Does anyone have a set chore routine? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 07-17-2018, 05:23 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2017
Posts: 47
• Horses: 0
Does anyone have a set chore routine?

Hey guys. So I have 4 horses now. Which has made my tiny farm management a little more difficult. Before the 2 new horses arrived I kinda just did stuff as it came about. With 2 horses I only had to fill up water every other day and cleaned out once a week. Manure management wasn’t that big of a deal, I got hay when I could because a round bale lasted up to a month sometimes. But now the chores are piling up fast. Waters have to be filled daily, hay only lasts a week, and the flies seemed to triple almost immediately lol. I’m thinking that a good routine would help out a lot.
Just out of curiousity, do any of you have a set routine that you work? Manure management tips, hay buying schedule? Barn cleanup. I would really be interested to hear from those who (most of us) work full time as well.
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post #2 of 7 Old 07-17-2018, 06:05 PM
Green Broke
Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 2,886
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I have a set routine that I follow year round. I live in NW IL so in the summer it is HOT and HUMID and in the winter it can be bitterly cold with below 0F wind chills.

I get up and outside about 6 AM every day (sometimes a little earlier) I also have 4 horses. Each has a separate run with a run in shed. I grain all of the horses and open doors and gates so they can come out when done with their grain. I then put hay in piles in the sacrifice area we have. In the summer a lot less hay - but I have limited pasture and a formerly foundered mare that needs limited pasture time. When horses are done I shoo the 3 that go out to the sacrifice area out of the barn yard and into the dry lot. They will then get their fly masks on and good spray of fly spray. We have 1 mare the wanders the barn yard all day (due to limited sight) I put hay out for this mare as wellm and put her fly mask on and fly spray her. Then I clean stalls and runs - we have 2 large garden cards that I dump my manure into - these get dumped into compost piles at the back of our property about every other day. I also check water in the AM. I also have 4 steers so I give them corn, check water and maybe throw out some hay. this takes about an hour. I work from a home office and have to be logged in by 7:30 Am so this gives me time to get into the house and shower and drink some tea.

Horses are let into the pasture at noon (lunch break) at about 5 PM I go out and put hay in all of the slow feed hay nets in the run in sheds/stalls and give them their grain. By this time all of the horses haves moseyed in from the pasture and are waiting at the gate to be let in for supper. I then feed cows again and double check all water (cows drink a lot of water)

We bale our own hay and store it in our shed. We have a room just for hay - we feed alfalfa grass mix hay year round. My horses get a ration balancer in the summer and are transitioned to a pelleted feed in the winter - and some of the horses get special supplements.

I also clean a vet clinic 3 nights a week as well as mow for my husbands mowing business (about 10 hours per week) having a strict routine makes it easier for me to schedule my time and make sure the horses are fed and watered - I do all of the horse chores - hubby will help sometimes but it is me 99% of the time.

We have a farmer who takes the compost piles in the fall - he says as long as their is not too much hay in it it makes great compost for his fields.
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post #3 of 7 Old 07-17-2018, 06:05 PM
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Vermont
Posts: 6,512
• Horses: 3
What region of the country do you live in? How much space for your 4 horses? That might help people give you advice on some of your specific questions.

I just bought my 3 mares home about a month ago and am still settling into our routine, so will be interested to hear what people share! Right now I have them on about 6 acres currently fenced with a small (~1 acre) sacrifice area that includes their run-in sheds, and two larger turnout pastures for rotation. We have ~20 additional open acres to eventually fence for them but no shelter or water access in any of that space so that's looking like a project for next year.

To add to your questions, I'd be curious to hear what people with larger pastures do as far as manure management? Pick regularly? Drag regularly? What is "regular" to you depending on what you consider "larger" pasture?
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post #4 of 7 Old 07-17-2018, 06:06 PM
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Western Massachusetts
Posts: 6,251
• Horses: 3
I only have a horse and pony, at the moment. That is plenty for me!

Every morning first thing I muck out stalls and runs, feed supplements, refill water tubs, and fill hay nets. This is the light-work part of the day as the horses have spent the night grazing and there isn't much to clean up. If it is going to be hot I mask the horses and turn on the fans. Then I eat breakfast.

On the best mornings, after breakfast I take the pony out for a training session, then ride my horse for a couple hours, or get a riding lesson, or haul out to meet friends for a ride. Some days are not the best, but some are!

Just before dark I muck stalls and runs again, refill water tubs, and feed the other half of the supplements. I used to have a 300 gallon stock tank with a float at my old place and it got drained and cleaned out once a year. I kept a couple goldfish in it for the mosquitos. That was easy!

I keep my barn as clean as I ever I can. I really do not like dusty dirty barns with piles of dirty buckets and decomposing tack in the corners. The aisle gets swept out at least once a day after I put the last horse away after riding, and the cobwebs at least once a week. I have plans to whitewash before winter, we'll see if that happens.

Manure is piled near the barn. We just moved here so I don't have a manure station yet (a roofed area open on one side for the tractor, divided into three half-walled bays, is what I want). I use fly parasites to keep the fly population down. I also eliminate any dirty puddles or wet straw (where they breed). I turn the piles (with the tractor) to break them down into compost faster. Right now I use all the composted manure on the orchard-to-be and the garden; I'll be spreading composted manure in the pastures in spring I have no doubt. The keys to keeping filth flies (aka houseflies) down are fly parasites, cleanliness, and dryness.

I buy hay out of the field in summer, so once a year, if I plan right. I have a lot of pasture so I really only need hay from late fall through April in a typical year.
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post #5 of 7 Old 07-17-2018, 06:20 PM
Green Broke
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 2,674
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I also have 4 horses on limited acreage.

