Friday, July 11, 2014

Another New Barn Cleaner Chain...

Every so many years, it's necessary to order a new barn cleaner chain.  Time and manure take their toll, and the chain wears thin, slipping off the sprocket at the top of the elevator...usually on a Sunday morning of course!

A few weeks ago Jim ordered a new chain for the west side of the barn. (We replaced the one on the east side of the barn a few years ago)  He picked it up a few days ago. We're between 2nd and 3rd hay cuttings, so it was the perfect time to replace it.  After the cows were milked and fed this morning, the 3rd and 4th rows went out to the meadow for a few hours while Jim and his helpers replaced the chain.

First things first...there's always some discussion that needs to happen before the work starts. Harold has been ordering parts and helping with barn cleaner issues for years, and today he came again to supervise and lend a hand...

There's the new chain!  I asked Harold how much that box of chain probably weighed. He said it weighs 6.5 lbs. per foot, so if the chain is 148 ft long, that's close to 1000 lbs...

The first thing Jim did was to find the link that connected the two ends of the old chain together.  He removed it, and hooked the new chain to the old one...

Eric works away in the mornings, and our neighbor Daniel was helping this morning, so he got the honors of standing on the back of the pickup, keeping tension on the old chain as it came around the sprocket at the top of the elevator.  Harold helped by pulling the new chain out of the box and Jim made sure it was untangled, feeding it through the proper channel and into the barn...

My job was to run the barn cleaner switch.  A few feet at a time, the new chain was pulled around the barn...

...and there you have it...the new barn cleaner chain is in place...

Looking at these pictures will be the only time we see this chain clean, ever again...

They also had to replace the sprocket at the top of the elevator.  You start with the smallest size sprocket, and as the chain wears thin, you replace it with a larger one...

Here's the old chain.  It's moved tons of manure in it's life time!  I think Daniel might need to throw those jeans in the laundry, huh?

So there you have it...this was our project for this hot July day!  All in all, Jim said it went really smoothly. We like when that happens!

Update:  someone asked what we do with the old chain?  There's a place nearby that recycles such things, and Jim took it there this afternoon...hosed off, of course!


  1. you brought back memories of the barn cleaner and manure pile in the back of the dairy barn on the farm where i spent my first 13 yrs. :) and then the spreading of said pile every spring as the snow melted from the fields - straight into our well. UGH! :)

  2. My uncle was the barn cleaner on his dairy farm LOL. I can't believe all the hard work you do!

  3. Your new chains looks so nice and clean and like you said, the cow have some other idea of how they like to change the brightness of those links. A great job done.

    Unfortunately our old barn doesn't have a barn cleaner and have to use a skidsteer to clean the manure which is pumped in a huge 15 feet deep concrete lagoon to keep the smell down.

    Thanks for the pictures.

  4. gosh it seems like you just did that? What a mess job but I think using a shovel would be so much harder.
    I wondered what you did with the old chain too. That is very interesting. I am glad you took pictures.

  5. Not something I have ever had to help with! Interesting to me!

  6. Oh wow I bet that was not cheap:) Sure is pretty for now. Great post you are such a good teacher:) Hug B

  7. Good post! All my dairy experience as a youth was with outside housing and a milking parlor so this is all interesting.

  8. Glad you got it replaced. I am so jealous. I still haven't gotten my hay baled. We're just so wet this year.

  9. Nice to have that chore finished, I'm sure. It would not be a fun thing to have to do in the cold of winter!!
    How wonderful that you have such a great group of helpers there!
    Enjoy this wonderful, blessed new week.

  10. Very interesting. Wish our barn would have had such a thing when I was growing up. We only milked three at a time and then we kids had the chore of shoveling and hosing everything down. The sludge went down a sewer pipe and out to a lagoon. My question is: what happens to the manure after it leaves the barn and before it goes back on the fields?


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