What cuts butchering time in half when raising chickens? A chicken feather plucker.
Raising chickens for food is an economical and healthier alternative to grocery store purchases. You monitor what they consume (omitting the overuse of steroids, vaccines and/or quick grow feeds) while deciding how large to grow your chickens based on your family’s needs.
But what about all those feathers to pluck? We’ll get to saving time and money on chicken pickers below.
Let’s just step back a moment in case you’re not entirely convinced that raising chickens is the healthier alternative for your family’s meals. If you don’t think the chicken you buy in the grocery stores is quite possibly loaded with steroids, chemicals, antibiotics and hormones, do a quick search on google for the thousands of fines laid annually on commercial poultry growers in the United States and Canada. You’ll never eat chicken or poultry that you didn’t grow yourself again!
Raising chickens is one thing. Easy enough if you have a little extra space. Butchering or processing the birds is an altogether different challenge! It doesn’t have to be difficult and you don’t need to do it yourself if you’re uneasy about the process. I urge everyone to at least try it once. You will be filled with pride when you not only raise and care for your chicken but also butcher, pluck, gut, and bag that meal every time you open your freezer door.
There are two alternatives to preparing your birds for the freezer:
- hire a professional to kill, clean, pluck and wrap (around here it costs approximately $5 per bird), or
- do it yourself (it really isn’t that challenging). If you need advice on the process drop me an email, or buy the book "Raising Chickens Right" for complete instructions that you can read offline, print out or easily reference at any time.
Processing your own poultry for the freezer is time consuming work but when you consider the alternatives (eating all those chemicals and hormones) it is time well spent. Plus, there are shortcuts and ways to ease the pain of laboring over plucking chicken feathers all day.
Time Saver #1: Chicken Feather Plucker
The longest and more tiresome part of the job of preparing home raised chickens for the freezer is plucking all those darn feathers.
Although incredibly helpful to the task of plucking your own birds, the two items I use and suggest are often sold out online. To make matters worse, the website I usually purchase from is not particularly helpful in revealing the date when more are expected to arrive. However, they are the only website offering these products. Even the local country feed and seed stores don’t sell these (although for the life of me I don’t understand why not)!
(You might want to click through those links to check if they’ve come in since my time of writing – they seem to come into stock during summer months.)
I did find that McMurray Hatchery was selling similar pluckers to the ones you’ll see in my resources but their prices range from $500 to $1000 – I just couldn’t with good conscience let you spend that much money for a small home flock when I know much cheaper exist.
You’ll find a lot of links online to create your own chicken feather plucker – but you can tell just by looking at them they aren’t going to last for more than 3 birds, 10 at maximum by the looks of the ones I’ve seen. Who has time and money to spend just to create something that barely does the job and only has the power to do a few birds before it collapses?
If you have ample time and you’re handy, you can buy a book to build your own chicken feather plucker – the mechanical tub variety is the only style worthy of your efforts.
If you’re short on time (waiting on a how-to book, gathering the supplies required, building the darn thing) – gosh that’s a few months anyway – you’re probably best off spending the money to buy new or risking the money to buy a second hand model.
When available I’ll show a few chicken feather pluckers for small scale farmers that I know and trust.
Chicken Feather Plucker for Sale
Not always in stock, but handy when they’re available and very durable. If you plan on raising chickens for many years, these are the feather pluckers. Be sure too, to check out the hand drill attachment for plucking chicken feathers.