Cold Water Dip Before Plucking?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by sovia, Sep 1, 2010.

  1. sovia

    sovia Songster

    Mar 4, 2008
    Black Hills of SD
    We are getting to process our first bunch of meat chickens this Saturday and I have been reading everything I can! I noticed that some people dip their chickens in a cold water bath after the scalding to prevent the skin tearing. Is this really necessary or can I skip this step? Thanks!

  2. bigredfeather

    bigredfeather Songster

    Oct 1, 2008
    Yorkshire, Ohio
    I have read this many places as well. I do not do this anymore. I did the first few times we butchered, but found it made very little difference. I think it may depend on the type plucker you are using and how long and how hot you scald. I scald for 45-50 seconds @ 145*-148*. I get perfectly plucked birds w/ no torn skin everytime.
  3. oesdog

    oesdog Songster

    Jun 7, 2010
    When I take the frocks of my hens - after they have hung - I dip them in warm water not hot and not cold. This damps the feathers so they don;t take off everywhere and choke you. The warm water opens and sofens the skin. When you pluck go with the feather like the grain in wood. Don't pluck against the direction of the growth of the feather or you will tear the skin. If you gently hold the base of the feather with one hand and pull with the other it should easily come out. The wings are hardest. You will enjoy it once you get going! I found it quite relaxing! [​IMG] If you dry pluck you will more likely tear the skin but you can do it that way if you want. It is messy though. Some folk prefer to do that if they want to use the feathers.

    Oesdog - [​IMG]
  4. mchl

    mchl Chirping

    Jul 30, 2010
    skin tears when your water is to hot or you leave the bird in to long. it is a learning process but not to bad. i did 50 this year for first time
    next year i wont do as many:) but i will do some so good fortune.
  5. toto65

    toto65 Chirping

    Jun 26, 2010
    Holland, VT
    I dunk in 150 degree water and test to see if they have been in long enough by testing wing feathers or tail feathers. If they come out easily, they have been dunked long enough. Once they are plucked and insides removed, they go into cold water.
  6. BeaglesAPlenty

    BeaglesAPlenty In the Brooder

    May 24, 2010
    I processed three ducks for the first time yesterday and came away with the following lessons.

    The down in combination with the feathers will work to keep the scalding water out, so while submerged you have to push back the feathers all over the bird to let the scalding water in against the skin. This made timing how long to leave the bird submerged very difficult to determine.

    The same but opposite problem occurred after pulling the bird out and dunking it in the ice water. The scalding water was now held against the bird and insulated from the ice water. I had to do the same poking around the feathers all over the bird to let the ice water in so that the skin would not be scalded too long.

    I liken this process to skinning tomatoes. You use the ice water to stop the cooking from penetrating too deep into the tomato. Dunking the tomato into the ice water also will generate the cracking and loosening of the skin. I believe we are trying to do the same thing with the feathers with the temperature shock.

    Best of luck!
  7. eKo_birdies

    eKo_birdies Songster

    May 11, 2010
    Northern Colorado
    i've never done a cold water dip and have never had skin tear. like others have said, it's all about the scald temp to fit your method (but not too hot!).

  8. booker81

    booker81 Redneck Tech Girl

    Apr 18, 2010
    I dunk in cold water because I'm a lazy bum and sit on the front porch with the bird on a large trash bag, on my lap. I don't want a hot bird on me [​IMG] I set up so I can sit and just pluck the feathers into the bag.

    Course, I'm only doing one or two at a time, but again.....lazy [​IMG]
  9. stanglover2001

    stanglover2001 Songster

    Apr 29, 2010
    To tell ya the truth, I don't dunk in cold water anymore because I hand pluck and get a good scald and have only torn the skin once (first time and I was a bit rough). Also, I hate spending MORE money for a bag of ice (my freezer makes just enough to go into the cooler). JMHO though, try it both ways and see what works best for you.
  10. sovia

    sovia Songster

    Mar 4, 2008
    Black Hills of SD
    Thanks for all the advice![​IMG]

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