I skin all of mine. I aint standing there plucking, I'd go crazy
. So skining is faster for me and less messy. But I seen the dh do one and he got a turkey fryer going with boiling water and dipped the bird for a few mintues and the feathers seemed to come off easy. Or at least he made it look easy and quick. But they say skinless chicken is better for you lol
I pluck. Chickens do not skin as easy as a rabbit (rabbits are like peeling a bannana and have spoiled me
I heat water up in a turkey fryer - to 155 degrees. Dip the bird for a count of 20 or so, then try pulling a wing feather. If the wing feather slides out easy, pull the bird from the hot water - dunk in cold water for a few seconds (cools the skin to stop cooking/scalding) and then hang. If the wing feather does not pull easy, dip a little longer and try again. Most feathers can now be whiped right off the bird - little to no actual plucking (wings and tail).
Click here for a great tutorial video on skinning chickens. It also shows a great way to gut & clean them out.
However, when I tried this method of skinning, found it too tiresome for me. I guess I lack the arm strength to do it as easily as that guy does in the video. I found myself struggling to remove the slippery skin off the ends of the drumsticks & the wings were especially difficult to do. It was like trying to wrestle a really tight snowsuit off a fat little kid. And then there would be tiny bits of feather chaff getting stuck on the sticky surface of the skinned meat, and those were almost impossible to wash away later.
I pluck like HorseFeathers describes, and I too find it really easy to do. Once you get a good scald on the bird then plucking is almost as easy as cleaning the lint out of the clothes dryer trap.
I just did a drake today. and I think the hardest part was getting a good scald on them. Being waterproof, the soap was not penetrating as fast as I thought it would. BTW they have alot of down LOL. But after I got a few patches bare, the scald got into the other feathers much easier. It was still some work but I did find they pulled out nice. Alot like a young grass bed, just the tiniest of resistance