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Discussion on In and out of barn during sub-zero temps

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dieliz
Member
Username: dsibley

Post Number: 195
Registered: 11-2005
Posted on Sunday, Jan 3, 2010 - 6:51 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hello, all! Central Illinois is not exempt from the arctic blast. Our wind chills approach -20 degrees at night. Most of my horses live outside with access to a lean-to, and seem to be doing well. However, I board horses for others, and have yearlings to care for as well. The boarders' horses and the yearlings are inside at night, out during the day. Most are not blanketed, and have grown a nice winter coat. The temp in the barn hovers around 27 degrees at night. With the wind chill factor, is the 30 to 40-degree temp difference too extreme to be putting them outside during the day?

I would appreciate any insight. Dr. O's articles have been very helpful in general winter management, but I couldn't find this issue addressed. Thanks!
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rtrotter
Member
Username: rtrotter

Post Number: 559
Registered: 4-2008
Posted on Sunday, Jan 3, 2010 - 8:13 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

dieliz,

Any particular reason why the boarders and the yearling are in at night?

While I agree that your temps and wind chills are more severe than here in NJ. I have had horses at boarding/breeding farms in Upstate New York where it gets pretty frigid day and night. The horses there had a very deep 3 sided run-in shed and were able to get out of the wind and cold when needed. Horses are adaptable to very severe temperatures, its us humans that are not that adaptable.

IMHO, I think its healthier for all horses to stay outside as much as possible, after all they are horses and who wants to stay cooped up in a stall for very long, especially the babies. They need to be tough for whatever the future has to hold for them. As long as they have food in their bellies and water to drink, they all should be fine outside.

But, I think you are right to ask your question because I would think if there is that much difference between inside and out, you may be asking for trouble as far as sickness is concerned. But, I'd rather see them out than in.

Rachelle
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Sara Wolff
Member
Username: mrose

Post Number: 5606
Registered: 1-2000
Posted on Monday, Jan 4, 2010 - 12:48 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi dieliz; I've kept horses where the temps were from minus 10 to minus 40 at night and between 20 and 40 above in the daytime. Where we are now is is normal for there to be a 20 degree drop within an hour's time, and a 40 or more degree difference between day and night regardless of the time of year. The high desert is a land of extremes.

I have always had some horses that went in and out at will, and have kept the very old and very young in during the worst storms and coldest nights. I always open up their stalls during the day unless the wind is blowing the shavings around so much it's a hazzard. I've never had a problem with the horses not being able to adjust to the temperature changes, nor had them catch colds etc. I think the only time it's a problem is when horses are kept closed up in too tight a barn and the air become unhealthy, and when the barn is heated.

I do feed extra feedings of good hay on really cold nights and always make sure the water is clean and not frozen.

I wouldn't worry about your boarders.
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dieliz
Member
Username: dsibley

Post Number: 196
Registered: 11-2005
Posted on Monday, Jan 4, 2010 - 7:10 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

The stalls are available for boarders if they want their horses in at night. All of them do. As long as they are outside during the day, I have no problem with it, the barn is very well ventilated and low-dust. The concern is not over having mine outside all the time, but the very sudden change in temps causing problems. Again, all but one have good winter coats, as they are out during the day.
The babies stay in at night simply due to safety factors. I worry they'll do something stupid at night. They will get kicked out of the barn this spring when they are a little older and I can trust them just a little more.
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Fran C
Member
Username: canter

Post Number: 2259
Registered: 1-2000
Posted on Monday, Jan 4, 2010 - 7:21 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi Dieliz,

Where I board my mare, the set up is very much like yours in terms of the boarding horses, older horses and very young come in at night. Except in extreme weather, the owner keeps her horses out pretty much 24/7 and they do have shelter. The barn is draft free, but cold, and the horses that come in have access to water and hay overnight (so do those that are kept out). This is a very common boarding scenario, at least around here. I'm in SW Michigan, so don't usually get the extreme temp swings that parts of Il get, but it can get pretty bitter at night and there's no doubt that the barn heats up a bit from the warmth of the horses that come in. That said, we have a barn full of healthy, happy horses...both those that stay out and those that come in at night.

As long as nobody is sweating when you turn them back out in the morning, I don't think there is an issue.
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DianE
Member
Username: scooter

Post Number: 5657
Registered: 9-2000
Posted on Monday, Jan 4, 2010 - 7:24 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

When I worked at the boarding barn all horses were kept in at night... weanlings to oldies. The barn usually held a temp around freezing or a little below.

In the morning, they all went out regardless of the temp. which can be quite extreme here. No problems doing it.
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Lori
Member
Username: maggienm

Post Number: 1166
Registered: 6-2004
Posted on Monday, Jan 4, 2010 - 1:11 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

The only potential problem I see is how warm the barn gets.
If the barn is quite tight after the horses come in the air may get quite moist.
Just like after picking the boys up after hockey, you have to turn the defrost on in the pickup. (All that hot air...)

As long as the air isn't too warm and moist I wouldn't worry about temp fluctuation.
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dieliz
Member
Username: dsibley

Post Number: 197
Registered: 11-2005
Posted on Monday, Jan 4, 2010 - 2:17 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

No, as I said before, it is well-ventilated and although it stays warmer than outside, it still gets below freezing when it's this cold out. And there are still some horses inside (not my choice...I lease 1/2 the stalls to a trainer...) so the temp stays up all day as well.
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: dro

Post Number: 24296
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Monday, Jan 4, 2010 - 4:37 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I don't see a problem dieliz from your description but since I don't know the horses watch for signs of too cold as described in the article.
DrO
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dieliz
Member
Username: dsibley

Post Number: 198
Registered: 11-2005
Posted on Monday, Jan 4, 2010 - 6:16 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Thanks, Dr. O! I turned them out today, they all seemed fine. Eating, drinking, playing normally. I checked them at noon, no shivers. I'm just being a worry-wart again!
Thanks for being here for us! And Happy New Year!
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