one of our recent acquisitions was a chicken plucker. we were looking for a drum plucker, but when we found this one on Craig's list for $100, Dave decided that it would work just fine.
we did quite alot of work on it: new "fingers", new paint, motor, plug and switch. so, the final cost was somewhere around $don'tevenaskbecauseyoudon'treallywanttoknow.
however, it works like a charm! Dave is the only one who has run it so far, since it spins really fast, and you really have to hold onto that chicken! (or else he'll go flying and be spit out the back and bottom of the drum!)
first, the chicken needs to be scalded (it goes without saying that the chicken is already dead...) in water that is no more than 145 degrees. then Dave flops him (i keep saying "him" because if you'll remember, all the meat birds we raise are the Cornish cross cockerels) onto the plucker, and holds on for dear life! pretty soon, 97% of the feathers are removed.
next in our little assembly line is G, and he tidies up the bird, removes the feet, crop, tail and head. he also removes the neck, and then passes the bird onto me.
i gut him, do any final cleaning and then rinse him off for the final time. i tuck the chicken into a neat looking package, and then I'll weigh and bag him. (it makes it much easier to have the chickens weighed before the customers come to pick them up- it goes so much smoother and faster that way.)
the chicken plucker has saved us untold hours, and even earned us money. with the addition of the skins and neck (tucked into the cavity) our birds have consistently weighed slightly over 5 pounds, with a few even over 6 pounds!
our goal is to continue to improve our product and cut down our cost to raise them. the chicken plucker has at least helped with the first part of that objective!