DIY: Grain Storage Freezer
I’ve been using a large chest freezer to store grain for as long as I can remember. It works very well for keeping feed dry and fresh, as well as keeping rodents out. I also have an extra security snap on the outside in case a horse breaks into the feed room to prevent them from acccessing the grain. I used to keep feed in its bag or in a trash can inside of the freezer. A couple years ago I had the idea of adding dividers so there would be bins of loose feed and I could store even more in it.
The center bin holds 250 lb of loose grain. It could also store loose grain in both sides.
To add dividers, measure and cut squares of plywood to fit. Cut small strips of wood (ask for furring strips at the lumber yard) to the height of the dividers. Glue and screw these vertically into the interior walls of the freezer. Then slide the plywood into place and glue and screw it onto the furring strips to secure. You can also caulk the seams, which will keep small bits of grain from getting stuck in the cracks.
To ensure fresh feed, I completely empty a bin before adding new feed. I keep a mini dustpan handy to clean up between refills.
It is still useful for storing feed in bags if I’m using several different kinds of feeds. Currently there are 3 types in the center bin, flax seeds and oats in the bin on the right, and I store premixed buckets for feedings in the bin on the left. Beet pulp and alfalfa cubes/pellets are stored in separate containers since they don’t seem to be as appealing to rodents and insects. You can label the feeds by writing on the interior wall with dry erase marker.
On another note, premixing individual meals is a real time saver, especially if you mix grains or add supplements. I keep 6 small dollar store buckets for each horse, color coded with duct tape around the top. Every 3 days, I line up the buckets and do assembly line style meal mixing. I tend to micromanage nutrition, so combining several ingredients at each feed time twice a day would be time consuming and annoying for both myself and the eagerly waiting horses. This also makes it easy for my husband or farm sitter to feed for me if I am working late or out of town.
When traveling with horses I still premix meals, but I store them in individual ziploc bags. I bring at least one more meal than I expect to need, in case there is a delay in returning home. At endurance rides, I bring extra bags of various feeds separately in case my horse gets picky about what she will eat. (not likely with my piggy mares, but just in case…)