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Clean Horse Stalls, Paddocks After Flooding

Stalls and paddocks need to be cleaned and disinfected before horses can be housed in them after a flood.

Here are some steps North Dakota State University Extension Service equine specialist Carrie Hammer recommends for making sure stalls and paddocks are safe after a flood:

  • Remove any bedding, feed, manure, debris or mud.
  • Sweep or scrub stall and barn walls and floors and fencing.
  • Use a pressure washer with a strong detergent to wash all surfaces. Some surfaces that are heavily stained may have to be scrubbed by hand.
  • Disinfect the surfaces that floodwaters touched. Phenolic compounds such as Tek Trol or One Stroke Environ are better than chlorine, but chlorine is readily available and one of the most economical disinfectants.

The disinfectant can be used in a sprayer, and it should be sprayed on all surfaces and allowed to dry. Do not rinse off the disinfectant.

Wood that has been submerged in water will absorb a large amount of the water, so drying it could take several weeks. That means any restoration, recovering or repainting of structures such as walls of barns or stalls will have to wait until the wood is dry or mold could develop.

Sanitizing paddocks is very difficult. Here are some steps to clean paddocks that were flooded:

  • Remove feces from dirt paddocks.
  • Drag paddocks during dry times to help dry manure.
  • Reseed bare spots.
  • Prevent overgrazing to reduce the potential spread of equine pathogens.
  • Check the soil pH (acidity or alkalinity) and add lime if necessary. If the pH is too low, lime will improve the pasture’s fertility and help reduce pathogenic organisms.

Also scrub, disinfect and dry buckets and portable feeding or drinking devices. But unlike stall walls and floors, anything from which a horse will eat or drink should be rinsed after the disinfectant has dried.

For more information, visit www.ag.ndsu.edu/flood or www.extension.org/Floods.

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