Poultry producers clean up with Bobcat loaders
Compact loaders and attachments sustain family farm in Alabama
A high-production poultry facility requires cleaning equipment that can keep up with a demanding schedule while working in a less-than-ideal environment. The owners of Rutherford Boyz Farms, Town Creek, Ala., started their company 14 years ago with Bobcat® skid-steer loaders, and today — more than ever — rely on the same dependable brand.
Brothers Derrick (left) and Darrell (right) Rutherford turn to reliable Bobcat loaders to meet their daily demands.
"We have been very satisfied with our Bobcat machines," says Derrick Rutherford, who operates the business with his brother Darrell. "We've seen all types of loaders and have not come across one that would do a better job than Bobcat."
They started with a 763 loader, owned three more and now operate a pair of S205s, purchased from Loader Services, Huntsville, Ala. That's the largest size of machine that will fit under the feeders, waterers and heaters in the poultry houses.
Rutherford Boyz Farms has a contract with Pilgrim's Pride, the largest chicken company in the United States. "They bring us the just-hatched chicks, we raise them for eight weeks, get them up to 7.5 to 8 pounds, and then the company picks them up," Rutherford says.
The farm consists of 18 chicken houses. Each handles five flocks a year, or about 22,000 birds per house per year.
"Between each flock we have 12 to 14 days to remove the litter, clean the facility and spread new shavings for the next group," Rutherford says. "It's during that period that our loaders are kept busy."
Using buckets, the loaders scrape up litter and deposit it in spreader trucks that wait at the front door of the houses. The trucks spread the manure on the 600 acres of pasture (for 150 Angus brood cows) owned by the Rutherfords. Excess manure is sold to area crop producers.
"The easy accessibility to maintenance items makes servicing the loaders very easy. " — Derrick Rutherford
"With our fast-moving loaders we can clean up to four houses a day," Rutherford says, who does all the work with his brother and one employee.
"Because of the extremely dusty conditions, we do full service every 100 hours, instead of the recommended 250 hours.
"The easy accessibility to maintenance items makes servicing the loaders very easy. We strongly believe in preventive maintenance because a machine breakdown would set back our cleaning schedule. We've had no problems whatsoever with any of our Bobcat loaders. They have been good, reliable machines."
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