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Safe Barn heater?????

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#1 misty'smom


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Posted 08 August 2013 - 07:51 PM

I am  in the process of getting electric in my barn. The electrician was here and did all the wiring and put in lights, plugs, ceiling fan and outdoor lighting. He mentioned I might want a heat source which he is looking into for a safe option for a barn. Our first winter last year was a very cold one here in Va. My 2 minis were under a year old but did really well and had nice furry coats!! I would like a heater just to keep it above freezing so it is not so bitter cold.


Do any of you have heat in your barns? What would be a good safe heat?? I do store my hay on one side of my barn so no heater maybe safe enough?????? Please give me any advice or experiences you may have with heating your barns!

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#2 chandab


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Posted 08 August 2013 - 09:35 PM

Barns really don't need heat, healthy adult horses do just fine with out added heat in their barns.   I'd say the only exception for heat in barns would be those with early foals and debilitated horses.      Heat in barns is usually for the comfort of the people in the barns, not the horses; most horses are most comfortable in the 40-60 degree range and do quite well below those temps.  

My horses are outside with access to shelter 24/7 year round, including our deep freeze winters with temps well below zero.  They do quite well in the cold temps.

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#3 MountainWoman


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Posted 09 August 2013 - 05:25 AM

No heated barns here and not in my boarding barn either and we can get to 20 below at night.  Our highs are usually around 10 in the winter.  When the barn doors and windows are shut, it's nice and cozy in there from the body heat generated by the horses.  I do have a heated tack room though but that's for me.  The horses do fine even in the bitter cold.  I use blankets as needed but they develop very thick coats.  I think they enjoy the cold more than summer heat and bugs.  And I free feed hay in the bitter cold to help them generate body heat.  

#4 bevann


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Posted 09 August 2013 - 09:30 AM

If you think you must have something I would suggest a Kal-Glo heater or something similar over each stall.The horses can stand under it if needed but most horses don't need heat unless sick or stressed from something,.I have used mine for very early foals.If you do install them just be sure it is placed so horses can get away from it.They are plugged in as needed.

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#5 drmatthewtaylor


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Posted 09 August 2013 - 09:46 AM

I would discourage heating a barn. In fact, I recommend a thermometer both in/outside of the barn so both temperatures are known. The difference should not exceed 5' and should be no where near 10'. That means water buckets should freeze on 20' days.


Temperature differences >5' spread respiratory disease.


If the barn needs to be heated for 'your' comfort, then I would recommend using a radiant heater in a tack stall or office room so you could go in to warm up.


Dr. Taylor

#6 Genie


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Posted 09 August 2013 - 10:00 AM

I agree with Dr.Taylor. 


I hate the frozen pails and the freezing hands up here in the frozen north but  our horses always winter well. 

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#7 Riverrose28


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Posted 09 August 2013 - 11:36 AM

I have to agree with everyone else, I live in MD just across the river from Quantico, VA., and my weather is comparable to yours. You won't need a heater in your barn, it will only cause problems. Horses need ventalation for their respiratory system and their hooves. The cold wont' bother them at all, besides having all that undercoat and fluff the blood vessels at the skin dialate to help warm the skin, and their long face helps to warm the air they breath. If you must have a warm place for yourself, get a small ceramic heater for your tack room, I have one, but would you believe I've never used it. Be very careful in the winter with anything that heats, people a couple of miles from me had a barn fire from a heat lamp, and another person in the next county had a barn fire from a bucket heater. My fellow trail rider friends just around the corner lost their barn and tractor when he pulled it into the barn because it was getting ready to snow, and a small piece of hay ignited on the hot muffler.

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#8 amysue


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Posted 09 August 2013 - 02:10 PM

Horses do much better in the cold than the heat. If you worry about cold ponies, blanket them. If you have foals early in the year, you can securely hang a heat lamp (like the ones they hang over baby chicks) to provide safe heat.  Hang it from the ceiling and raise it high enough that the animals cannot touch it or knock it over.  Oil filled electric radiators in a tack room are a safe choice as long as they are regularly dusted and kept clear from flammable materials. I work with many people who keep a tack or wash room heated so ensure running water is always available. As for freezing water buckets, I like insulated buckets better than heated ones, as they are free to operate and pose no risk of fire. Smartpak sells bucket cozies at a reasonable price.

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#9 Miniv


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Posted 09 August 2013 - 03:10 PM

I agree with not heating the barn and Dr. Taylor explained it well.

The only place I'd consider heating is for foaling stall(s) which can also be used if and when you have a seriously ill horse. A Kal Glo heater is spendy but awesome for those kind of needs.

We use heat lamps, but there is a safety risk with them.
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#10 misty'smom


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Posted 09 August 2013 - 06:10 PM

Thanks for all the great advice! I wil not heat my barn, it kind of made me nervous anyway barn fires scare me! If the cold is better for the horses than that is the way I will go! I certainly do not mind the cold, I'd rather it be cold than hot!!

Amysue, I think I will look into those insulated buckets! Maybe our Tractor Supply or Co-Op will have them!!

Thank you again everyone for the advice and experience!!