equipment for small scale processing

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by canesisters, Oct 21, 2015.

  1. canesisters

    canesisters Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 18, 2011
    Every fall I have 6 - 8 roos from the spring's hatches that I have to process. In the past, I've relied on a friend who also processes her birds. We work out a date, transport either mine or her birds to whoever's yard is going to be used and spend a Saturday doing as many as 20 birds. She has the cones, the scalder and is building a plucker this year.
    The thing is, I feel a little like I'm imposing and I would like the option to do it myself if it's not covenant for us to work together in the future.

    So - are there any of you who only do a couple of birds at a time - just once or twice a year?
    What equipment should I be looking at for such a small scale project?
    Has anyone ever converted an old gas grill into a scalder?
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    A turkey fryer works well for a scalder.
    I used a small wood stove once but it was cold, the container too large and it took forever to heat the water.

    The main thing is extremely sharp knives, more than one and not stainless steel.

    Otherwise it should be things you have around the house. Cooler, ice, bowls, paper towels, towels, buckets.
  3. phalenbeck

    phalenbeck Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 14, 2008
    Canton, N.C.
    I use a cone, a drill/plucker mounted on a board, a propane camp stove, a cooler, a yard hose, and a shower courtain for on the ground, a few bags. Pretty much stuff that is lying around. I do 4-6 at a time, mostly by myself. I usually grow a batch of 15-20 for a grand total of 50 a year. Pretty much not a big deal.
  4. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT
    I use a turkey fryer for scalder. It also doubles as my maple syrup finisher so not only for chickens but still only broken out three or four times a year.

    I started using an exacto knife this year too. They are cheap and quick change of blade if needed. Sharp knives are key. Though I still use a hatchet for the deed, personally don't like the cones even though they are extremely useful still prefer the hatchet.
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2015
  5. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    Forgot to mention. I have a homemade cone on a post above one of the compost bins. Made it out of aluminum flashing and pop rivets.
  6. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Chicken Obsessed

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    Phalenbeck - could you explain more about the drill/plucker mounted on a board?

    I don't often visit this page, (limit myself to the manage the flock) but I just got done plucking three...and plucking. I don't have a big enough operation to justify a plucker, but I have seen the drill plucker. Am interested in hearing how it works.

    Mrs K
  7. locabuck

    locabuck New Egg

    Oct 25, 2015
    Personally, it seems that the best thing on the market for small scale producers would be a Featherman.

    If you just google it, it's pretty easy to find. There is section where you are able to rent from a private owner as well.
  8. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Chicken Obsessed

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    Did I find the right thing? $1500 to process a few birds a year is out of my budget.
  9. trailrider330

    trailrider330 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 4, 2013
    Midwest America
    We found a local farm that processes chickens for $2 each. I don't need to buy all the equipment and I don't have to deal with setting everything up, taking everything down, dealing with the clean-up, having a place to store everything, or the actual culling. Well worth it in my book!!!
  10. mamalaoshi

    mamalaoshi Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 18, 2013
    Roy, WA
    I bet if you are helping her with processing her birds along with your own, it's not an imposition. It's so much faster and easier with a couple of hands rather than just yourself.

    As for equipment, our county rents out the complete set of featherman processing equipment for $20 a day. I tried it out for the 8 roosters we slaughtered this summer. The scalder was the thing I liked the best. But for all the set up and clean up, plus picking up and dropping off the equipment, it wasn't much less work than just doing it the old fashioned way for that number of birds- my husband makes a noose that he nails to a fence or tree to hang them by their feet and we just boil water in all our pots on the stove and keep refilling a five gallon bucket for scalding them in. He also just bought a hunting knife/razor blade thing that has snap off blades so the blade is always sharp. He got it at some outdoors store.

    I think the special equipment would become worthwhile if I had twenty or more birds I wanted to process. Next summer, I think I'll see if my neighbors want to join in and we all do it together with the county's equipment.

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