Thursday, August 11, 2011

Our New Tools

It was chicken processing day, Rob from Wild Sage Homestead and a friend were joining us to learn how to process a chicken. The whole family was excitedly gathered around. Tim went to work a little late that morning. Our thirteen year old even posted on Facebook that he was excited about the morning's event. The kids couldn't wait to get started.

What was all the excitement about? We've processed hundreds of chickens, and the kids normally make themselves scarce on processing day. This was no ordinary processing day though. This was the day we got to use our new chicken processing tools, a plucker, and an eviscerating table.

Thanks to the help and support of the community, we were awarded grant money that enabled us to step up the whole process of processing. Thank you Gail Patton of Unlimited Future, who has been a cheerleader for us all along and got the ball rolling on funding for a plucker. Additional funding received from CAFE Huntington, and matching funds from Create Huntington allowed us to purchase a ready assembled plucker, and a table designed for the job of processing. Remaining funds will be used for some more kill cones, and a new water pump for our rain water collection system.

So the big question of course, is how did our new tools work? I couldn't be more pleased. The plucker turns my twenty minutes hand plucking into a two minute job. And even more importantly, it does a nice clean job. Even after spending a lot of time hand plucking, it seemed I was never done. I would keep finding feathers I missed. The plucker machine gets the birds clean. It does miss a little on the inside of the wings, and occasionally the thigh, but finishing up those areas only requires another minute or two.

The table allows me to stand up instead of hunching over like I used to. There is a convenient hole to drop all the mess through.  When you're done a simple spray of the hose, and the remaining mess washes down the drain, and leaves you a clean slate for the next bird. 

I am so thankful for these new tools! With them we will be able to process and sell a lot more chickens!

And in case you're wondering, the excitement for the kids didn't last. The youngest two pressed the on switch on the plucker a couple of times, and then disappeared. The older two did stick around to help. Kellen is the kill cone master, and Lydia does a great job picking any remaining feathers. Their excitement over the plucker may have faded quickly. Mine, however, has not! I am still thrilled, and looking forward to using it again!


  1. How many birds did you do starting off, Steph? Also, did you try and "over clean" the birds to see if there was any damage to the meat?

  2. The first one we did, we dipped it too long, and the skin ripped more than I wanted but no damage to the meat at all.

  3. I was just passing through and popping on blogs that I've never been on before. So greetings folks from Lebanon county's Amish community. Richard