Thursday, July 12, 2012

Replacing the Barn Cleaner Chain...

Ok, you're thinking...this sounds really, really boring.'s what we're doing, so it's what you get to read about!  :)

It's a dirty job, and it needs to be done out the gutters full of manure with the barn cleaner.

The barn cleaner chain runs in a loop through each side of the barn.  It runs clockwise on this side of the barn...down the first row behind the cows, up the elevator where the manure gets scraped off into the manure spreader...back down the elevator, behind the cows in the second row and across the back of the barn, completing the loop.

As you can see, some of the paddles are either broken, bent or missing...

What you can't see, is how thin the chain links have become over time.  Manure is hard on anything!  This particular chain was replaced within the last ten years.  It was already used when we got it, but still had a lot of life left in it.  By now it was in pretty bad condition...the chain links were worn thin and would either break or slip off the sprocket at the top of the elevator.   Of course it would usually happen on a Sunday morning.

About a month ago, we carefully measured and ordered 148' of new barn cleaner chain.  Yesterday, Jim went to the manufacturer and picked it up.  It came in these two large, very heavy boxes...

Hmmm...I wonder how long it will stay this clean?  Look at how thick those chain links are, and how straight the paddles are...

Here Jim is working at removing the old chain.  You can see the new chain coming up the far side of the elevator...

 The new chain is now in place, but needs to be tightened and tested.  It can't be twisted, and needs to run smoothly through the gutters.  That's the old chain laying in a heap...

The paddles on this new chain are closer together than on the old chain, which will make it easier to clean out gutters, especially after a rain or when the gutters are particularly full.

Ready to go...

This is Harold, the man who has for years taken care of barn cleaner issues for Jim and before him, Jim's Dad.  He was here today to help...

Yes, it's definitely a job where you're gonna get your hands dirty!


  1. Always work to be done!
    Saw Alice yesterday at the hospital, another nurse retiring [ no not me ].
    Alice looks great, retirement suits her. We are off to the mountains today, hope no fires, rock slides,etc. this week end. Just some slow fun fly fishing.

  2. Wish I had one of those for my entire barn!

  3. It's a barn reality, so I'm glad you posted it. It actually reminded me of a time when I was a kid and we visited the farm where my dad was allowed to hunt. We'd run off with the farmer's children and try to find the kittens. One time I went into the cow barn chasing a kitty and went up an inclined ramp thing where he was running to hide. Unbeknownst to me, I was climbing up a nice and dirty manure chute. Boy did my sisters think that was funny. I didn't care, I just wanted to cuddle that kitten!

  4. Man, that makes me tired. Always something to do for sure.

  5. When there is one of those kind of jobs around, I am always glad I am a girl. :) What a hard dirty job. I have seen those gutters but I never ever once thought about having to replace the chain or anything.I really enjoyed reading about this. There are so many interesting things to learn in life.

  6. Ok, I actually enjoyed reading about that because I never knew of such a thing! I'm sure to you it's just another day at the to me, I am learning about thanks! you ever get used to the smell?? Once in a while we will go out to the local dairy farm and buy milk and take a walk through the barn. In the summer I get only about half way before I think I cannot take it another second and I have to run or gag!! hahahaha!! So funny. For some reason it doesn't bother my hubby or my kids..what's wrong with me? haha. Actually I can take it a lot better than the smell of pig manure...oh boy, that I cannot even smell for one second. My best friend raises pigs and she laughs at me every time I go over there and try to get a look at the pigs. It's pretty funny!

  7. That's great! New, working machinery is always a plus!

  8. Whew, I'm just glad you HAVE such a gadget and do not have to push-broom it out every night!

  9. Dang, Alica, I really do enjoy learning all this stuff! Kudos to Harold for keeping things mooo-ving all these years! :)

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