What does this machine do?

Help Support CattleToday:

simme

Old Dumb Guy
Joined
Jul 7, 2020
Messages
595
Reaction score
860
Location
South Carolina
This is a machine I had not seen before. Used on the farm.
gatherer front.jpg

gatherer side.jpg

The two wings on each side fold out into the front and becomes a 30 foot "combine head" for harvesting chickens while driving through the chicken house. Each "wing" has a belt that rotates to move the chickens to the back of the "header" where there is another belt that move the chickens to the center of the machine, then an inclined belt though the machine that delivers the chickens out a "discharge spout" on the back. The little "trailer" behind is a turntable that hold two 8 foot wide (truck width) multi-story cages that come off the semi trailer empty and goes back on loaded with chickens. Workers ride on the back of the machine and "direct" the chickens into the cages. A loader brings an empty cage off the truck and takes the loaded one back to the truck. Machine is remote controlled by a guy walking beside it.

Previous method was to herd the chickens closer together with the house lights very very dim. Chickens sit down and a catch crew would stoop down, pick them up by the feet with several chickens in each hand and then place then in those same cages. I guess the new machine is faster, shows up on time and gets the job done. I have not seen it in operation. My brother says it is quick.
If you have never seen a "chicken catching" and loadout, it is something else. Several tractor trailers coming and going in a small lot. They only know one speed - fast and furious. Loader going in and coming out (in reverse) of the house at max speed. You don't want to be walking around the loadout area. Often done at night in the dark. You can sense that you are out of place if you are too close to the action.
 

sstterry

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 8, 2017
Messages
3,701
Reaction score
735
Location
Bulls Gap, TN
This is a machine I had not seen before. Used on the farm.
View attachment 3621

View attachment 3622

The two wings on each side fold out into the front and becomes a 30 foot "combine head" for harvesting chickens while driving through the chicken house. Each "wing" has a belt that rotates to move the chickens to the back of the "header" where there is another belt that move the chickens to the center of the machine, then an inclined belt though the machine that delivers the chickens out a "discharge spout" on the back. The little "trailer" behind is a turntable that hold two 8 foot wide (truck width) multi-story cages that come off the semi trailer empty and goes back on loaded with chickens. Workers ride on the back of the machine and "direct" the chickens into the cages. A loader brings an empty cage off the truck and takes the loaded one back to the truck. Machine is remote controlled by a guy walking beside it.

Previous method was to herd the chickens closer together with the house lights very very dim. Chickens sit down and a catch crew would stoop down, pick them up by the feet with several chickens in each hand and then place then in those same cages. I guess the new machine is faster, shows up on time and gets the job done. I have not seen it in operation. My brother says it is quick.
If you have never seen a "chicken catching" and loadout, it is something else. Several tractor trailers coming and going in a small lot. They only know one speed - fast and furious. Loader going in and coming out (in reverse) of the house at max speed. You don't want to be walking around the loadout area. Often done at night in the dark. You can sense that you are out of place if you are too close to the action.
I have never seen one of those machines, but I have seen the "catch crews" before. There are 8 houses and over a quarter of a million birds growing just about a mile from me (luckily we are upwind). My partner represented a guy once (chicken catcher) who boasted he could hold 7 birds in each hand. 🐔
 

Mrcopier

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 25, 2020
Messages
214
Reaction score
181
This is a machine I had not seen before. Used on the farm.
View attachment 3621

View attachment 3622

The two wings on each side fold out into the front and becomes a 30 foot "combine head" for harvesting chickens while driving through the chicken house. Each "wing" has a belt that rotates to move the chickens to the back of the "header" where there is another belt that move the chickens to the center of the machine, then an inclined belt though the machine that delivers the chickens out a "discharge spout" on the back. The little "trailer" behind is a turntable that hold two 8 foot wide (truck width) multi-story cages that come off the semi trailer empty and goes back on loaded with chickens. Workers ride on the back of the machine and "direct" the chickens into the cages. A loader brings an empty cage off the truck and takes the loaded one back to the truck. Machine is remote controlled by a guy walking beside it.

Previous method was to herd the chickens closer together with the house lights very very dim. Chickens sit down and a catch crew would stoop down, pick them up by the feet with several chickens in each hand and then place then in those same cages. I guess the new machine is faster, shows up on time and gets the job done. I have not seen it in operation. My brother says it is quick.
If you have never seen a "chicken catching" and loadout, it is something else. Several tractor trailers coming and going in a small lot. They only know one speed - fast and furious. Loader going in and coming out (in reverse) of the house at max speed. You don't want to be walking around the loadout area. Often done at night in the dark. You can sense that you are out of place if you are too close to the action.
Don’t be on the roads when the trucks come through, they are on a mission
 
OP
S

simme

Old Dumb Guy
Joined
Jul 7, 2020
Messages
595
Reaction score
860
Location
South Carolina
Do they have many mishaps with the chooks?

Ken
As far as the machine, I have not seen it operate. The belts look pretty soft and gentle. Chicken houses here have several inches of litter on the dirt floor. I am sure that the machine runs in close contact with the litter. So, I would not think there is a issue of "running over" chickens.
Biggest risk with the chicken houses is loss of power/ventilation. Houses are completely enclosed with many exhaust fans and auto positioned air inlet dampers and inside mixing fans. Just hatched chickens delivered into a house heated to about 92 degrees initially. Lots of gas usage to get that done in cold winter weather. Especially with the exhaust fans running periodically to remove ammonia and moisture. In a few weeks, the houses are self heated from the chickens themselves. In summer, evaporative cooling pads on the fresh air inlets, fogging nozzles and full outside air makeup. Loss of power or a failure in the controller circuits will kill almost all the chickens in less than an hour in hot weather in the last third of the growout cycle. Electric generators with auto transfer switches, backup controllers, alarm systems all in use. Generators tested weekly. But a dirty fuel filter can stop the generator. A bad battery won't start a generator that started fine just a few days earlier. An electronic board failure in the fan control output box can stop the fans. Then you have a disaster. Thousands of chickens that must be buried quickly. There is a community response from other chicken growers that will include a lot of people, an excavator and several skid steers. In several hours, houses are cleared out and chickens are buried. The chicken farmer could not handle that himself. Then the economic impact hits. About 25,000 or more chickens in a house. Loss of income of maybe $10,000 to $12,000 per house. May have 4 houses or more on a generator. Farming is risky business.
 

sstterry

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 8, 2017
Messages
3,701
Reaction score
735
Location
Bulls Gap, TN
The Chicken Farmer does not make nearly what one would think they do from all of those birds either. The chicks are provided by the Supplier, the feed that must be used is provided by the Supplier, and all of the specifications of the Houses have to meet the Supplier specs.

The main job of the farmer is is insure the heat or cooling is running and that the power stays going. The Farmer hits the automatic feeders and does a daily death summary of birds that are lost and incinerated. After the birds are collected he/she has to clean the houses and prepare for the next batch.

The profit margin is not what one would think considering the investment required.
 
Top