Even though cutting your grass may not improve your chickens' health like your integrator says, it is a necessary part of running a great poultry farm. Leisa Coyne is a mower maintenance expert and owner of several businesses, including the lawn mower repair shop at the Colbert, Georgia Ace Hardware. We interviewed Leisa to learn her best tips on lawn mower maintenance for poultry farmers.
Belts and Blades
The biggest issues that cause people to bring their mowers in to Leisa's shop are belts and blades.
To prevent your mower's belt from needing repairs, make sure to clean it regularly. Clean under the deck, between the deck and the mower and more. Leisa recommends blowing it out every time you mow since any debris left will wear on the belt.
As far as mower blades go, Leisa says NEVER mow over ant beds. This is like sand blasting your blades. You can knock them over, you can get some ant treatment, but whatever you do, just don't mow over them!
One general note is that wetter years are better for blades than dry years. Dry conditions like dust and air are just harder on your blades. So if you're experiencing a drought, be extra careful with your blades and expect them to get worn down a bit more easily.
Air Filters and Oil
According to Leisa, the number one most neglected part of the mower is the air filter.
Air filters are the lungs of the mower and need to stay clean to ensure optimal performance. It's best to blow the air filter out every time you mow! Leisa also recommends checking your oil every time you mow. Adding these two actions to your mowing routine will help keep your mower functioning well and out of the repair shop!
It's also important to replace filters and oil annually to maintain a well functioning engine and mower that will last you as long as possible.
Buying a new mower?
Leisa says the biggest consideration to make when purchasing a new mower is what's going to happen after you buy it. Are there parts readily available? How much are they? Some mowers might be cheaper up front but much more expensive when you take into account the cost to maintain them.
It's also worth noting that the lines between residential and commercial mowers have been blurred over time. Some mowers have an "R" in the model number to represent that they are residential.
All the Tools You Need in One Small Box
One of Leisa's biggest tips is that all you need to break down a mower engine is a 29 piece screwdriver bit set. No fancy power tools required! Keep one of these kits near your mower and you'll have everything you need for a DIY repair.
Allen has been getting his lawn mowers maintained by Leisa for years. She is absolutely an expert, and even goes with her employees to small engine repair classes. Sometimes people are surprised to see Leisa perform so exceptionally in a traditionally male-dominated field. However, she has torn down more motors than most people and can fix a mower with the best of them!
Have any questions or ideas for future Poultry Biosecurity videos? Contact Allen Reynolds at email@example.com or 800-608-3755.
About the Author
This blog was written by Allen Reynolds, Southland Organics’ Poultry Sales Manager. Allen spent years working on poultry farms, from installing equipment to dumping chicks. He has been helping poultry farmers overcome obstacles since 2014, focusing on poultry farm strength in the antibiotic-free environment since 2017. He has traveled thousands of miles and worked closely with hundreds of farmers during his time with Southland Organics. Allen is known by even more farmers from the YouTube channel Poultry Biosecurity, where he regularly appears in videos that educate farmers on topics like bird health and farm business. Learn more about Allen here.
This blog was edited by Izy Dobbins, Southland Organics' Marketing Manager. Izy has devoted her education and career to communicating science-related topics. With an enthusiasm for sharing accurate and honest content relating to science and agriculture, she ensures Southland Organics' publications are as informative as they are interesting. Izy graduated from the University of Georgia with a bachelor's degree in Advertising, minors in both Spanish and Environmental Health Science and a certificate in Sustainability. She has been working at Southland Organics since 2021. Learn more about Izy here.