This is my schedule:

Morning - move horses off hay round, put fly masks on. Move Desy to stall from pasture, turn on fans. Florian stays on hay 24/7 so he doesn't need to be moved

3pm throw one flake for the horses that aren't on hay

7pm Turn Desy back out on pasture, prepare feed buckets. Put horses back on hay. Time to ride.
After riding, i fill all the water buckets, clean the stall, put one flake of hay in the stall for tomorrow, and feed.

Mucking- i only muck after we have dry weather for at least a few days. When it rains daily i don't muck at all. The manure is too wet and heavy. I just stripped the paddocks last week, so it will be a few weeks before I strip them again. All dependant on weather. This week it is expected to rain daily. My paddocks are already filling with manure, but that is life. At first, not mucking daily really bothered me, but the horses are healthy- no thrush issues and they have a designated manure pile area. Florian is a piggy through - everyone else uses the designated spot. Harmony is my favorite because if you give her a long paddock she goes all the way to the back. It keeps the paddocks clean!

I try to strip paddocks right before mowing the pasture. Since i don't have a manure spreader, the lawn mower has to do the work.

I do all the chores at night because my house is all sun in the morning and unbearably hot. Plus i have lights. I can even muck in the dark. Paddock lights are a worthy investment. I spent $60 on the paddock light and it is super bright.
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post #6 of 7 Old 07-18-2018, 04:00 PM
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: MD
Posts: 16,675
• Horses: 1
I have a private barn that we rent (my barnmate & I), he has two horses & I have one. It's self-care. We pay for everything except water, electric, any maintenance to the ba & they also provided a lawn mower (ride-on).

He feeds in the AM, I feed in the PM. Works out perfectly since he works nights, I work during the day. He also does the lawn maintenance (mowing).
On the weekends, we switch sometimes though.

AM Feeding:
Dump water trough & scrub out
Put on fly masks/fly gear if needed
Put on sunscreen on their noses on those super hot sunny days
Prep feed. We pre-bag our feed, so it's easier every day to just grab the ziploc bag of feed and put it in the bucket for each horse.
Put horses in their stalls & feed.
After horses eat, let them back out in the pasture (4 acres of yummy grass)
Clean feed buckets, rinse out
Then, rake the stalls, add more bedding if needed & muck if needed.
Take wheelbarrow down to manure pile

The stalls don't get too messy since they're pretty much out 24/7.

We are in the process of getting some hay bales to stock up.
Right now the grass is really good so they don't really require much hay. We have a few bales but sometimes on extra hot days he leaves his horses in (Promise does well in heat, one of his horses is old & has a heart condition so he can't really bear it) we leave a flake or 2 in the stall though! They do like to munch on it :)

PM Feeding:
Take OFF fly gear (mask, fly boots, etc. whatever is on)
Prep feed
Put horses in
Let horses out after they eat
Clean buckets
Dump water trough if needed/refill
Rake/muck stalls
Take wheelbarrow down to manure pile

Aaand that's about it...

Manure management:
About 1x a month we go around near the barn to pick up any manure around it. It prevents flies from getting in the barn/in the stalls. It really helps! We also have fly traps.

The rest of the manure in the field just decomposes. We also don't have a spreader (or need one, we only have 4 acres & 3 horses, it's not crazy lol). So the lawn mower does the job.

We keep the barn REALLY clean & organized too. Every weekend we both pitch in & clean/organize.

Aaand I probably missed a few things, but that's it...pretty simple!
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post #7 of 7 Old 07-18-2018, 06:13 PM
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Texas
Posts: 2,199
• Horses: 2
Sunday night I prep a week's worth of feed & supplements for each horse in Ziploc bags and fill all my slow feed hay nets. I'll have all week to buy more feed, if needed. I feed square bales and aim to never go below 2 weeks of quantity, just in case.

5am-ish daily: Turn hose on in water tub every morning, except Saturday when I scrub first. Dump Ziploc feed bag in each horse's bucket in the loafing shed, close gate to keep horses in sacrifice paddock which contains said loafing shed, pick manure out of loafing shed (no shavings/bedding, just sand, super easy,) fly spray each horse and give quick once over, turn on closed-motor fan in loafing shed, turn off hose, be back in house within 12 minutes to get ready for work. If I'm riding early to beat the heat, I'll let my horse nibble on hay while I groom & tack since he's been in the sacrifice paddock/dry lot overnight.

6pm-ish daily: Turn on hose if needed (it's been triple digits all week,) dump Ziploc feed bag in each horse's bucket, give quick once over, open gate to allow pasture access, pick manure out of loafing shed, turn off fan, turn off hose, be back in house in about 10 minutes, 20 if I need to dump the wheelbarrow of manure along the side fenceline where it composts down to practically nothing since there are no slow-to-breakdown shavings in it.

Weekends: pick manure out of sacrifice paddock, scrub feed buckets and water tubs, sweep barn, tack and feed rooms. Clean and re-fill water tubs in pasture (horses prefer the shaded tub by the loafing shed, but in this heat I offer multiple options.) Check barn, loafing shed and all exterior areas for wasp/hornet nests.

First of the month is fence check and de-cobwebbing the barn. If forecast calls for rain I'll drag the pastures so manure will dissolve. Mow as needed, always before weeds go to seed. Premise-Fly-Spray in the barn quarterly (bugs never die in Texas!) I don't bother rotating pastures anymore, and have seen no ill-effects on grass quality. Horses ARE locked in paddock anytime pasture is remotely wet, to protect the grass, though.

~Reserved Cash, 2011 AQHA gelding~
~Lark, 20-something Arabian mare~
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