How can we reduce dust at the barn?
Dust is an inherent part of life outside, and especially at a barn. It is usually just a giant pain in the butt, but it can also become very dangerous for some horses and also your electrical systems in the barn. (Keep those outlets covered!)
You can get dust covers for outlets and switches!
You will likely never win the “war on dust”, but you can manage it quite well. Let’s start in the barn and go from there.
For horses with respiratory issues, dust can be quite dangerous. They often benefit from soaked hay, and perhaps a low dust bedding is best. Options include straw, pellets, and some rice hull brands. If your barn has attached runs to the outside, consider using a similar low dust bedding out there, also. My favorite outside bedding of all time is made from cedar but It’s amazingly dusty. You also have the option of no bedding in the outdoor runs, but without water it’s usually a dust bowl and with water, it’s a mud pit.
Now you can begin to think about the dust in the barn that just “happens”. Manure quickly turns to dust, and without proper stall cleaning this can be a dust storm in the making. (Not to mention the flies and thrush…) You will also get dust from the breeze, and it really prefers to settle just out of your reach. Look for long handled cleaning tools, there is a super awesome neon green attachment that you can find at hardware stores that uses static electricity to attract dust. Keep your fans cleaned at least weekly, so that you are not blowing the dust around. Also get the rafters, stall walls, and barn aisle.
These are some of your dust busting weapons.
Keep your tack rooms and feed room doors closed to keep dust in there to a minimum. Even if you leave the door open all the time accidentally or out of convenience, be sure to close it when you sweep. No reason to clean tack more often than you need to.
Wet the barn aisle (this is a bit of pine cleaner and water) before you sweep.
Your horse is also a source of dust! All that elbow grease makes for a bit of dust in the aisle and air, use a vacuum if you have one! (This also saves your elbows a bit!)
Be aware that the layers of dust in your barn also coat your horse's feed tubs and water buckets. Prioritize what you clean and how often!
Ledges love dust. #super
Outside of the barn, there is not a whole lot you can do to keep dust at bay. Unless you want to build a giant terrarium. (While cool in theory, not sure your neighbors would dig it.) So, if you can, use ground covers. Do your research about what ground covering plants grow well in your area and this will help beautify your farm and minimize bald patches of dusty earth. Mulch or gravel is another option.
Arenas can also be a huge source of dust. Contrary to what you may think, the dust is created by manure and not usually by the actual footing. Remove manure daily (if not more often) and don’t ride through manure piles.
Yes, it’s a pain to manage dust, but think of it as job security!! (A mantra that rings true for stall cleaning, also!!) What are your tips for managing dust at the barn?