Photo: Alexandra Beckstett, The Horse Managing Editor

Other equids aren't the only animals that can transmit disease to our horses: Birds, bugs, and other creatures can also carry diseases that can affect horses. What’s one way to reduce the number of animals in our barns? Careful feed and hay storage.

Biosecurity Risk: Scavenging vermin, birds, and other animals have the potential to transmit disease through contact with uncovered hay and open feed bags.

Depending on how your horse's feed is stored, the biosecurity risk can range from minor to major, or be somewhere in between:

  • High Biosecurity Risk—Feed, hay, and manure-handling equipment are stored together and uncovered in a barn aisle way.
  • Medium Biosecurity Risk—Open feed backs, uncovered hay, and dirty manure-handling tools are kept in a storage stall, with some space between each.
  • Minimal Biosecurity Risk—Hay is covered, feed is stored in sealed containers, and manure-handling tools are kept clean and disinfected, all contained in a secure storage stall or room.

Biosecurity Fix: When you travel, designate a stall in which to store covered feed containers and pallets of covered hay, and keep stall-cleaning tools clean and disinfected.

And as always, remember to provide a safe and healthy environment for your horse by practicing good biosecurity at your farm and while traveling. 

Information provided by the California Department of Food and Agriculture Biosecurity Toolkit for Equine Events