Tips on harvesting roosters needed to speed up process.


9 Years
Dec 25, 2010
Sulphur Louisiana
I've killed plenty of ducks and game birds so I employed some of what I know into the killing of 8 roosters today. These are some things I employed that may be of some help to others. Any input from you guys to help me speed up the processing of birds would be welcome. The butcher process took me right at 1.5 hours from start to finish.

1) I used heavy duty shears to decapitate the roosters. I got the shears (fiskars pruning shears) from Lowes. They have a serrated blade that quickly snips the head off and won't slip. Its quick and less messy than a hatchet or a knife.

2) If the bird has excessive pin feathers I skin them. I only had to do 2 of them this way. If excessive pin feathers are on wings or the butt then I will cut those off too. I like wings so I will only do that if its real bad.

3) I like to pluck as many of the easy feathers as I can, dip the bird in scalding water, then finish getting the majority of feathers off of the bird. This is the most time consuming thing and if there is any advice to make plucking faster then please do tell.

4) After plucking, I like to cut the legs off with the shears and then make an incision below the rib cage to pull the entrails out. Because roos are bony I always cut up the chest a little to make more room for my big hand to grab the entrails.

5) I like my birds real clean, so once I get em gutted, I take them to the water hose and use high pressure water to blast the cavity out and get the lungs and anything else in there out.

6) Finally I take them in the house and under the faucet I get the rest of the pin feathers out and then I put them in ice water until the next day.

Any tips on efficiency would be appreciated. I don't enjoy doing it and would love to decrease the time spent doing it. Thanks.
sounds like you know what the heck you are doing! a few experts posted on the stickies above, if you haven't read them you might try there . . . but like I said sounds like you got it down! My processor only leaves them in Ice for about an hour, then bags which I then freeze.
I find hand-plucking to be one of the easiest parts of processing. Find the ideal temperature for your scalding water, it's around 150 degrees for me, and dunk your bird up & down so the hot water gets to the skin. When I can easily slide a big wing feather out I know it's ready to pluck. I hang my birds by their tied-together feet to a metal yard swing frame so I have both hands to use for plucking. I run my hands down the bird, against the direction of their feather growth, and it's almost like wiping the lint out of a dryer trap, the feathers come out that easy. Those canvas gloves with the rubber dots are also helpful for plucking. If there are a lot of pin feathers I can usually get them out by running a dull knife against the grain.
Nice!! Thanks for the tip. I will hang them and will use the gloves. I had a pair too!! Thats why I asked the peeps on here. I knew someone would give me some good tips.
A little dish soap in the water help wet the feathers a bit more.

Build a drill mounted plucker. Plucking will become a non-event with one of these. If you have the least amount of skills, you can do it.


A knife used correctly eliminates the need to use shears on the leg joint. Less tools to clean up.

I make an upside down "Y" incision for cleaning. Start at the tip of the breast bone down to the vent. Go slightly off to both sides, grab the vent, lift up, and trim off from the underside, so you do get any guck inside.

Sounds like you pretty much have it otherwise.
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my dad has a chicken plucker, but like the contraption shown above, you have to move the bird over the fingers. he wants to build a whiz-bang plucker, and i'm in agreement with that; from what i've seen they do a bang up job!

as far as the pin feathers, have you tried singeing them? ( i didn't see it mentioned above, but i may have overlooked it)

we've always got a torch at the ready and singe all the birds
DH built a Whiz-Bang plucker (including the expensive kit from Mr. Whiz-Bang, but time was of the essence) and it does an absolutely fantastic job. Scald a couple of birds, start the plucker going, drop 'em in, and very shortly you have astonishingly clean birds. Since we have about 100 to process this year, it will be completely essential to the operation.

I think perhaps the torch is used for hair feathers; IIRC the pin feathers are the regular feathers that are in the process of emerging.

Outstanding!! Thanks for sharing. I will look at getting the rubber fingers contraption for a drill and will get a cheap drill just for this purpose. Anything that makes plucking a non factor is what Im looking for.
What did you make the rubber fingers out of? Or did you buy them somewhere?

I make an upside down "Y" incision for cleaning. Start at the tip of the breast bone down to the vent. Go slightly off to both sides, grab the vent, lift up, and trim off from the underside, so you do get any guck inside.

+1 to that. Can't stand getting poo inside my food, so I take extra care with that step and get a really clean carcass.​

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