No, we’re not talking about chicken coops on wheels that you roll around your yard. We’re a tractor company, so we’re talking tractor. I don’t know why those things are called chicken tractors, it seems like they’d call them roller coops or something.
We’re eating more chicken than ever, and commercial chicken farms are big business here in Georgia. Poultry accounts for more than half of Georgia’s total agricultural products and the poultry industry adds more than $18.4 billion in revenue to the state economy!
Georgia supplies more than 9 million eggs and 7 billion pounds of chicken for U.S. consumption. More than 100,000 Georgia residents are employed by the poultry industry.
If you’ve got a commercial chicken farm, you might not need a chicken coop on wheels, but you most certainly need a tractor and some attachments. Much of your job consists of cleaning poultry litter, laying out bedding, blowing debris, and scraping floors clean.
For most jobs inside your poultry barn, you’ll need a low profile, high horsepower utility tractor that can be fitted with a variety of attachments to get the job done.
The biggest challenge: Keeping the floor clean
In some modern chicken farm operations, the chickens are confined inside a building, but not kept in cages. That means a lot of floor space, most of it swarming with chickens. Typically, the floor is covered with some sort of bedding or litter, like straw or sawdust. It’s a real challenge to keep chicken bedding clean and fresh, but it must be done.
Contamination is a common threat to chicken operations and avoiding it is a job chicken farmers take very seriously. A powerful utility tractor with the right attachments to remove soiled bedding materials and spread it in the field makes short work of a dirty job. Your best bet for equipment is something like a John Deere 5085E or Kubota M7060 with low profile tires, foldable ROPS, and a KMC poultry house cleaner.
The poultry house cleaner, or caking machine, is a heavy attachment that performs several jobs. It will do a partial clean out leaving a couple inches of shavings on the floor or a total clean out leaving a clean floor with no shavings. You can go straight from the chicken house to the field and spread the litter….no unloading and reloading into a spreader truck.
To make sure the chicken house is sanitary, you can hook up a pressure washer and wash down the area. Once it’s all clean and dry, you can fit your tractor with a spreader and lay out a new layer of bedding, fresh, clean, and ready for the next batch of chicks to arrive in a lot less time than it takes to do all that work by hand.
Utility Tractor VS Skid Steer Loader
Skid steer loaders are another popular choice for chicken farms, but there are some drawbacks. While they are designed specifically to pick up loads, and they have wonderful maneuvering capabilities and a compact design, they don’t offer the same huge variety of attachments and versatility as a utility tractor.
With a utility tractor, you’ll have the power and function you need inside the chicken barn – and out. With only one machine, you’ll be able to plant fields, feed livestock, bale hay, dig holes for fencing, and do the million other jobs necessary on any working farm.
Keeping your chicken farm healthy and clean may seem like a daunting task, but it’s certainly worth it. Chicken is, after all, America’s favorite food.