horse’s feed in sealed containers means pests will look elsewhere for food.
4. Store Bedding and Blankets Properly
Pests love having a warm space to sleep, and they enjoy nothing more than burrowing into stored blankets, straw or hay for a good night’s sleep. To avoid this problem, ensure you stall all blankets and wraps in tightly sealed containers.
It doesn’t matter how high up you store blankets, if they aren’t properly stored and sealed, they will be accessed by pests.
When it comes to straw and hay, keep it clean by replacing it often and ensuring it is kept as dry as possible.
5. Set Traps for Pests
If you have an existing pest problem in your stables, you don’t need prevention techniques, you need a solution. Setting traps is an extremely effective method for controlling pest populations – particularly rats and mice!
However, if the thought of setting traps is unappealing, it is possible to purchase traps that simply capture but do not harm rodents, so that you can release them elsewhere.
By using traps, you can monitor the progress and dispose of rodents in a safe and sanitary way.
Top tip: Remember, in a stable you must not use poison as this can pose a risk to horses.
What are Some of the Pests in Your Stables?
Do you have pests in your stables? These tips should be useful in keeping further pests out and discouraging current pests from staying.
Stable management is extremely important for the prevention of stable pests, so you should do all that you can to keep your stable clean, dry and tidy.
Author Bio: My name is Sarah Macey and I am the proud owner of Prime Stables Ltd. Started back in 2003, Prime Stables provide hand crafted equestrian buildings to horse owners all over the UK and have become one of the most popular suppliers in the country. We believe in three things: family and people, a love for horses, and quality. Find out more about us by reading our blog or following us on Twitter@SarahMacey9
We've been having trouble with raccoons getting into the hayloft the last few years. We ended up stacking all the hay in the center of the loft, not leaving any gaps, because the raccoons liked to nest in the area between the hay bales and the wall/roof. We also had a guy come and install wire mesh over all the little gaps. Crossing our fingers that no raccoon mama will have her babies in the barn this year…