Big Whey Tank


On Friday we got a new bigger whey tank for deliveries of cow and goats whey. The new tank is 1,025 gallons. We still have the old tank which is 725 gallons so this gives us a lot more whey storage capacity.

The tank looks like a space ship sitting up on the hill next to the whey tank road that goes up to the upper pond. On getting the new tank the first thing we did was remove the inner elbow on the output valve. Will eagerly climbed in to do this. Why, you ask, would he “eagerly” climb in??? He was eager because last time we didn’t think remove the elbow until after the tank had been in use for several months in the hot summer sun… Imagine… Olfactorilly… This tank is clean right now. Brave of Will for having done it the first time. Eager to do it now. Thank you Will!

Will Making a Face after Taking Out First Elbow

So why take off the elbow on the output you ask? Because the elbow on the output vent clogs with butter chunks that occasionally show up in the whey. It took us a while to figure this out. Most annoying. I think the elbow is there to make the output valve suck from the bottom of the tank. In our application it is not necessary – I tip the tank just a little on it’s pad – and the tank gets flushed every day.

Friday evening Holly and I used the tractor to graded a place for the new tank and rock picked it so there wouldn’t be any sharp pokey things sticking up into the bottom of the tank. It is rather challenging to make a just off level spot on a very off level mountain. More so than one would think. What looks level to us hillbillies is actually quite tilted. But, using a 12′ 2×4 and a spirit level we finally got the spot right. Once the tank was in place we called it a night.

Saturday morning I spent redoing the plumbing for the pipes that deliver whey from the original whey tank, which we’ll still be using to hook in the new tank and make it so we can deliver whey to each of the feeding areas.

Brent Filling the Old Whey Tank

My alternative title for this post was “Push Button Pigs” because with the whey feeding properly setup it is absurdly easy to feed the pigs – most of the time. Every once in a while there is a snag, sometimes a significant one like a frozen line when someone forgets to empty the pipes in the winter after feeding, but in general it is easy enough that even ten year old Ben is able to handle the day-to-day feeding of about 100 pigs with ease simply by turning a few valves.

Occasionally a clot of butter used to get stuck in the pipes, but we’ve got that pretty much figured out. During the winter there is the complication of needing to empty the pipes after each feeding to avoid frozen pipes, which we did get occasionally. To to empty the pipes is quite simple since we don’t have the buried. In the deep snow you can’t trust that the pipes are uniformly sloping downhill so after feeding one just opens all the valves and walks along the lines lifting them up so the flow goes out ahead and down to the bath tub troughs.

Now that winter and freezing weather are past my next goal is to setup float valves that will automatically top off the feeding tubs as the pigs drink them down. This is a little bit of a challenge as the pigs can be quite rough on pipes and other things they are able to reach. I have some ideas – we’ll see which ones work.

Sunday: Outdoors: 61°F/28°F Mostly cloudy, light morning rain
Farm House: 62°F/58°F
Tiny Cottage: 62°F/52°F

Saturday: Outdoors: 68°F/27°F Mostly Sunny
Farm House: 64°F/58°F
Tiny Cottage: 64°F/53°F