Scalding over Plucker

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by chickenwhisperer, May 21, 2010.

  1. chickenwhisperer

    chickenwhisperer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So I been thinking about this . . .
    Ive wanted to build my plucker, even have all the parts . . .
    Yesterday, I processed my 1st cornishx . . .

    After a 15 second or less dunk-n-swoosh in 150 degree water, the feathers RUBBED right off in prolly less than a minute.
    Put leather work gloves on, held the bird right over the garbage can and rubbed . . .

    I thought it was gonna be a PIA, but was prolly the easiest part of the process.

    Now I think about all those youtube vids of stanky wet feathers flying EVERYWHERE while using a plucker, and how much certain pluckers "beat the meat", I dont think I need one.

    I got the feathers off that chicken yesterday, seems like in less time than a plucker could(at least on YT), and didnt bruise or batter my bird.
    I honestly just rubbed them off.
    The few pinfeathers that were left came off after rubbing with my bare hand.

    Gimmie a few more for practice, and Im sure I can out-process anybody with a plucker, 20 chickens each.
     
  2. dancingbear

    dancingbear Chillin' With My Peeps

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    After I get a plucker built, sometime this fall, probably, I'd love to see you or anybody else, out-pluck the plucker with DP birds. You might find that a 6-8 week old half-nekkid-to-begin-with bird is less of a challenge than one with a full coat of feathers. Cornish crosses are easier to process, I have to agree on that.

    Even the crosses, though, the fastest I've ever managed to pluck one was maybe 15 minutes, usually it takes me longer. I've tried bare hands, kitchen gloves, nubbly blue-stuff coated gloves. The gloves helped, but I never managed to de-feather one in a mere minute, or anything close to that.

    I'd love to see how you do it, can you make a video and put it on YouTube? Watching videos improved my gutting speed and technique, I'd love to learn to pluck that fast.

    BTW, if your bird's properly bled out, it won't bruise from the plucker or anything else. Any bruising would have occurred pre-bleed-out.
     
  3. chickenwhisperer

    chickenwhisperer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    the cornishx I butchered was over 10 weeks and fully feathered.

    Ill do a vid next time I do it, so you can see . . .

    From slice in neck to fridge was just over 10 mins . . .
     
  4. al6517

    al6517 Real Men can Cook

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    Some folks are much more comfortable with the process than others, I too find hand plucking to be no big deal and also can process one totaly in about 7-8 min ea. It's just not that hard as so many folks make it out to be. glad you had a good experience with it, I have thought about the whole plucker thing myself and unless one just falls from the sky I will more than likely just stick to doing it the ole fashion way, nothing against the auto pluckers I think they are handy, I have always just hand plucked.

    AL
     
  5. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

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    I think if you're only doing a few birds at a session you don't really need a mechanical plucker, but if you're going to be doing a large quantity it would be worthwhile to have/make/borrow one. If you get a good scald it doesn't take long, I'm able to pluck a big dual-purpose roo in about 5 minutes.

    I find what really helps is to have a sturdy place to hang the bird by his feet at about shoulder height so you have both hands to use for plucking. I have a repurposed metal porch-swing frame for my plucking station.
     
  6. dancingbear

    dancingbear Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:I'm not "uncomfortable" about plucking and cleaning a chicken. But it still takes me a long time, when plucking by hand. I've learned how to get a good scald, so feathers come out easily, but it still takes me some time. Usually about 20 minutes per bird, sometimes longer. I have plucked by hand for YEARS, ever since we've been raising chickens, and when I was a kid, and I just am not fast at it.

    Maybe I am pickier about getting all of the pin feathers out or something.

    I don't have a lot of hand strength, and no longer have the dexterity I had when I was younger. I don't think I'm just "making it out" to be a bigger thing than it is.

    Quote:Now that I might try. I haven't ever hung them back up after scalding, I can see how that could help. Plucking on a flat surface, or in the sink, takes me a long time, though it's handy to have hot water right there to rinse the bird without cooling the skin.

    We're butchering 25 birds today, as soon as DH gets back from town.
     
  7. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

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    Oh my, yes, do try that. I've seen so many how-to videos on YouTube where the person is holding the bird with one hand and plucking with just the other hand and I find myself yelling at the 'puter monitor "Hang that bird somewhere instead and use BOTH hands for plucking!" You can use a zip-tie or piece of cord to bind the legs together and hang it from a wire hook on a tree branch, fence post, even a clothesline. But I prefer something solid to hang the bird from, so it isn't bending or swaying as I pluck.

