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Mouse-proof grain storage: Just file it!

Dani the Horse checks out her new grain storage solution - file cabinets and baggies - at Poudre River Stables - Fort Collins - Colorado - 80521

I spent weeks trying to find affordable individual grain storage solutions for our stable feed room, which suffered from several problems.

  • We were plagued with spilled grain and other supplements luring mice, which in turn left their disgusting poop “signatures”.
  • Our horse owners loved, almost more than anything else, I think, to tinker with their horse’s grain ration, and constantly changed plans, resulting in confusion.
  • Various buckets of supplements lined our feed room shelves, labeled with faded felt-tip ink horse names, and cryptic feed instructions decorated a dry-erase board above the shelves. It was hard for me to figure out, and find, who got what at feeding time, let alone other people. My gut said horses were not actually getting what was intended.

I knew other stables did this, and I wanted everybody to start providing their own pre-


bagged grain and supplements, but had no affordable storage solution. Then while filing paperwork one day in the office, it hit me: filing cabinets. Why not? Grain is not any heavier than paper. Filing cabinets should handle the load.

We secured the filing cabinets to the wall in order to prevent accidental tipping if somebody left a top drawer full of grain open. We bought five used, four-high, solid backed filing cabinets for $25 each at our university surplus store, mouse-proofed them by putting metal hardware cloth under the open bottoms (about $100), and drilled and screwed the backs of the cabinets into the wall so they didn’t tip over. (We taped over the key locks, but you can also get a locksmith to sell you new filing cabinet keys if you provide the serial number on the lock.)

We used metal hardware mesh underneath the cabinets to keep mice out. For $225, less than the cost of ONE commercially available storage unit I saw, we suddenly had mouse-proof grain storage for 17 horses, plus a few extra drawers for the first aid kit and miscellany. We asked everyone to begin providing their own grain and supplements in labeled, zipper-close plastic bags.

Hello, mouse-proof, affordable grain storage! Hello, neat and tidy feed room! Our affordable horse grain storage solution is working beautifully. Several people have stopped me to say they like the idea; the feed room remains spill-free, mouse-poop free; horse owners can endlessly tinker with concentrates; feeding grain is now a snap. Oh, and budgetary side note: Our boarder grain bill? No longer a concern.

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We turn television time into productive time by filling up a month's worth of zippered feed bags in our living room. (Click on photo to enlarge.)