The objective of this article is to show you how to defeather (plucking or removing the feathers) chickens and other poultry birds.
Dressing or processing poultry birds is a tedious task and it requires some level skills. Poultry meat processing involves several steps, which include:
- Stunning: This is a process of rendering a bird or animal unconscious
- Slaughtering: This step involves cutting the throat of the bird and allowing the blood to drain via the jugular vein
- Scalding: This step involves immersing the slaughtered chicken in hot water to loosen the feathers for easy plucking or removal
- Defeathering or Feather Plucking: This is the removal of the feathers either using the hand or using a machine
- Eviscerating: This is the removal of the inedible organs and viscera such as the crop, oesophagus, lungs, feet and intestines.
- Washing and Chilling: After evisceration, the carcasses are washed thoroughly with clean water and chilled in a refrigerator.
Of all those steps listed above, the most difficult and time-consuming part is defeathering or feather plucking. Getting rid of the feathers of a chicken is not an easy task
How to Remove the Feathers of a Chicken
- To defeather a chicken, you will first need to scald (dipping or immersing the chicken) in hot water (50oC – 60oC) for 2 minutes. This is done to soften or loosen the feathers.
- After step 1 is done, you can start removing the feathers. This particular step can be done by using the hands or using a deathering
Using the hands (manual) takes a long time and gets you tired quickly. On the other hand, using a plucking or defeathering machine makes the processing faster and easier to do.
How a Defeathering Machine Works
A defeathering machine is often designed as a cylindrical stainless steel jar mounted on a rectangular metal stand. The machine also has an electric motor. The inner surface of the machine has bullet-shaped rubber fittings (I call them rubber fingers).
When a slaughtered and scalded bird is dropped inside the de-feathering machine, the rubber fittings or fingers will get rid of the feathers as the electric motor rotates and the body of the bird rubs against the rubber feathers. The removed feathers come out at an opening below the machine. Within 5 minutes max, the feather removal process should have been completed.
Depending on the capacity or model of the de-feathering machine, 2-3 birds can be de-feathered within 5 minutes.
Where to Buy Defeathering Machines
Getting a defeathering machine can be quite difficult for someone living in a rural or remote area. However, if you find it difficult to get a seller nearby, you can place an order a feather plucking machine online on Afrimash or Aliexpress.