Dark pin feathers

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by trifecta, Nov 30, 2012.

  1. trifecta

    trifecta Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 20, 2012
    Laidley, QLD, Australia
    Hi All,

    I'm looking for some advice on plucking dark feathered chickens. I have 2 black broiler hens and 4 standard cornish hens left from my fall project. They are about 5 months old now. The Cornish still look like midgets, especially compaired to the broilers.

    About 8 weeks ago, we processed the majority of the group since they were roosters and starting to get noisy. They were a NIGHTMARE to pluck. I have processed CX's several times and not had these issues. I have both hand plucked and used a drill plucker (which was a POS and not helpful!). There was all this "black goo" left under the skin, even when the feathers were completely removed, it was like a little bit of pigment was left behind.

    Any thoughts on what I did wrong? As much as I am enjoying the remaining 6 girls, I'm moving to Alabama in about a month and since their original purpose was for the freezer, they need to start heading that way.
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    I processed a few black birds yesterday, a three year old hen in full molt and three 20 week old pullets. The old hen in molt was a problem. It wasn't so much the new feathers coming in as the pockets of black dye in the skin under them. That black liquid kept coming out as I worked the bird. I cut them into serving pieces when I process them, not just leave a whole carcass.

    The old hen was too tough to skin. I scalded and plucked her but did not overdo it on the plucking. When I cut the pieces I was able to get the skin off, but I did have to keep rinsing off that black goo. The only place I could not get all the skin off was on the back. I use that for broth and had to squeeze the black goop out of every pocket and rinse it off.

    The 20 week olds were a lot easier. I just skinned them.

    If they are not molting it is not nearly as bad to pluck them. If you can skin them it is even less a problem.

    I don't think you did anything wrong. Dark pin feathers are visual problem, not a health problem. When you pluck a light-colored bird those pin feathers are still there, you just don't see them. But when they are molting, you get the goop. It's not a health problem either but I sure don't like to leave it under the skin.
     
  3. trifecta

    trifecta Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 20, 2012
    Laidley, QLD, Australia
    Yeah but those roosters were 12 weeks old and not molting. I also mispoke earlier... the 6 left are pullets, although I expect the 2 blacks may start laying soon if I don't butcher.

    I was just wondering if there was some other technique to reduce the pigment left in. It bothers my husband more than me, but it seems to be less noticable after cooking. And I LOVE the skin so I'd rather not skin them.

    Thanks for your thoughts though... at least I now know I'm not a defective chicken plucker.
     
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Chicks go through two molts before they reach adulthood. When you see someone talking about a juvenile molt, this is what they are talking about. They simply outgrow their feathers and have to replace them. Mine usually have their first juvenile molt at about 8 to 9 weeks and their second at 12 to 13 weeks.
     

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