BackYard Chickens › BYC Forum › Raising BackYard Chickens › Meat Birds ETC › Can you RENT a plucker?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Can you RENT a plucker?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

Hang with me, the point of this long tale is at the end...

Well, I'm officially in over my head.  Got excited with 2 layers, so I brooded 8 more, who are about 18 weeks old and I can almost taste the lovely eggs we should start seeing soon.  The requests for fresh eggs from so many friends and acquaintances inspired me to buy 24 almost-started pullets this coming Saturday from a fellow who has a booth at a local "Trade Days" place.  That will give me 34 layers.  Eggapalooza!!

Then I got the idea we could pasture some meat birds, so I put 25 Delawares out in my "chook wagon."   They're about 7 weeks now.  And I thought, I've got such a lot of pasture for that little tractor to fertilize....  how about 50 more broilers?  Sure!  Why not???  Get on line and order those chicks!!

So, I have some friends helping me build two Salatin-style tractors, one for the new layers and one for the new broilers (who won't need it until after they grow out of the brooder).

This means that in about 8 weeks, I'll have 75 birds that need to be processed.  OMG - what was I thinking?  I will probably do the Delawares one weekend, the broiler roos the next weekend and the broiler pullets the third weekend.  That could vary depending on how each group is gaining.

I was thinking I was only brave enough to skin the birds and take the breast meat and leg quarters.  But now I'm getting more interested in saving the whole bird and am considering scalding and plucking.

I have heard people use a turkey fryer as a scalder, and I can get one reasonably on eBay, but I can't justify the cost of a nice electric plucker just yet.

Does anyone RENT pluckers?  It could be the answer to all my prayers!

I'm north of Dallas, TX about 20 minutes.  HELLLLPPP!

6 sheep, 2 guard donkeys, 4 fiber alpacas, 7 layers, 22 layers-in-training and 3 roosters of unknown destiny, barn cat, couch-potato farm dog, pet guinea pig, DH and DD, livin' the dream in the Lone Star State.
Reply
6 sheep, 2 guard donkeys, 4 fiber alpacas, 7 layers, 22 layers-in-training and 3 roosters of unknown destiny, barn cat, couch-potato farm dog, pet guinea pig, DH and DD, livin' the dream in the Lone Star State.
Reply
post #2 of 12

You might be able to find a rental store that has pluckers.  You might want to start with a local hardware or feed store.  They might be able to recommend a rental store or other place (farm?).
We lucked out because we were able to borrow a plucker from a friend.
If you have any contacts with farmers I would ask them too-you'd be surprised what equipment is laying around on farmsteads. Check craigslist too.
With the number of birds you will be processing you may want to recruit some help too. Maybe contact a 4H group.
We use a large stock pot (10 qt) on a turkey fryer base, which is heated by propane.  That works well for scalding.  Get a thermometer with a long stem to keep track of the temp.  We scald at 150-155 degrees for 30-45 seconds.
Good luck-that's a lot of birds.

post #3 of 12

Southern University's (in Louisiana) agriculture extension office lends out their commercial scalder and plucker FOR FREE! Perhaps check with your local A & M type college!

Mom to 3 kids, 1 dog, 2 cats, 1 horse, 11 commercial broiler breeds, 5 black australorps, 6 rhode island reds, 4 light feather-footed brahmas, 5 silver-laced wyandottes, 4 black giants, and one white crested black polish
Reply
Mom to 3 kids, 1 dog, 2 cats, 1 horse, 11 commercial broiler breeds, 5 black australorps, 6 rhode island reds, 4 light feather-footed brahmas, 5 silver-laced wyandottes, 4 black giants, and one white crested black polish
Reply
post #4 of 12

Great minds think alike...I'm in South Dallas and was wondering that same thing last week.

Perhaps we should team up for next year? I bet there are enough chicken farmers within an hour radius that it would be worth having a plucker for rent.

When you find youself in danger; when you're threatened by a stranger,
When it looks like you will take a lickin', (bok bok bok).....
Just Call for Super Chicken! (bo-ok, ack!)
Reply
When you find youself in danger; when you're threatened by a stranger,
When it looks like you will take a lickin', (bok bok bok).....
Just Call for Super Chicken! (bo-ok, ack!)
Reply
post #5 of 12

A turkey fryer would be the ideal "scalder" for plucking.  I used a chili pot but only did one bird, if you are doing several, a turkey fryer with continuous hot water would be ideal.  Not only did my bird want to "let it's feathers go", the skin wanted to peel off as well, and I didn't want a skinned bird.  It worked well, and if doing several birds, I would recommend a turkey fryer! Good luck and let us know how it goes!

beer, brats & fish fry's -guess where I'm from!
Reply
beer, brats & fish fry's -guess where I'm from!
Reply
post #6 of 12

Trust me, your 25 broilers will out poo your brooder in no time. Best have that tractor ready! They are an order of magnitude poopier than any dual purpose or layer bird.

