anyone use a poultry plucker to process their birds?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by rhoda_bruce, Jan 19, 2010.

  1. rhoda_bruce

    rhoda_bruce Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 19, 2009
    Cut Off, LA
    Lately I have been killing all my unneeded roosters, so I have killed about 8 or 9 in the last few weeks. 3 days ago I killed 4 in one day, because I was determined to stop feeding whatever I didn't need and have a more productive chicken project going. My only problem is the time it takes. I find I'm kinda slow with the plucking. But I also find that a plucker is very expensive, so I have been looking at the possibility of making one with a drill and ordering the fingers and such.
    Have any of you used a plucker, homemade or otherwise?
    Also, I like to dry pluck. I am offended by the smell of scalded chicken and stopped scalding years ago. It was only an extra mess to clean anyway. How would this relate to a poultry plucker?
  2. Paulup

    Paulup Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 10, 2010
    St. Tammany, La
    If you use a plucker and don't scald your birds you'll end up with a big, bloody mess. It will rip feathers off with skin attached.
  3. joanc

    joanc Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 26, 2007
    Shafer, MN
    We have the Featherman plucker and scalder set-up for our meat birds. Our plucker wouldn't work too well without scalding them first. It tumbles the bodies around and pulls the wet feathers off.
    I would think if we put dry birds in our plucker it may just bruise them up and not do a very good job of plucking. We do 25-50 birds at a time, so it's a great time saver.

    Maybe you could dip them in water (not scalding hot, but warm) before you use a plucker. You may find you'd still need to pull the pin feathers by hand.
  4. protodon

    protodon Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 3, 2009
    If I can hitch a ride on this thread...

    Are pluckers basically useless for turkey and geese due to their size? Are they even good for waterfowl? I usually only hear about or see people using them with chickens.
  5. rhoda_bruce

    rhoda_bruce Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 19, 2009
    Cut Off, LA
    I might be able to handle a wet bird, but that smell of dirty chicken, and something that hints of yucky chicken broth mixed offends me too much to conceive of eating it until the memory fades a bit. As far as hand plucking is concerned, I agree that the feathers came off easier with scalding, but it was cancelled out by the time it took to organize a big pot of water and the clean-up that followed.
    Actually I think it would be a good investment one way or the other, because with all the duck hunters in this area, I can probably get the word out and make something out of it, as well as process my own birds faster.
    Thanks for the input.
  6. rhoda_bruce

    rhoda_bruce Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 19, 2009
    Cut Off, LA
    Quote:My husband looked into it a while back and he claimed to find a woman that pretty much earned a living with one....or supplimented one very well perhaps. She cleaned all kinds of poultry, including waterfowl. She saved the down for pillows and quilts, which was part of her game plan.
  7. CTChickenMom

    CTChickenMom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 5, 2009
    SE Connecticut
  8. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

    Mar 12, 2008
    Loxahatchee, Florida
    Quote:Scalding and hand-plucking hasn't been such a big chore for me, but then I'm not bothered by the smell of wet feathers. Some folks put a few drops of dish detergent in the water, maybe that would help mitigate that dirty bird smell. I have a large pot I keep up on blocks outside and 2 other smaller pots that stay simmering on the stove. And best of all, a helpful teenager who will come outside with a steaming pot of water to replenish the scalding pot whenever I call him.

    If you don't have the stove or helpful teenager handy you can also keep water hot on a gas grill or over a fire. It need not stay at a constant temperature, just be hot enough to boost the temp in the scalding pot.

    If I'm working by myself I replenish the hot water after each bird, if there are 2 or more of us working then we can each scald our bird in the same pot before it cools too much. I pour the steaming water into the big scalding pot and add more from the hose to get it down to about 150*F. I agitate the bird up & down to get the water down to the skin, for about 10-20 seconds, until a wing feather pulls out easily. Then I hang the bird by his tied-together feet so he's about shoulder-height to me, and pluck. Most of the feathers come out like lint from the dryer trap, only the big wing feathers take the most pulling. It takes me about 5 minutes.

    I use rubber gloves to keep the feathers from sticking to my hands, but I've heard that those cloth gardening gloves with the rubber dots are also good for plucking.

    But I know some folks are just looking for a good excuse to build/buy a groovy mechanical plucker, so if that's you, then please disregard everything I just wrote.
  9. rhoda_bruce

    rhoda_bruce Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 19, 2009
    Cut Off, LA
    Well that is basically how I was raised cleaning chickens and ducks, but some friends from Mississippi explained a method of killing and cleaning and I decided to least partially. I never did bring myself to stabbing the brain to loosen the feathers, but I did slit the throat and dry pluck. I found it less messy. I do take longer than 5 minutes; maybe 20 or so, but I also only needed a large foot tub under the dying/dead animal for the blood, feathers and other things and a sharp knife.
    I am considering the plucker because I don't see too many people showing up to help me clean chickens and now that I am set up with my flock, I don't think I will need to buy chicken meat anymore if I let my broodies set. They should keep me up in eggs, young pullets and meat. ( I know a lot of people complain that their chicken project is costing more than its worth, but that is not my case )
    Also my godfather, nephew and nextdoor neighbor all hunt duck and they all know what I'm all about. I usually can get a few ducks of my own, just for my willingness to clean them.
  10. quercus21

    quercus21 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 21, 2008
    Tivoli, NY
    I use a table top picker. You can only do 1 bird at a time which is fine for me. I have gotten to the point where I have to increase the number of cones I have, I have been waiting for the next bird to bleed out before I can pluck it. The picker is small, light weight, easy to clean and easily stored under a bench or crawl space. I'll use it maybe 2 - 4 days a year (50 - 60 birds)

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