Have you always been interested in learning how to make a chicken plucker but didn’t know where to start?
Or are you struggling to pluck chickens manually?
Look no further because this comprehensive guide will show you step-by-step how to build a top-notch chicken plucker!
Here, we also briefly discuss the differences between plucking and skinning a chicken. We also shared a good-quality ready-made chicken plucker, so you don’t have to build one if you don’t want to.
Let’s get into it!
To Skin or To Pluck?
Plucking means removing the feathers from the bird so you can use or eat the skin.
Skinning means removing the skin, so you don’t have to pluck the feather, but you also lose the skin in your cooking.
Why People Pluck Feathers
The skin produces a juicier bird and retains more flavor.
The skin also holds a lot of beneficial nutrients, plus a significant amount of fat (which adds flavor to your dishes).
If your meat accidentally gets freezer burned, it’s easy to remove the skin, so the meat inside is protected and burn-free.
Plucking feathers means less of the bird is wasted too.
You can use the feathers and the skins in different but useful applications.
Even if you don’t like eating the skin, you can still easily feed it to other animals like cats, hogs, and dogs.
Why People Skin Chickens
Skinning chickens uses less equipment than plucking, and it may be a faster process since you don’t need to scald the carcass or remove all the feathers.
It is definitely a faster process when you only have a few birds.
Some people don’t like the flavor of chicken skin and don’t want to save it.
Skinning means less fat will be in the food, which is a benefit for some.
It’s common for beginner chicken keepers to skin the first few times just out of ease and convenience.
I also think that skinning allows you to disconnect from your food a little bit, which can be beneficial if you’re squeamish about eating an animal you just harvested on your own.
The bumps in the skin from the feathers are not always a welcome sight if you have a weak stomach.
At the end of the day, both methods have their advantages, and each has valid purposes.
Many people opt to use a combination of both, depending on their circumstances and the time available for processing.
How to Make a Chicken Plucker
We looked at dozens of homemade chicken plucker plans, and this seems to be the most effective and easiest option to create.
- Take a 35 or 55-gallon PVC drum or barrel, and cut off the bottom, making your cuts on the sides of the barrel and not the bottom of it.
- Create the turning mechanism using an X. Criss-crossed 2×4 boards are sufficient; secure them into the X position with screws.
- Remove and drill ½ inch holes in the drum lid.
- Drill ½ inch holes in the upper half of the drum.
- Drill four holes in the bicycle gear. They should be opposite each other, evenly spaced, and on the outer edges of the gear. These will make it so You can fit it into your plucking machine.
- Remove the top gear on your 24v 250w gear motor, and weld it to your bicycle gear. The small gear lays flat upon the larger.
- Screw the 24v 250w gear motor to a metal plate to it can be attached to the plucker.
- Now lay the welded gears back on the motor, with the original small gear touching the motor as it was previously.
- Place the motor and gears on the wooden X you created earlier. Run four screws through the holes you drilled into the large gear into the wooden X.
- Place two small boards into the barrel. They should sit horizontally in the bucket or barrel.
- Place the motor and gears down onto these two boards. Screw the motor into place using the metal plate for the attachment.
- Now, take the lid that you cut out, and run rubber chicken plucker pieces through the half-inch holes.
- Fill each of the ½ inch holes in the body of the barrel with more rubber chicken plucker pieces.
- Attach this lid to the top of the motor and gear with the rubber pluckers facing up.
- Run your power supply from the pluckers motor to a transformer adapter power supply.
- When you plug this adapter in, it will automatically turn on and begin running the plucker. It’s best to plug it into an extension cord with an on/off switch.
- Drop one scalded chicken carcass at a time, and splash with water as needed to help remove the feathers.
How to Make a Chicken Plucker: DIY Honorable Mentions
How To Make a Chicken Plucker from a Washing Machine
Gagnons Mountain Homestead created this plucker.
It is a relatively time-intensive project, but the end result looks very professional and is quick and efficient at plucking birds.
The washing machine motor is much faster and stronger than the bicycle motor, which is a nice bonus!
How to Make a Chicken Plucker Using A Drill Attachment
This is the fastest option; it only requires you to attach the plucker to your drill.
You can purchase this simple drill attachment and either create a holder using a bucket or drum or secure it down to a table so one person can operate it or two people can use it with no additional equipment.
You can use any drill, but we strongly recommend a heavy-duty drill because this is an intense project that will make it slip if you aren’t careful.
If there are two people to pluck the birds, one of you should run the drill while the other wears protective gloves and holds the bird.
Be sure you both wear clothes you don’t mind getting dirty in and put on some goggles.
The feathers will fly everywhere with this one; you’ve been warned!
Where to Buy a Chicken Plucker
If you’re not interested in making your own chicken plucker, that’s okay too!
This plucker is a dream to operate. It can pluck two to four birds at a time, and it will only take about 30 seconds to pluck each chicken.
This model sits on two locking wheels, and it’s pretty compact, so it’s easy to store and easy to move around.
It also has a detachable stainless steel tub, and the 92 soft fingers are replaceable.
It’s a breeze to clean and maintain because of that.
What To Do With the Feathers
After plucking your chickens, you’ll be left with a lot of feathers. They don’t have to go to waste, though!
You can use feathers to enrich the soil in your yard, garden, or pastures.
Chicken feathers are full of nitrogen and an excellent addition to your compost pile.
They will break down in a matter of months, so you won’t have to wait long to reap their benefits of them.
They boost plant growth and overall health, bring new life to your compost pile, and stabilize and support soil structure (plus the microorganisms that live within the soil).
Feathers are great for other projects too. They will take a little more prep work, but they are great material to work with.
Rinse the feathers well, allow them to air dry, and then place them in your freezer for a minimum of two weeks to kill off parasites and bacteria.
Scalding the birds before plucking does much of this anyway, but freezing is just an added security measure.
After this step is done, simply wash the feathers with gentle soap, rinse well, and let them dry.
You can let them air dry or put them in a tightly tied shut pillowcase so they can go through your dryer!
Now you have the option of:
- Selling the feathers to crafters
- Using them for crafts of your own
- Stuffing Pillows
- Making insulation
- Upholstery padding
Feathers can be used to make several paper and plastic products too.
Feathers also have absorbent properties, making them ideal for diapers.
More than 16 million disposable diapers are used and then trashed every year.
They are often made of wood pulp but can be replaced with feathers.
The University of Kentucky’s College of Agriculture, Food and Environment says that a year’s worth of feathers discarded in the US could replace 25% of the wood pulp used to create these diapers.
How to Make a Chicken Plucker: Final Thoughts
Now you have several good methods for making a homemade chicken plucker, plus a recommendation for a ready-to-go purchased option.
We wish you a good harvest day.
May your chickens weigh more than you expected, pluck quickly, fit in and fill your freezer, and taste even better than you imagined!
Are you still researching everything you need for butcher day? Check these links out!