Need egg candling reference pics? Click HERE!
2011 Coop build! Click Here!

 

I'm no expert, there is always something to learn, and my birds are livestock, so... yes, I may be quite blunt. wink.png

Reply

Need egg candling reference pics? Click HERE!
2011 Coop build! Click Here!

 

I'm no expert, there is always something to learn, and my birds are livestock, so... yes, I may be quite blunt. wink.png

Reply
post #7 of 12

Have you considered just skinning them? That's a whole lot easier and faster. If you're doing that many birds, you could just ignore the gizzard and organs. Just skin it, cut around the ribcage (careful not to pierce through it) and toss the carcass. Some may think this is wasteful, but if you attempt to save everything, it'll take you all year to process that many birds by yourself!

Mom to 3 kids, 1 dog, 2 cats, 1 horse, 11 commercial broiler breeds, 5 black australorps, 6 rhode island reds, 4 light feather-footed brahmas, 5 silver-laced wyandottes, 4 black giants, and one white crested black polish
Reply
Mom to 3 kids, 1 dog, 2 cats, 1 horse, 11 commercial broiler breeds, 5 black australorps, 6 rhode island reds, 4 light feather-footed brahmas, 5 silver-laced wyandottes, 4 black giants, and one white crested black polish
Reply
post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 

I've been so busy since we finished our chicken processing that I haven't had time to report back and tell you all how it went.  We butchered 77 chickens, all told.  We did it on 3 Saturdays, a couple of weeks apart--25 or so each time.  By the last session, we cut our time by about 1.5 hours. 
We did skin them.  The whole process: cut heads off, bleed out, skin and gut.  Toss in cooler.  Toss in fridge for 1-2 days and then vacuum seal and into the freezer.  So far the ones I've cooked and the ones I've given away have been great.

They were kind of small.  I only had one rooster top 3 pounds--most were more or less 2 pounds, dressed (or "undressed" if you'd rather).  So next year, I'll skip the heritage breeds (the 25 Delawares took too long to put on any weight) and I'll get all roos.  They were significantly larger than the hens at the same age.  Thinking about dark broilers.... we'll see.

The first Saturday, I thought we'd never finish and I was a bit queasy by the end of the day.  This was totally gone by the last butchering day--no problems.  It does get MUCH easier. 

We did one thing that helped the day go faster.  I bought 12" traffic cones from Home Depot.  Not for killing, but for shoving the chicken into, as soon as the head was chopped off.  That way, I didn't have to sit there holding the chicken upside down in a bucket waiting for it to quit flapping (or trying to flap).  The legs kicked for a while, but the chicken couldn't work its way out.  We could move on to the next chicken much faster, and there was less down time.  We also divided the tasks -- DH skinned and I gutted.  I think we timed ourselves and we could go from chopping a head to tossing into the cooler in 14 minutes.

But even with the improvement in our system, I'd still like to try a mechanical plucker and get a nicer looking carcass.  Maybe next year, I'll have DH build a Whizbang, and then I'll rent it out!

I'm now down to layers in the pasture, and happy for the full freezer and the lighter workload! 

Cindy T.
Parker, TX
Jacob's Reward Farm

6 sheep, 2 guard donkeys, 4 fiber alpacas, 7 layers, 22 layers-in-training and 3 roosters of unknown destiny, barn cat, couch-potato farm dog, pet guinea pig, DH and DD, livin' the dream in the Lone Star State.
Reply
6 sheep, 2 guard donkeys, 4 fiber alpacas, 7 layers, 22 layers-in-training and 3 roosters of unknown destiny, barn cat, couch-potato farm dog, pet guinea pig, DH and DD, livin' the dream in the Lone Star State.
Reply
post #9 of 12

Congrats JacobsRewardFarm! I know what a feeling of accomplishment you must have right now! Friends saw my photos of me smiling by my dead chickens and thought I was a sicko, but kept insisting that I was smiling because the job was OVER! I still have 10 more to do, and I'm dreading it...only because it is very difficult to do with a baby in the house. I'll have to stop and disinfect just to hold her or nurse he

Your cone idea sounds great for small birds. My commercial broilers roos were at least 10 lbs. when I did the deed, so we grabbed two in each hand by their feet, and then hung them upside down from pre-tied nooses. We would bleed two at a time, and eventually developed a rhythm to the whole ordeal.

Sounds like you kept the ribcages intact on yours. I cut everything off around it to save on freezer space. That saved me from spending the time gutting it. It's difficult throwing the organ meat away...I was raised on fried gizzards served hot while we shopped at the grocery store! BUT it takes more time to clean a gizzard, and I had a babysitter watching the kids while I was working, so I was on a schedule!

Did you skin yours while holding them, or did you keep them in the cone? We cut their feet while they were hanging on the noose, then brought them to the butcher-block to have a surface to push against while skinning them. After a quick rinse with the hose, they were moved to the "clean" butcher block to cut up. I left the neck attached and just worked around, putting the legs  in one part of the iced cooler, the breasts in another, and other bits in another area.

