Ok so we are moving to GA and it looks like we've found a house with a barn and two stalls. My gelding is on a recoup so while I'm sure I will board him again when we are ready to compete I'm going to keep him at home till then. I've always boarded never kept a horse at home. I've worked at many many barns but they were all big operations so I'm sorta not used to the scale of one or two horses. For now I'll get a goat to keep him company but the plan is to get the kids a pony for a companion.
Here's the stats:
We will have 5 acres, 3 of which are fenced for the horses. My understanding is that there is currently grass since the drought is over. There is a small two stall barn and room for tack and maybe 50 bales of hay. There is nowhere to dispose of poop, though I can make a compost area I'm pretty sure we won't have a big enough garden for all that poo.
I have all the normal horse stuff but I'll need manure buckets and pitch forks. Is there something I'm not thinking of that I'll need to purchase? Will 2 horses go through a round bale fast enough? If so is it feasible to have round bales with no tractor?
I'm not used to poisonous snakes, so what if anything do I do about that in the area? I plan to use fly predators to keep the fly population down and keep chickens to help with ticks and whatnot.
Geez this is scary as I think about everything I need to do to make sure it all goes ok. If this is an utter failure, the house is well below our budget so boarding is not going to be a problem.
Anything I'm not thinking of (finding a vet and farrier are on the list)?
For your barn I'd say plenty of hoses, buckets, a trough for outside, scrubbers for the buckets, and wheelbarrows pitchforks shovels, grain bins (with lids!!), something to write down what the horses eat in case someone else needs to do it, somewhere to store bedding... of course first aid kit, wraps, etc.
Check the water before you bring horses, too, for any serious impurities. I would also check fencing and make any necessary repairs... Maybe close off half the field so that you can rotate where they are turned out and help keep the grass growing. I would also get grazing muzzles if your horses are going on grass but aren't used to it. As for the roundbales, two horses may take a little long to eat one down but maybe see about getting it covered so it's not spoiled in the rain. Also, they are friggen heavy. I'd say a tractor is fairly necessary, if not a very mobile truck.
As for the poop, maybe talk to local waste management or other farmers who may want to take it away from you. It's going to build up faster than you think, unfortunately.
Good luck!! Get in touch with vets, farriers, and tack shops for local connections. If you've worked in barns though you should do just fine! I think I hit the big stuff but I mean there's always more!
I use round bales almost exclusively and don't own a tractor. If the weather will be clear for a week of more, I put it out for the horses to chow on. (I have 4 horses who tend to stay in a sacrifice area a lot.) If not, I simply roll it off my truck and into my hay shed to keep it dry and then peel off what I need and put in slow-feed haynets. Yes, it's a bit more time consuming than square bales, but it's actually more economical than squares. Also, keep in mind that if they have access to grass, they will always prefer that over hay, so I'd be very hesitant to put a whole round bale out right now.
I second the partitioning off your pasture and rotating. Or, if part of your acreage is wooded, you could fence it in (if not already) and use that as your sacrifice area/drylot for when you need to rest your pasture.
As for poisonous snakes, depending on where in the state you'll be located, the most common are cottonmouths (also called water moccasins) and copperheads. Do a Google image search to familiarize yourself with what they look like. There's not much you can do to prevent them, other than being cautious. The cottonmouths tend to be near water-- ponds, streams, etc. To me, the thing you need to be most wary of is oppossums. If their urine or feces contaminates your hay or the horse's drinking water, they can transmit EPM. Good luck!
If you are going to free choice feed your roundbales, I highly recommend a net for them. There are several different sources now but check them out and buy one! There is ZERO waste of my round bales using a net. I would also suggest you keep your round under roof if possible, that adds to the zero waste, the bottom won't get gross. If your horse has shoes, you will need to put it in a feeder of some sort to keep his hooves from getting caught in it. My two horses go thru a round in about 2 weeks and I've never once had one go bad. We don't have a tractor either, hubby picks it up in his truck, we flip it off to the ground, put the net on it and then flip it twice more to right where we want it (so the knot tied closing the net is on the bottom). He can do it by himself and has on many occasions. Get yourself some barn cats, they will keep down the mouse population which will keep down the snake population. Chickens can help with that too. If you keep your horses out alot, 2 horses on 3 acres, your poop pile really won't be that big...what you have of it, you can put on Craigslist and people will come get it.
I would also divide your pasture and suggest you spend some money on a good mower with big deck (if you don't already have one). I would work on getting more hay storage lined up (than 50 bales). Can't think of anything else that hasn't been said by someone.
All great thoughts! Thanks so much I knew this place wouldn't let me down. I feed southern states and have no problem getting that, currently my gelding is on a dry lot so has had zero access to grass other than hand grazing. We're renting the facility without every actually seeing it . . . I know I know but being military sometimes we just do what we have to we move there on July 15th so I'll post pics then.
Currently my barn feeds off of round bales so even if I don't put them out in the paddock, I can as someone mentioned up thread, just peel off and feed as needed. I think making the paddock partitioned is a great idea, and I'm hoping that electric tape stuff would work as I can't make any permanent changes to the facility.
There is another out building but I don't think it will offer much in the way of hay storage as it's where we'll need to keep a lawn tractor (which we'll need to get as well!). I will say from the pics (I'd share but they give the address and I'd rather not do that) it looks like there are a lot of trees and not a huge grass area, yet another reason to partition. All great thoughts. I'll have about 7 days from when I move in to get it set up before my gelding arrives from up north.
Guinea hens are much better to keep the tick population down. They will roam accross a few acres and keep your field clean while hens will stay closer to their roost area. I would recommend getting both so you have fresh eggs and the guineas can help with ticks. When I boarded at a barn with a flock of guinea hens I never saw a single tick on my horse and they are really funny birds to watch.
That's a great idea I know guineas can roost as well so you tend to lose less to predation. I've always wanted chickens, so I'm probably just as excited about the chickens as I am having my guy at home. My understanding wiht the guineas is you really ahve to get them as chicks so they know to stay close and that they have a high mortality rate at that age too.