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Spring 2010

A Better Way to Clean Poultry Barns

New M-Series loader improves working conditions for operator

Randy Rape

A dependable M-Series loader helps owner Randy Rape keep up with his chicken house cleaning projects.

Randy Rape has been cleaning poultry barns around Waxhaw, N.C., for 18 years, a job he very much likes doing even though he calls the work "dusty, dirty, smelly and nasty." Recently, however, it became easier and more pleasant thanks to his new M-Series S630 skid-steer loader.

"It's the best machine that I've ever owned," he says, which is quite a compliment because his six other Bobcat® loaders have all been reliable and durable. "The S630 is in a class by itself."

He has been raising chickens since the late 1980s. When the person who was cleaning his barns could not do it any longer, Randy purchased a Bobcat 853 skid-steer loader to do it himself. Others noticed his ability to quickly maneuver his loader around a barn and do a thorough cleaning job. Before long Rape had built up quite a clientele of poultry producers who needed help cleaning barns.

Today he has two grower houses and one layer house. He raises 175,000 chickens (five flocks) annually for Tyson Foods and another 11,000 layers (one flock stays the entire year).

"Managing my own farm keeps me plenty busy," says Randy, who is helped by sons Cory and Travis. "Good equipment, such as our two skid-steer loaders, enables us to keep up and still find time to work for 30 to 40 other poultry producers in the Charlotte area, including some in South Carolina."

He owns an S630, S220, tiller, pallet fork and sweeper attachments, along with four buckets. The equipment was purchased from Bobcat of Monroe. "Bobcat is the only brand I've ever used," he says. "My Bobcat machines have always done a good job, and over the years they just keep getting better and better. With the new M-Series loaders, Bobcat has moved even farther ahead of the competition, especially when it comes to the cab."

Cleaning poultry houses puts the operator and loader in a very difficult work environment. "The cab of the S630 is ideal for this application," he says. Among the reasons he cites:

  • Superior cab pressure. "It's a real tight fit; dust and dirt do not get in, which, in this business, is a major factor."
  • Substantially quieter. "One of the first things I noticed was the quiet cab; it's very apparent, and welcome."
  • More comfort. "Working all day in a more spacious cab is great. It's the most comfortable loader that I've ever operated. Getting in and out is easier, too. And the air conditioning is on a different level — I've never had a machine that cooled like this one."
  • Better visibility. "I work in confined spaces and I want to move around quickly, so visibility is very important. The cab-forward design of the S630 allows me to monitor my attachments much better."

Visit the M-Series page to read more about the new M-Series loaders, see pictures and find product specifications. Check out the 360-degree view from inside the new loader cab, too.