It's not too early to start thinking about laying in your winter supply of hay. When you own a barn full of horses, hay deliveries are an essential (and often constant) part of life.
While some hay farms or feed store will deliver hay directly to you, often it's left up to the barn owner to transport and load their hay. And some stores that do deliver, have certain requirements to make it as easy as possible for them to unload. Here are some tips to make sure that hay deliveries run smoothly.
Position the Barn So the Loft is Accessible
When you’re planning your barn’s layout, make sure that you position the hayloft barn door so that it is easily accessible for trucks. The hayloft door should be installed in a location where large trucks can get up close to the barn. Make sure that you account for a place to store your hay ladder when it’s not in use.
It’s important to also make sure that a hay truck will have enough space to turn around, back up, and park when delivering hay. When you decide on the position of the barn loft, plan on creating a parking lot which is large enough to give the truck access to the barn.
Opt for Generously Sized Hay Loft Doors
The process of delivering hay can be made much easier if you install generously sized hayloft doors. The last thing that you want to have to do is work around doors with a tight clearance, so opt for larger doors than you anticipate needing. The larger opening makes it easier to safely guide the hay ladder into place, and it also allows for multiple people to be in the loft to stack hay as it’s delivered.
NOTE: While storing hay in your barn can equal ease in feeding your horses, hay is highly combustible and should be considered as a fire hazard. Many barns opt for a separate structure something like a run-in shed with an open front for ease in both delivery and moving hay to the barn.
Make Sure the Driveway Has Adequate Drainage
The weather never seems to cooperate when you’re expecting a hay delivery, and if your barn driveway is dirt or gravel, you may find that it is a muddy mess when a hay truck is on the way. When you build your barn, be sure to plan ahead and make sure that your driveway has plenty of drainage. The same goes for your barn’s parking lot. Good driveway maintenance also plays a role and can help ensure that large trucks and trailers don’t get lose access to the property during inclement weather.
Design the Driveway and Access Road for Large Trucks
In addition to providing your driveway with adequate drainage, the very way that you design the driveway can make hay deliveries easier. When planning your driveway or access road, avoid sharp or narrow turns which can be difficult for a large truck to navigate. If the driveway is bordered by trees, then it’s also important to make sure that they are properly trimmed back so that large vehicles may pass safely.
Hay deliveries are a regular part of horse ownership. Planning ahead for hay deliveries when you build your barn can help to make the process easier!
<span style="color:#000000;">Photo credit: Classic Equine, FintaHay</span>