The best, most convenient feed rooms are organized, accessible, and easy to keep clean. That’s important enough if you only have one or two horses, but once the numbers start increasing, these elements become imperative. Here are nine features–major and minor–that can make your feed room a safer and healthier place for you and your horses.

1. A sealed, clean concrete floor “Pests can come through a wood or dirt floor,” says Scott Tarter, owner and manager of Twin Lakes Farm in Bronxville, N.Y. “Plus, you can powerwash and clean concrete.” An added feature, he says, is to install a drain in your floor.

2. Parasite proof Plug all holes and cracks and cover windows and vents with screening to keep out rodents and bugs. Some people employ barn cats to take care of crawly critters, but beware that cat food stored in the feed room attracts rodents, warns Christine Skelly, PhD, associate professor of adult equine extension programs at Michigan State University.

3. Reduce the humidity In areas with stretches of high humidity, vent your feed room to prevent feed from getting moldy, Tarter recommends. “Ours has a screened vent ridge along the side. Fresh air flows in and out, but not flying pests,” he adds.

4. Practical feed storage What works best partly depends on the type of feed used, weather conditions, how secure the feed room is from rodents, and personal preference.

“Metal containers are best,” says Skelly. “Wood can be eaten through by rodents, as can plastic and rubber containers.” Because metal can condensate during hot, humid conditions, feed should be used up and replaced within two or three weeks.

“I disagree with the choice of metal containers,” Tarter says. “I believe that commercial grade plastic is the best container type as it can be cleaned and san