CX Thin Skin Tearing

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by bhanley, Oct 20, 2014.

  1. bhanley

    bhanley In the Brooder

    Jun 20, 2014
    Princeton, Ontario
    Hey all!

    I butchered 5 of my 20 Cornish Cross chickens this past weekend and had some difficulty with the skin tearing. I scalded them in 150 degree water for one minute each but I'm thinking that the thermometer I was using is off and that the water may have actually been hotter.

    I was also surprised at how thin the skin was, like paper thin. I understand that my free range birds will be different from grocery store chicken (MUCH less fat on my birds) but not sure if the thin skin is normal or not.

    Any info from you fine folks would be greatly appreciated :)
  2. The skin on cornish X is very thin because they are still babies.

    You may not have had your water hot enough. Scalding for one minute is my clue that your water was not hot enough.
  3. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Free Ranging

    Jul 9, 2009
    Northern CA
    My Coop
    How old were the Cornish X?

    It sounds like you didn't have them in the water long enough. I dip and swirl the bird around to get the water through the feathers. Then I test a wing feather - when it comes out easily, you have scalded long enough. If not, back in for another swirl. Adding a couple of squirts of liquid dish soap to the water before you boil it will help too.
  4. bhanley

    bhanley In the Brooder

    Jun 20, 2014
    Princeton, Ontario
    The chickens are 8 weeks old and now that I think about it more, there was slight resistance when I pulled a big wing feather after scalding for a minute, but I "thought" they came out adequately. I guess not. I did add some liquid dish soap to the water too.

    I'm going to pick up a more accurate thermometer before I carry on with the rest and will also ensure I scald them longer.

    Thanks for the advice and here's hoping for better results as I move onward!
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    I assume you plucked instead of skinned. The skin is a lot thinner on those young ones but skin tearing is usually a sign of over-scalding, not under-scalding. But I’m sure under-scalding could contribute to it too.

    Scalding is a bit of an art as well as a science. How long you scald is a factor if how hot the water is but also the age of the bird. People like to quote hard and fast numbers for everything to do with chickens but those are generally guidelines, not absolutes. You often have to adjust them a bit for reality.

    I don’t raise the broilers, just dual purpose, and I usually skin them instead of scalding and plucking. But I sometimes scald and pluck. When I do I don’t measure water temperature. I get the water hot then start dunking the bird. When the wing feathers some out fairly easily it is ready to be plucked. I don’t know how well that system would work for broilers.
  6. CrazyTalk

    CrazyTalk Songster

    Jun 10, 2014
    Agree with this. 145 is typical, and it shouldn't take a minute. If you were higher than 150 and leaving them in for a minute, they were likely over-scalded.
  7. bhanley

    bhanley In the Brooder

    Jun 20, 2014
    Princeton, Ontario

    I scalded the latest batch at 145 and had no issues at all with skin tearing (although the chickens were also another week older than the last). Feathers came out just fine.

    Thanks for the advice folks!! This site is great!

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