NFU Mutual Smallholding Insurance

Author Topic: Plucking  (Read 365 times)


  • Joined May 2016
« on: March 23, 2019, 04:53:50 am »

I’m planning on putting a number of eggs in the incubator next week and from the hatchings I’ll no doubt get a number of cockerels. I’m
Thinking these will end up been table birds.

I’ve hand plucked before with the odd one or two but any more than a couple will take quite a while. I was looking at these plucking machines on eBay.

Has anyone used these before and do they really work like the you tube videos show?

Voss Electric Fence


  • Joined Dec 2011
  • Gascony, France
Re: Plucking
« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2019, 07:18:30 am »
They do work, but according to a study by the University of Arkansas, result in 2 ½ times tougher meat. The key element to plucking is the 'scalding' beforehand, which is immersing the carcass in hot water for a short period. The actual temperature varies between 52 and 60 degrees- subject to experiment. The hotter the water the easier the feathers come out but also the easier the skin tears. Young birds will be quite delicate and need a lower temperature. Storey's guide to Raising Chickens by Gail Damerow covers the subject in detail.

If you didn't scald your chickens first DenisCooper, that will by why hand plucking took so long. You will need a vary large pot sufficient to immerse the chicken fully without overflowing. It will probably be too big for your cooker so you will need a floor standing burner. This is something we are looking at as we intend to breed for meat next year.


  • Joined Feb 2016
Re: Plucking
« Reply #2 on: March 23, 2019, 08:37:02 am »
I used to put birds in the sink and put kettle water over them. It works very well on softening the feathers but obviously scales the skin so depending on what you want to do with the bird it might not be the best option.

If you think plucking a chicken is difficult - try to pluck a duck or a goose. Chicken will take 10 mins. A goose 2 hours.
Growing loads of fruits and vegetables! Raising dairy goats, chickens, ducks, geese rabbits and a little boy on 1/2 acre in the middle of the city of Leicester, using permaculture methods.


  • Joined May 2016
Re: Plucking
« Reply #3 on: March 23, 2019, 09:25:49 am »

I’ve only tried dry plucking so far so will
Give the wet plucking a go and see
How I get on.

Thank you


  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Plucking
« Reply #4 on: March 23, 2019, 10:08:07 am »
We always aim to pluck the choox immediately, while the body is still warm.  Saves having to reheat the feathers and skin later ;)
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing



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