Most companion animals cohabit with horses well on a horse farm. Animals like dogs, cats, goats and chickens can live with horses, provided their owner knows how to care for them and spot potential problems before they happen. There are some animals like you don’t want living with your horse. Here’s a look at unwanted stable mates that can move in and cause trouble.

1.  Opossums

Opossums are becoming more widespread. They are quite happy to move into a horse barn and make their nests in a hay loft. They will defecate on the hay. If they are carrying the protozoa responsible for EPM, eating this hay will be a danger to your horse. Raccoons may also be responsible for the spread of harmful protozoa.

2.  Rodents

Rats and mice can make a real mess in a stable. They steal and soil food. They can chew the cover on electrical wiring, creating a fire hazard. They will chew things like leg wraps and blankets to make soft beds in their nests. And they can carry diseases. They’re also the hardest critters to keep out of a stable.

Keep your feed in rodent proof containers. Hang up blankets and pack up other equipment like saddles and turnout blankets in mothballs which will repel the rodents.

3.  Insects

Horse flies, mosquitoes, heel flies, cow flies and just about any other bug, six or eight legged are not welcome in a stable. Many flying insects carry diseases like WNV, Spider webs should be knocked down regularly, because they are a fire hazard.  Learn how to repel flies and spiders in your stable.

4.  Pigeons

Whether you call them pigeons or rock doves, these birds are not a welcome resident of any barn. Their soft cooing sound may be soothing, but their perching habits in the rafters of barns above hay lofts guarantees you’ll have soiled hay. It’s amazing how quickly bird poop can build up once a few pigeons move in. Once hay is soiled with pigeon poop, it won’t be good to feed to your horse. Pigeon poop soiled food can carry salmonella and other harmful protozoa. Starlings too, shouldn’t be welcomed in your stable either. These birds may carry WNV. Pigeons do not cause pigeon fever in horses.

Dissuade birds from taking up residence in your stable by making sure that high doors and windows are kept closed or draped so that birds can’t fly in. Many people hang a plastic owl to scare birds. Move it around so the birds don’t get used to looking at it.

5.  Feral Cats and Dogs

Many stable owners have had a feral cat that showed up out of nowhere and moved in permanently. Many of us are comfortable with this. But you do want to make sure that the cat is healthy, and preferably fixed so it doesn’t make more potentially unwanted kittens. Cats can carry rabies, so be sure to have it vaccinated. Stray dogs around the barn can carry diseases like rabies, that could harm all of your companions including you and your horse. They can also be predatory, especially with young foals and small ponies.

Make your stable environment less attractive to stray pets by blocking off access to buildings where possible and keeping food sources out of reach. Report stray animals.

6.  Rabbits

Rabbits and other tunneling critters not only steal food, and leave behind feces, they can make a mess of your stable floors. Don’t let domestic rabbits run loose so that they can burrow and cause your stable floors to collapse in spots. And, discourage wild rabbits from moving in by keeping food sources out of reach. Rabbits are pretty innocuous, except for their burrowing habits, but they may also attract larger predators like coyotes, and you don’t want them close to your stables either. They may not bother a horse, but they could harm your other companions like small dogs and cats or if they’re really bold, goats, sheep, foals or ponies.

About the author: Daniel T Anderson, a writer at the essay help service. He keeps up with advancing technologies so as to get acquainted with latest technological tendencies. Besides, Daniel is keen on reading modern literature and traveling.

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