At the end of the day, the meat I pulled from the right side of the cooler went into a freezer bag labeled "fajita strips," all of the breasts went into a bag labeled "breasts" etc. We don't eat a lot of whole birds, so the pre-cut pieces work best for me and my recipes.

Building your own plucker for rent is a great idea! I don't know if I could scald and pluck though. The smell of ripping feathers made me gag. You're right about getting used to the whole process though!

Again, CONGRATS!

BTW- The red on the concrete isn't blood, it's old paint!

http://i159.photobucket.com/albums/t147/clairemccrary/IMG_3617.jpg
http://i159.photobucket.com/albums/t147/clairemccrary/IMG_3622.jpg
http://i159.photobucket.com/albums/t147/clairemccrary/IMG_3620.jpg

Mom to 3 kids, 1 dog, 2 cats, 1 horse, 11 commercial broiler breeds, 5 black australorps, 6 rhode island reds, 4 light feather-footed brahmas, 5 silver-laced wyandottes, 4 black giants, and one white crested black polish
Reply
Mom to 3 kids, 1 dog, 2 cats, 1 horse, 11 commercial broiler breeds, 5 black australorps, 6 rhode island reds, 4 light feather-footed brahmas, 5 silver-laced wyandottes, 4 black giants, and one white crested black polish
Reply
post #10 of 12

Howdy JRF!
     Congratulations on your chicken harvest.  I buy delawares mostly for egg laying and not for meat.  Buff Orpingtons,on the other hand,a dual purpose "heritage" breed,the cocks make good meat birds and the hens are slightly above egg producers.  My birds free-range and I grow my own feed:dent corn,millet,field peas and quinoa.  The dressed weight is between 3.5-4.5 lbs after 12 weeks from hatch.

     I looked at that Whizbang Plucker  online a while back;didn't like what I saw i.e. the guy is no engineer nor a mechanic!  Also,that scalder leaves much to be desired.  Why anyone design let alone build then operate machines that are unsafe to operate;use antiquated technology and most importantly cost too much to build?

     When you design your pluck or your scalder or both,and then plan to"rent it out,"the onus of product safety is you the one that designed,built and then rented out that particular machine,especially,since we live in a litigious society.  Put some panels on the outside to form a cube covering almost all of the moving parts,paying close attention to the motor and the transmission of its power.

     Why would anyone use Bi-metal,manual/semi auto-set thermostat that costs around $65.00 plus shipping when the same can be done with a programmable breadboard from Radio Shack or some such similar store for under $20?  Add some wireless actuators for about $4 each,make a yagi or omni-directional antenna with a piece of coiled copper wire and PVC pipe-$15 with appropriate coaxial cable and end connectors.  If you already have a wireless router/hub in your house...get one of those USB-port wireless antennas and place in an exterior window facing in the general direction of that PVC/copper antenna you just made...just make two of those PVC jobbers one for the scalder one for the router.

Buying parts is one way but I'm a scrounger...something I picked up:P pun intended,from my grandma.  One doesn't have to resort to shopping at Ebay for all the bargains.  Email me and I'll pass some of the places I shop for parts and raw materials.  The bucket that's used for both machines is made from High Density Poly Ethylene(HDPE.)  This type of plastic is food safe,approved by NSF,and for a 33 gallon barrel costs$54.00 plus shipping from www.McMaster.com  Also on that whizbang plucker,judging by what that guy says in his blog,plus those images of him and his kids working the shop(who the HELL lets a teenager in swimshorts and a t-shirt operate a drill press and where the workpiece is not clamped down and secured?)the removable bottom works out to be 1/2 inch thick;24 diameter HDPE.  A 2 foot square piece;half inch thick is $36.59+shipping from mcmaster-carr's.  I'm sure you can find similar at grainger's.  Motor I bought from a science and surplus store online.  I think these people were part of the former hippy HIGH TIMES head shop types and the lab supplies are for the crack and ice cookers.  Oh well,all the crap always went west and California is where all the weirdoes,liars and cheats ended up.

All y'all take care!

Carugoman's Corollary to Murphy's Law: "If you push hard enough...it will fall over thus requiring additional design, work, time and expense."
Started out with 9 hens, 2 roos and a flock of 16 macaws and other conures...now have 300+ yardbirds + 22 conures!
All y'all take care!!
Reply
Carugoman's Corollary to Murphy's Law: "If you push hard enough...it will fall over thus requiring additional design, work, time and expense."
Started out with 9 hens, 2 roos and a flock of 16 macaws and other conures...now have 300+ yardbirds + 22 conures!
All y'all take care!!
Reply
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Meat Birds ETC
BackYard Chickens › BYC Forum › Raising BackYard Chickens › Meat Birds ETC › Can you RENT a plucker?