How to Keep a Barn Warm in Winter

Warm Barn in Winter

Winter can be miserable for people who live on a farm. There are days when the barn is unbearably cold. If you need to be in the barn working for periods of time throughout the day, you will need to find ways to keep it warm. Take a look at the following ways to keep a barn warm in the winter.

1. Keep the Doors Closed

This one may be obvious, but you will want to close the doors that lead outside. Sealing the barn will actually keep it quite a bit warmer, and the wind won’t come whipping down the aisle. 

2. Keep Horses in Stalls Next to Each Other

If you keep your horses close together, their body heat will increase and warm the barn up. Don’t spread your horses out in the barn; having them close to each other will really help a lot.

Horses in Barn Together

3. Fill Your Hayloft with Hay

If you don’t have a hayloft, this won’t work, but many barns do have a hayloft. Get an order of hay before it gets really cold, and the hay in the loft will help insulate your barn and keep it warm.

4. ​Use Barn-Safe Heaters

​You can always use heaters that are designed to be ​used in ​a ​barn or stall to get some heat in. You can invest in a couple of them and have them installed or attached. There are also portable ​free-standing options that can be used that are generally cheaper, but won't put out as much heat and are only really designed to ​supplement another heat source in the barn.

Barn Roof Heater

Just make sure any heater you do use is barn-safe, and if you do intend on leaving it on unattended, make sure it has a cut-off feature incase the heater gets too hot. Remember any heater left unattended can always pose a threat, so be sure to give it regular checks if possible.​

​5. Insulation

Before winter arrives, check your insulation in the barn. If you are lacking insulation, have it installed. It is amazing how much warmer the barn will be with insulation installed. 

​6. Add End Doors before Winter

If your barn is open on the ends and has no doors, you should invest in end doors before winter comes. Closing up the barn will keep it much warmer than when it is open in the winter. You will not regret this investment.

Barn Doors

​7. Wear Extra Layers

When you go to the barn to do your chores, you should dress in layers. You can easily remove them as you warm up, but you need to stay warm. For very cold days, you can get hand and foot warmers to keep yourself from getting too cold.

Steps to Winterize Your Barn before Winter Comes

All of the methods mentioned above will help to warm up your barn in winter, but the best thing you can do is winterize your barn before winter comes. Not only is this a good idea for comfort reasons, but it is important for the health of your horses and other livestock as well. 

Check Your Barn for Drafts

The way to prevent cold drafts from blowing through your barn in the winter is to find them before the winter comes and fix them. Make sure that there aren’t any places where wind can get in. That being said, you should leave areas where air can circulate. You need to have ventilation in the barn, even in the winter.

Winter Barn Check

Make sure that all of the doors and windows can be closed. If you have broken door latches, now is the time to fix them. Clean out the door tracks and window sills so you can close them when the first frigid night comes. You should also clean out cobwebs, as they become a fire hazard if they extend over lights. 

Finally, make sure that you replace light bulbs that need replacing, and store flashlights in the barn in case of a power outage. Make sure that you have fresh batteries so that your flashlights are ready for use in an emergency.

Make Sure That Your Water System Is Winter Proof

If you live in a climate that reaches freezing temperatures, odds are that you have water tanks and bucket heaters on hand. If not, you might want to invest in some. Make sure that you insulate hose-pipes so they don’t freeze, and have a few rubber balls on hand to float in the horses’ water buckets. You may also want to get a generator just in case a big storm knocks the power out.

Have Blankets Available for Horses

If it is really cold, you may need to blanket your horses. If you have blankets, clean them ahead of time and label which ones go with which animal. You can hang blanket racks on each stall so you can easily access the blankets when the temperature suddenly goes down.

Check Your Roof

Barn Damaged in Winter Winds

You should check your roof before winter hits to make sure it is in good shape. If there are shingles missing, you need to replace them before winter comes. The roof protects the barn from the outside elements, and it needs to be in good working order. Clean out the gutters and make sure that you close any roof vents that are unnecessary for ventilation in the winter.

Final Thoughts

A barn can get very cold quickly in the winter, but you still need to spend time in it caring for the animals and doing your chores. The most important thing you can do is take the time before winter comes to make sure that your barn is ready. Making repairs ahead of time will help keep the barn warm when you need it. You can add extra insulation at this time.

In addition, stock up on supplies, including hay.  If you have a hayloft, it is a great time to fill it, as the hay will provide extra insulation and warmth. Make sure that you have doors on the ends of the barn and that you can close them. This will keep the barn a lot warmer.

  • Updated February 18, 2020