Plucking a Turkey


12 Years
Oct 9, 2007
la porte, In
We have a large scalding pot probably holds about 25 gallons of water. But as far as plucking it's the same as plucking a chicken.
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11 Years
Aug 20, 2008
Shepherdsville, KY
My mom said to dry pluck like you would a duck.... Since I've never done it, I too would like to know if dry plucking would work or should you water process like a chicken...

Ann Marie


12 Years
May 23, 2007
Clarion County
I know I can skin but would like to dress for table so, I hope someone comes to let us know!!!

& if dry plucking is the way to go (how do you do that)


Coturnix Obsessed
11 Years
Jul 18, 2008
Indiana, Pennsylvania
Quote:Just grab the feathers and pull.
I use my thumb and pointer finger mostly to grab a few select feathers at once and pull. Pretty much like you'd pull a hair out of your own head, but probably need less force.


11 Years
Mar 11, 2008
My husband put a larger motor on our whizbang plucker (from his table saw) and used that. Worked pretty good!


11 Years
Apr 5, 2008
Hastings, Nebraska
The only difference between plucking a turkey and chickens is the size of the scalder.
If you use a scalder.

For chickens we use a turkey fryer to heat the water for scalding.

For turkeys we found this was not big enough for Great White and BB bronze and larger Heritage Turkey's. For those we used a heavy duty garbage can on the propane heater from our smoker. They also get really heavy when wet. We finally ended up using my engine cherry picker to lift them out of the scalder.

Dry plucking is the same as wet plucking, you just don't dip the bird in hot water so you don't have the wet bird small. But Scalding it a lot easier to get the large feathers out.

When plucking do the larger feather first while the bird is the warmest. As it cools down it gets hard to get the large feather.

Pull the feathers in the direction they lay on the bird.

Don't grab to many at a time as this may cause the skin to tare.

Once you have plucked run, cold water over the bird to help it cool down faster.

Pin feathers, or the tiny thin hair like feather that remain can be scraped off with a butter knife.

When plucking larger feather there may be a gel like substance. This is normal it part of the feather. Just wipe it off.

Some Turkey feathers tend to leave the die behind after plucking. Just wash it off when you do the cool down wash. Or when you do the final washing. (This is why most commercial birds are white.)

The last batch we did I finally got a cup type plucker, that you put on a cordless drill working. It was very fast but we had feathers all over. But it didn't get the larger wing and tail feathers. Also when you reverse the direction of the plucker is removes a lot of the pin feathers.

As far a skinning a turkey, when you bake or slow cook poultry you need the skin to help keep the meat from drying out.

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11 Years
Jun 20, 2008
East Cent Minnesota
Quote:I'll agree with all but the last sentence. Yes it helps, but I found if you pat the skinned bird dry and lightly mist it with those new cans of spray olive oil it says as moist as if the skin is on. No more plucking for this guy.

Oh and you might find a pliers handy on the biggest wing feathers. Least wise I used to!

My 2 cents worth.


In the Brooder
7 Years
Jul 25, 2012
I just finished butchering 14 large BB turkeys. They weighed from 19 to 34 pounds. Here's our process:
Hand the bird by their feet, holding their wings to their sides.
Hook a weight through their beak to hold them down as when you cut their throat, the wings flap and can hurt you if you don't hold them.
I hold the wings and my husband cuts their throat and goes up into their brain. We read that if you do this, it helps with the release of the feathers.
I personally don't know if this works but this is the way we have done it so don't know any different.
After the bird had bleed and died, we carry it to the butcher table where we have both dry picked and scalded.
I much prefer the scalding and then we use the plucker. I wish I had the washing machine tub type but I have the the

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