Dry plucking

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Buster52, Sep 28, 2009.

  1. Buster52

    Buster52 Songster

    Jan 28, 2009
    Geronimo Oklahoma
    Anybody here do this? I've got two giant turkeys I will be offing tomorrow, and the prospect of heating a (very clean) garbage can of water and dipping them in it to scald is not that appealing.

    So, I would rather dry pluck if it isn't a complete nightmare.

    If you do this, what are the pros and cons? Any tips appreciated, as well!
  2. kingmt

    kingmt Songster

    May 1, 2009
    Mason WV
    If tomorrow is the day you should have asked a little sooner to give more time to find something more appealing. How ever lets look at the alternative. It is going to be a lot of work pulling each feather out of a turkey. You can heat the water & pore it over the bird but it isn't as effective as dipping it in the water. What other things do you have around the house that would hold that much water? Do you have a large tube to dip them or can you go to the farm supply store & get one? You could also get a new can from the store & keep it clean. I don't know for sure that a tote would work but I don't see a reason it wouldn't. I would think less then $5 at Walmart if you don't already have one.

    If none of these ideas work then I will try to think up something else.
  3. Buster52

    Buster52 Songster

    Jan 28, 2009
    Geronimo Oklahoma
    Well, I could always put it off a day or two, but would rather not. The garbage can is brand new and will never be used for anything but this sort of thing. If push comes to shove I will scald using it, but these are some very very big birds and I am wondering if dry plucking is easy enough.

    I should say I don't mind skinning, but these are our Thanksgiving and Christmas turkeys and skin is a must for the sake of appearance. Otherwise I wouldn't much care.
  4. petrelline

    petrelline Songster

    Feb 13, 2009
    Los Gatos, CA
    It is a nightmare.

    I dry plucked the first rooster I processed and I will never, ever, ever, ever do it again. The feathers are HARD to pull out -- you have to GRAB fistfuls of them and YANK to get them to come out, and those are the body feathers, the ones that come off with a quick swipe if the bird is scalded. It is really easy to rip the skin while you're yanking unless you're super careful about it; I found that pulling the feathers with one hand and holding down the skin with another hand was the best way to work.

    Wing and tail feathers? Extra impossible to pull. I could pull out one or two feathers at a time, but no more than that. I plucked one wing and just cut the other one off rather than pluck it.

    It took me more than an hour to dry pluck my one rooster. I cannot even imagine dry plucking a turkey, and two....you'll be there all day.

    Could you scald them in the bathtub maybe? [​IMG]

    (hi, by the way, I'm new)
  5. RedStarDaddy

    RedStarDaddy Chirping

    Aug 18, 2009
    Somewhere or other I came across an article on-line that talked about pithing a chicken through the roof of the mouth to kill it rather than cutting the jugular and letting it die from exsanguination. One significant difference is pithing the chicken apparently makes all the feathers loose and it can successfully be dry-plucked as a result.

    Has anybody tried pithing a turkey? How well did that work?

  6. kingmt

    kingmt Songster

    May 1, 2009
    Mason WV
    Quote:Why would it bother you to use a brand new trash can? If you don't use it for trash it isn't a trash can. If used for scalding it would be a scalding can.
  7. Winsor Woods

    Winsor Woods Songster

    Jun 14, 2009
    Cascade Range in WA
    I really like the idea about scalding in a bathtub. Good thinking! I've had similar experiences dry plucking. It just sucks. I will never dry pluck a chicken again, much less a turkey.

    I've never pithed an animal but I can't imagine that it would make the feathers easier to pull out. Bleeding out has other advantages besides being a method of killing. The meat will store longer and some say it tastes better when properly bled out. Pithing won't give you that advantage.

    I still like the idea of using a garbage can, but not for scalding. You're only doing two turkeys so it might not be a big issue, but that's what I ice my processed birds in. Clean it out really well, or use a dedicated can. I can totally understand why you might want a dedicated can. I wouldn't want to age 200 + lbs of chicken in anything I wasn't completely sure about. For the cost of one chicken, roughly, you can have a receptacle that you have peace of mind about.

  8. Brunty_Farms

    Brunty_Farms Songster

    Apr 29, 2007
    Dry plucking is no fun... not worth it.

    What I used to do was heat up a turkey fryer full of water to the point of boiling. Pour it in a bigger bucket (like your can) and bring down the temp with a water house. This way you get more water and you don't have to heat all of it up. Just use a thermometer to bring down the temp to 150 or so and your good to go.

    Nothing wrong with using a trash can as long as it's clean. I used to use the 25 gallon laundry bins with the two rope handles.... walmart sells them for like 6 bucks. I still use them to this day to hold ice and other stuff.

    Good luck...
  9. IAK

    IAK In the Brooder

    Sep 19, 2009
    Quote:Why would it bother you to use a brand new trash can? If you don't use it for trash it isn't a trash can. If used for scalding it would be a scalding can.

    He isn't worried about making it dirty, just the whole process of making a fire, heating water, etc.

    Buster, I use the method described by Brunty Farms. Dry plucking is not only hard, but messy. You will be coughing up feathers for a week. If the skin is solely for appearance sake and you don't eat, then it doesn't have to the best plucking job in the world.
  10. dancingbear

    dancingbear Songster

    Aug 2, 2008
    South Central KY
    Quote:Most of the time, in a family gathering, there will be somebody who likes to eat the skin. It's not just the OP alone, eating the bird for holiday dinner.

    When we butchered turkeys, my DH shot them in the head. Then we hung them up by the feet from a tree in the yard, ASAP, so they were still warm, and the two of us pulled feathers like mad. As the body cools, feathers get harder to pull out. You only have a few minutes to pull feathers before it becomes difficult or impossible, the surface cools quickly. The majority of the body feathers came out pretty easily, but not the wing or tail feathers. For those we had to scald, but it was much easier because so many of the feathers were already gone. Any feathers that don't come out easily, leave until you scald, so you don't tear the skin.

    Once the outdoor dry pluck was done, we took the bird inside, and I poured heated water over the parts that still needed to be plucked, and finished in the sink. When it was almost done, I scrubbed and rinsed the bird, so I could see more easily where there were still attached feathers, and poured hot water on where needed. It wasn't too back.

    Using a turkey fryer to scald is probably a good idea, but since I don't have one, I improvised.

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