Chicken Pluckin!!

Occasionally, I post a little about our homestead….  So, I thought you might be interested in today’s activities.

We are finally getting settled into our new place and figured we’d raise a few broilers for ourselves and a few friends.  Nothing like good free-range grass-fed chickens that are hormone and chemical free!

So, mid-March we took delivery of 65 chicks for the first time in several years.  The start was a bit rocky considering we lost about 25 on dumb rookie errors.  (Mostly, the boys were careless…  hard lessons.)  By today, butcher day, we had 40 rather plump birds.

The rest of the story in pictures and captions…

The Beast knows that 9.9% of al people will do whatever is asked if only they can be fed... We use feed supplement with our birds, and they missed yesterday's meal.  Wana guess how easy it was to round up 40 free ranging birds?  Small cagem feed in a scoop about 10 minutes with ZERO running/chasing involved...  Lesson!

The Beast knows that 99.9% of all people will do whatever is asked if only they can be fed… We use feed supplement with our birds, and they missed yesterday’s meal. Wanna guess how easy it was to round up 40 free ranging birds? Small cage and feed in a scoop = about 10 minutes with ZERO running/chasing involved… Lesson!

 

We set up in a line with several 'stations.'  Here is the scald and de-feather station. Pictured is a homemade chicken plucker using Miles Kimball's 'Whizbang Chicken Plucker' plans.  45 seconds to pretty much strip a bird.  Notice the thermometer prob in the water with reader mounted on a stake.  We find 153 degrees is the right temp for scalding the birds to release the feathers.

We set up in a line with several ‘stations.’ Here is the scald and de-feather station. Pictured is a homemade chicken plucker using Miles Kimball’s ‘Whizbang Chicken Plucker’ plans. 45 seconds to pretty much strip a bird.

Nother Chicken Plucker pic...

Nother Chicken Plucker pic…

Inside the plucker...

Inside the plucker…

On the right is the cleaning/gutting station and then on the left is the packing station.  Coolers and ice are waiting for the birds as they come off the end.

On the right is the cleaning/gutting station and then on the left is the packing station. Coolers and ice are waiting for the birds as they come off the end.

And, the whole overview..

And, the whole overview..

My eldest working on birds...

My eldest working on birds…

More 'surgery'....

More ‘surgery’….

Packaged in heat-shrink baggies waiting for dipping in 190 deg water.

Packaged in heat-shrink baggies waiting for dipping in 190 deg water.

And, an example of the final product.   x 40.

And, an example of the final product. x 40.

Already planning to do this again in the fall with more birds.

Lessons learned?

  • We charged too little for those who supported us…  First clue was that when we sent the email out, all birds were sold/accounted for in less than 20 minutes.  Second clue was everyone who stopped to pick up cited paying twice as much elsewhere…
  • Charge extra for processing and give a discount to any who want to help…
  • Raise many more birds…

Certainly, this wasn’t a profit venture.  We barely broke even, but it is good training for the boys and helps us and our friends with quality meat.

Now to figure out how to free range with the goats in the back paddocks.  Hmmm.  Got to keep the birds safe, but so much pasture…  Can we do 150 at a time?? I’ll keep you posted.

 

About Pete Rambo

Details in 'About' page @ natsab.wordpress.com Basically, husband of one, father of four. Pastor x 11 years, former business and military background. Micro-farmer. Messianic believer in Yeshua haMashiach!
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3 Responses to Chicken Pluckin!!

  1. Marilyn says:

    Wonderful to read a bit more about the homestead! Thanks for another update. I think you meant Herrick Kimball’s Whizbang chicken plucker.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. i like to buy mine already plucked, eviscerated, and in the bag. Frozen is even better. We don’t eat much chicken, however. Pastured eggs we’ve had for 15 years, but i’m planning on even retiring from them. The children are grown and we have neighbours who raise hens on pasture and non-gmo grains from whom I can buy eggs. It’ll be weird not having chickens around – but i bet i’ll get used to it! 😉 Also selling off all my sheep by the 1st of November, too. Been working too hard and getting worn out! what a great project you guys have done here and i really like the plucker you built. I picked up the book on how to build it from interlibrary loan and it looked like that was beyond my carpentry skills. We only have 14 old hens left – we’ll do them by hand.

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