    I keep the scalding pot handy, up on a wire milk crate nearby, so I can re-dunk the bird if needed. My hose is handy too, with a trigger sprayer if I need cool water.

    My girlfriend & I had two different men show us how they butcher chickens. After the second session we were not only convinced that we could now do the job ourselves, but were certain we could do a neater, more efficient job. The idea to hang the birds while plucking was one of our first improvements. I have a metal porch-swing frame from which I hung hooks made from sturdy bent wire. I made further improvements to this by bolting a 2X6 board across the top and screwed 3 home-made killing cones (a bleach jug, a cut-down traffic cone, and one made from a nursery pot). Now the hooks are fastened to the board between the cones. I use wire tomato cages to hold buckets (half-filled with leaves for absorption) under the cones to catch the blood. I will position a big lined garbage can under the hook while I'm plucking the bird.

    The last time I plucked I timed myself & it took about 5 minutes to get it 99% done.

    The worst plucking job was a young cockerel who was covered in pinfeathers! I didn't realize it at the time of dispatch, I think he was a bit younger than the other guys I was doing at that session. And he was a black bird too, which made it look worse. His outer feathers rubbed off easily to reveal a body covered with the stubble of black pinfeathers, about 3/4" long, all in the process of growing in. Yuck! I ended up skinning him. Now I check all the birds before butchering them.

    I rarely butcher more than 6 birds at a time, usually by myself, sometimes with one other helper. I will have one bird hanging to bleed while plucking & cleaning another. Each session goes easier & quicker. I probably won't ever make a mechanical plucker unless I had the whole family involved in processing many more birds at one session. Although I have a friend who made a WhizBang and is awfully proud of it. Sometimes I'll bring my birds for processing to his place, it's about a 40-minute drive, but fun anyway to see everyone there & have company while processing. He & his family will process about 25 birds at a time, which is why they made the WhizBang. But I think he would have built it anyway even for fewer birds, he thought it was fun, & loves to show it off.
     
  8. dancingbear

    dancingbear Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks, Sunny, I'll try your suggestions while waiting to build out plucker. We were talking yesterday about building a sort of rack to hold cones, and putting the plucking hooks between them is a great idea. I also like your idea of using the tomato cages and leaves (or hay, straw, wood chips, sawdust, whatever) to catch the blood. Then I could dump that right in the compost pile, with the carbon materials already mixed in.

    We still want a plucker, I don't think I'll ever get really fast at hand plucking. My hands are too stiff anymore. I'm not that old, but I've had hand and wrist issues for years. Carpal tunnel, (had release surgery, and it's much better, but there's still some problems) a weird thing called "trigger finger" where my fingers get stuck in a bent position, and arthritic changes at some old fracture sites. My DH has some of the same problems. Sometimes we also need to process up to 20-30 birds at a time. Neither of us let these these keep us from doing what we want, but we have to find easier ways to do it.

    I've gotten better at the gutting and cleaning, I can do a bird in 5-7 minutes, now, unless it's an older one with the really tough connective tissues. The younger birds are a snap. I know Joel Salatin guts in about 20 seconds, but that's only the gutting, not the head/neck removal, not removing the lungs, not cleaning the gizzard. He doesn't even keep the gizzards, but we do, my Del loves fried gizzards. So to take off the head, gut, remove the lungs, and clean the gizzard, it takes me 5-7 minutes. I've started leaving the necks attached, until I'm ready to cook the bird. That makes one less spot where there might be a sharp bone to poke a hole in the bag, (I almost always freeze them whole) and I'm less rushed when cooking than when I'm processing.

    We only got 11 birds done yesterday. It took us forever, about 4 hours, with both of us working on them. About 2/3 of that time was just plucking. I'll be trying to get the rest done, or at least some of them, during the week, but I'll be working by myself. So even doing maybe 6 birds is a lot of time.
     
  9. nivtup

    nivtup Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 24, 2008
    Shelton Washington
    It depends on quantity.

    A few birds, do it by hand.

    100 birds, build the plucker. 2 or 3 birds in 30 seconds is hard to beat.

    The "beating" the birds take does no damage as they are well past bruising.


    Or you can skin, but that is like a cake with no frosting.
     

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