processing insights


12 Years
Feb 16, 2007
Peoria IL
third time for us to process birds.

our first ever batch was 22 corishx this spring

bought heavy bread roo chicks for a second batch.

took the first 12 of those roo's 2 weeks ago.

took the last 21 or so today. Avg weight was about 4 lbs. up a half pound over the ones 2 weeks ago. The large breed roos have very little breast meet but have MASSIVE legs and thighs

-finally got shrink bags and some "safe food handling" stickers.

What a difference in final product. Actually looks like something people are used to buying in the store. I think its WELL worth the .25 per bag for the finished product. (fyi an order of 100 bags, plus cheep pliers with crimps and stickers with shipping was $50) We shrunk them in a large pot on the kitchen stove. no "dunk" basket required.


Processing table continues to be a slow point. Despite having our friend (free help) that has done all 3 processings with us working the table, she hasnt gotten any faster and quality is an issue. We struggled with moving live birds from the pasture pen to the cones this time, a process that required 2 people. With only a 3 man crew this time it ment the processing table often only had one person at it, meaning it was slow and there wasn't that second pair of eyes for QC (an issue that came up later)

-need to improve moving the birds from the pasture pen to the cones. Im Unwilling to spend SIXTY dam dollars on a plastic confinement cage to move birds!

-if your not directly running the processing table yourself, you need to have a 2 set of eyes to run QC. A system that seems to produce the best results is a 3 man table. The guy who runs the cones/scalder/plucker cuts heads and feet after he drops them on the table, goes back to cones..... Person 1 on the table guts. Person 2 takes neck, and lungs as well as QC check.

- make sure your slit at the rear of the bird (to gut the inside) is just above the vent. If not you end up cutting off the section of skin at the back that you need to "tuck legs" This was a QC issue that was noticed to late.

- tuck the legs at the rear, makes for a much nicer finished product especially in a shrink bag

- my pluck'n pro (my version of a wizbang) continues to show why its worth building one.

- my scalding setup continues to need improvement. while the garbage can certainly holds enough water (not requiring any water refills for all 21 birds) and easily takes 3 birds at a time, the current setup takes FOREVER (and a day) to bring up to temp. I have spent significant time cussing at my turkey fryer burner (for lack of output). Mental note really spend time F'n with the burner and NOT when you want to start processing birds.

- a 60 deg day for processing is much nicer than 90 deg day. but your processing table peeps will quickly start to complain about cold hands, personally i dont know what they were talking about, mine were nice and toasting from repeated splashing about in 150 deg water.
Large breed roos. of the 21 we did it was like 14 buff orps 6 or so RIR, one mystery white roo who was a BIG boy and a terror at that!

OH one thing to note.

on the bags. we got the broiler 3-5 lbs bags. they arnt kidding on the size range. the 4.5 lb boys were snug. on avg the 4.0 lbs fit nicely. I'd imagine 5.0lb cornish x will be tight. over that it may be a challange to (as they say) fit 6 lbs into a 5 lb bag.
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got ours from the above site (that i linked) that sells the bags. They have 2 types....


and the ones we got so we could right process date and weight


Edit: keyword search safe food handling instructions
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Great post and link. In regards to your scalder prob. etc. I don't know if you would be interested or if it's available in your state/county, but we can rent the whole set up-- cones, plucker, scalder, table, etc. for $20 from the county agg ext. office. It sounds like you'll be processing enough to make it worthwhile to have your own stuff, but renting one might help you fine-tune yours.

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