I do NOT like pinfeathers!!!

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Sunny Side Up, Dec 28, 2009.

  1. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

    Mar 12, 2008
    Loxahatchee, Florida
    I processed 3 mixed-breed roosters today, 2 of them were about 24 weeks old and the 3rd was just 17.5 weeks. With so few birds to do at once I decided to pluck by hand. The first two went very well, with lots of good hot water for scalding it only took about 7 minutes to pluck each of them. "This really isn't so bad", I thought, "why does everyone complain so much about the chore of plucking chickens?"

    Then I started on the 3rd one. All of his sprouted feathers came out just as easily as the others', but underneath he was covered with lots & lots & lots of pinfeathers! He looked like a porcupine or a hedgehog, like a pincushion, like a 3-days'-growth of beard. He was a black-feathered bird with white skin so it just looked nasty. There were too many to pull out with my fingers, and it's just too disgusting to pinch the skin below each one to pop them out. I don't like the way the black goo oozes out of them.

    I dipped him again in the scalding water & used a knife to scrape against his skin, first against the growth to get most of them out, then with the growth to push out the remainder. There still are some more inbedded in the skin like ingrown hairs, I may go ahead & skin him completely before cooking.

    I've never had a bird with this many pinfeathers at processing time. But I usually let my roos grow out to 18-20 weeks before butchering. I'm going to look more closely at my candidates and pay better attention to their age before the next session.

    Is there a better way to remove such a quantity of pinfeathers? Please share your technique!

  2. andisgarden

    andisgarden Songster

    Mar 14, 2009
    I also had a question, I scalded and plucked one of my hens a couple months ago and she had these little hair like things on her skin after I plucked her and I had a terrible time getting them out. They were about an inch long and sporadic what are they and how do I easily remove them?

  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    I do not have a better technique. I wonder if it was not so much the age of the third one but that he might be going through a juvenile molt? Just a thought.

    I have tried skinning an older rooster, a 30 week old Speckled Sussex. That was really hard. The skin seemed attached by something similar to ligaments or tendons. I've skinned younger roosters, like around 18 weeks old, and did not have near the problem.

    Andisgarden, the best way I know of the remove those hairs is to burn them off. I don't bother removing them now, but when I was growing up I'd take a sheet of newspaper, set it on fire, and sort of roll the bird in the flames.
  4. MaggieRae

    MaggieRae Songster

    Apr 12, 2009
    North Texas
  5. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

    Mar 12, 2008
    Loxahatchee, Florida
    Most, if not all chickens have those fine hairs which can easily be singed off. You can hold the bird over a flame or oven burner to remove them. And while many birds will have those pinfeathers, I've never had one with so very very many of them. I've butchered other birds that were this young, though most of the ones I do are older. I like for them to grow as meaty as possible before processing. And at the last few sessions I skinned the birds, so don't know what they looked like under the feathers.

    It could just be a quirk of this individual bird.

    The last time I butchered I brought my 3 birds to a friend's house who had made a Whiz-Bang Plucker and was eager to share/show it off. I wonder if the Whiz-Bang would have made quick work of these pinfeathers. I looked at those photos of the wax-plucked bird & noticed it also left a lot of pinfeathers behind. I find that regular hand-plucking of scalded chickens to not be such a bad chore, it takes only a few minutes to get most of the feathers off, and then a few minutes more to remove the remainder. There are usually a few pinfeathers that require a bit of fiddling to get out, maybe 10 or so, but this guy had a few hundred!
  6. CARS

    CARS Songster

    I mentioned in a different thread that the local processing places wont work with anything but Cornish X's for this very reason. They have to do thousands of birds a day, playing around for hours dealing with pinfeathers just isn't going to happen.
  7. jaku

    jaku Songster

    I love my Whizbang. A good scald is the key to plucking, but even with that, plucking is a horrible job in my opinion.

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