Storing food and bedding should give protection from weather and be efficient to access for use. These things are accessed daily and have turnover consistently. They also create a lot of dust and dirt, so this access should be limited to specific times and be isolated from the horse living areas or where people are working throughout the day.
Outside storage separates the horses and people from the dirty environment feed and bedding make. However, the tradeoff is exposure to weather when transferring materials to the barn. If food is stored within the barn, access to it should be secured from any loose horse. While I oppose feeding grain to any horse (see nutrition), there are still reports of a horse getting into the feed room and engorging on an open bag of grain. The result of this can be life-threatening colic or laminitis.
Whether food and bedding are stored inside or outside the barn, there needs to be the protection of the materials from animals that will eat it, nest in it and contaminate it with their waste. Metal containers work well for individual items (soybean meal), but bags placed on the ground will soon have holes created by hungry rodents. Another thing to consider is the floor of the storage area. Moisture will seep into any food and bedding, making it useless. Concrete that remains dry is suitable, especially for unbaked materials, but I have also seen wooden pallets used on all flooring to keep bagged and baled items off the ground. When pallets are used, remember the air space created by the pallet structure can become blocked with debris. This blocks airflow and is also a significant nesting place for rodents. Periodic cleaning is essential.
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