Please help world's worst plucker :P


Flock Mistress
12 Years
Apr 20, 2007
Ontario, Canada
Man, I just canNOT pluck chickens
I did 5 six week old CornishX yesterday that still look like they came from a hybridization experiment between chickens and porcupines, and have hairy armpits somethin' fierce.

I am fine with plucking Actual Feathers, but the pinfeathers (am I using the term correctly here?), you know, where it's still jsut a little pointy quill 1/2" long... there are way way too darn many of them, and some are socketed in there too darn tight.

Is there an age at which there are fewer of the darn things? Short of total maturity, I mean (I did not have this problem with the 15 wk old dual-purpose bird I processed last month, but obviously that is not an option for CornishX).

Is there some technique or trick for gettin' them out? Would one of those drill-mounted pluckers take care of them? (I would be real surprised, but am asking hopefully, just in case
) I've tried dry plucking, scalding, scalding less, scalding more, rubber gloves, and pliers. Not happy with any of them.

I love roast chicken skin -- roast porcupine skin, though, not so much

And while I'm whini- er, asking, is there any good way of dealing with the little hairlike feathers on the undersides of the wings? I finally, round about chicken #4, figured out that they come out dry-plucked better than they do once they're wet, but still.

Thanks for any suggestions,

Pat, first porcupine-hybrid roasting in the oven right now, half hour to go
I encountered that same thing when I butchered some roos last week. I wound up re-scalding, and rubber kitchen gloves are a big help to get those pinfeathers out. Many will come out by rubbing with the gloves on, after you re-scald. The ones I couldn't get a grip on, I could see under the skin because they were dark feathers, I squeezed from below, most of them popped out when I did that. A few really big "roots" that I couldn't get a grip on, I sliced the skin just a little and got out that way. I brined these birds, so when I got tired of messing with them, I just packed them in the brine and finished with the pinfeathers the next day, before I pressure canned part and froze the rest.
Had the same problem and used a kitchen scratchy pad ( those green 3M things ). Don't know what they're officially called but it you back brush the skin slightly they either come out or loosen up. Hope this helps.
Good idea, Mtnhomechick, I hadn't thought of the green scratchy, I always have those.

The pin feather problem is worse at this time of year, moulting season.

Chicabee19, I know a lot of people skin to avoid plucking, but if you like the skin, (it's one of my favorite things) then learning to pluck is nice.

I did try skinning before, and it wasn't any easier, IMO. Wings are hard to skin. I know some people throw those away too, but wings are my favorite part. Besides, I hate wasting any part of a creature I've killed for meat. It just seem disrespectful.
not sure why ~ but from some experience, seems if you hold the chicken upside down for about 5 - 7 minutes before killing them, the feathers seem to come out faster. We just have the kids wait in line with the next chicken to get processed. If you start out with about 3 kids in line, and add a few more neighbors, you can get quite a line going, and all the chickens upside down, waiting in line ~ :-D

Of course, a nice hot dip in conjunction with that upside down business seems to help quite a bit as well.
And if you can get the same kid that was hold ing a chicken to take it over on the sidelines and pluck it after the hot dip, even better ... it's amazing how fast thise things can get done, lol.
whenever chickens are growing new feathers, you get pin feathers..
timing is the key word..
but if you are doing young birds, you cannot avoid them.

I would scald and rough pluck them first..

then I would get some duck wax and go a second round..

save this batch of feathers and you can reclaim most of the wax and reuse it..

remember, pinfeathers are a good source for calcium and protein in your diet..LOL


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