Barn Hygiene and Cleaning Tips

Barns can be home to many different types of animals but regardless of what lives in your barn, it is important to keep it clean and hygienic. If a barn is not kept clean, bacteria and viruses can be spread, resulting in sick animals. There are many disease agents that can live in barns for a considerable amount of time, making regular cleaning of the utmost importance. The following tips are helpful for practicing good barn hygiene and keeping your animals healthy.

Personal Hygiene

Personal hygiene as a means of preventing the spread of diseases in barns is often overlooked. Personal hygiene is an important way to prevent the spread of diseases. For instance, in the poultry industry, employees are required to "shower in and shower out" before entering and upon leaving the facility. On horse farms, however, people commonly go from barn to barn without much concern for the spread of disease. If possible, it is a good idea to dedicate clothing and boots for use on only one farm.

Washing Hands

All barns and/or farms should have hand washing facilities located around the area to encourage hands to be washed frequently. Research has shown that in other industries, when access to hand washing facilities is increased, the compliance of rules regarding hand washing also increased. In barns, antiseptic soaps or Betadine scrub should be available at all sinks. You can also place disinfectant outside of each stall to allow handlers to disinfect their hands before working with another horse. Hand washing is also important for prevent chemical contamination when working with medicines. Many products that come into contact with bare skin should be washed off immediately.

Cleaning the Barn and Stalls

The number one way to control the spread of disease is by cleaning. Cleaning means getting rid of dirt, manure, and old feed. Following removal of these things, the barn should be scrubbed and rinsed with detergent and hot water. Once rinsed, a disinfectant should be used but be sure to follow the directions on the label. Thorough cleaning is necessary for removing contamination and allowing disinfectants to penetrate surfaces. Thorough cleaning can be difficult in barns due to dirt floors, wooden walls, and a lack of drains. If you are ever building or buying a new horse barn, considering these factors could make cleaning much easier in the future. There are several types of disinfectants that can be used in barns so you should do some research to determine what is best for your needs as not all cleaners will kill all types of bacteria. If any animals in your barn become sick, they should be removed to an isolation area until they are treated and the barn should be thoroughly cleaned. It may be necessary to seek the service of a veterinarian to ensure that infected animals are properly treated.

For additional tips and information on cleaning and barn hygiene, visit the following pages.