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How long *should* it take me to skin and proccess a chicken?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Tam'ra of Rainbow Vortex, Sep 26, 2011.

  1. I am fairly new at this (proccessed total: 20 roosters, 3 hens spread over 4 occasions) and I feel like it takes forever!

    I am learning every time (and now own a set of knives designed for proccessing) so I am getting faster and more efficient.
    Saturday, I decided to time how long it took me to deal with 7 roosters and I took the average. 1 hour, 20 minutes per chicken. This is an agonizng pace! AND it doesn't count rinsing and packaging the meat, which I did on Sunday.

    Most of this time, of course, is skinning. I save and preserve the pelts for feathers, so plucking isn't an option. I am the only one I know who can handle the viscera, so I am on my own mostly. Once the dead bird comes to me, no one can help until it comes out of the freezer for dinner.

    I am curious what an attainable speed goal would be. How long does it take other people to skin, gut, and piece a chicken? I am sure I skin a tad more carefully than most because I know the value of a chicken pelt ($100+ easily) but even being sloppier couldn't save too much time if you want all the skin off.

  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Free Ranging

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    I feel your pain.
    When it comes to processing, I have to do everything from start to finish. Catching the bird to vacuum sealing.
    I found the same thing. Takes me forever. Having very sharp knives is half the battle.
    I've been told it takes 20 minutes skinning. It takes me 30 if I hurry. That's start to finish(except final rinsing and packaging)

    If I skin, I don't save the back. I know I lose a good source of soup but not much meat.
    I part out the wings, breasts and legs. By inserting the knife just under the ribcage I can access the liver and heart without needing to pull everything else out.
  3. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Well... since you are saving the pelts, not sure if you can compare it to anyone who is just skinning for the meat. Skinning for the meat and gutting them out only takes like 10-20 minutes each depending on the age of the bird and how many total... however, that skin that gets torn off isn't in a pretty pelt shape at all. I've probably done a few hundred birds to get to this point. My first few probably took an hour each to pluck.
  4. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Free Ranging

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    good point about the pelt silkie

    OP do you actually keep the whole cape - scalp and all?
  5. CrazyFowlFreak

    CrazyFowlFreak Pine Hill Farm

    Apr 24, 2009
    Dh and I just processed 8 chickens and it took 2 hours and 20 minutes. We skinned them. I will say the Wyandottes were much more difficult to skin than the production reds.
  6. remuda1

    remuda1 Songster

    Jun 12, 2011
    Granbury, Texas
    Quote:How come, Freaky?
  7. Quote:I keep everything from the base of the skull down. The head feathers are too small to be of much use and really aren't worth removing the blood to save (not to mention the top of the pelt would be all jagged) but I use all the others. I just have to keep telling myself its worth the time it takes. And I know I will get faster. I think my first one on Saturday took about 2 1/2 hours (I was getting used to new knives and had only previously skinned 3 chickens before) but by the 4th one I think I was down to an hour or less.
    I was just curious what a reasonable amount of time is. Tack on some extra time to keep the skin pretty, and I will have my new goal.

    It is interesting you say wyandottes are harder to skin. I have skinned 4 breeds: Barred rock (my first! I spent about 4 hours on him) Cochin and wyandotte (took me over 6 hours for the pair) and my 7 Aloha project culls this week (9 1/2 hours, give or take) I didn't really notice a difference in difficulty between the breeds, but it's been 1 1/2 years since that barred rock.

  8. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    I find age is the major factor on "toughness" vs the breed. The older the bird the tougher the connective tissues.
  9. Illia

    Illia Crazy for Colors

    Oct 19, 2009
    Forks, WA

    A normal aged cockerel for butchering (4-6 months) is quite easy and nice to skin. A cock over 2 years old, ugh!! Takes a lot of work.

    As for breed I've never noticed a difference, and I've skinned over 10 birds of over 14 different breeds.
  10. CrazyFowlFreak

    CrazyFowlFreak Pine Hill Farm

    Apr 24, 2009
    All of the birds we processed yesterday were 5-6 months old. DH found the Wyandottes just more difficult to skin. Not sure why. They did have a thicker layer of fat under their skin, so that may have been why. Of course, the rooster was the most difficult to skin. He also bit the crap out of DH as he was carrying him up the hill from the coop to the cone. [​IMG] You should have heard Dh, the most calm, even tempered, peaceful man I know holler, "That's IT! You are the FIRST one to go, buddy!". [​IMG]

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