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Skinning vs. plucking chickens
I am going to process 6 -10 chickens today and I only have half the time. I usually pluck by hand and it takes awhile. Any one who has skinned vs. plucking that can advise? Do you still dunk birds to clean , does it help skin to come off easier ? Or will a cool bath in mild soap and rinse clean bird well enough for skinning ? Any advice is appreciated . Thanks
We skin. No, we don't dunk the birds, just keep a hose handy for a rinse here and there as we go.

We keep MEANING to pluck once in a while but we'll get started and then say 'screw this' and just skin it. So much faster. Plus I like that the feathers and skin are in one big hunk, easier for me to clean up.
Thanks . I really enjoy the skin roasted but time is short this weekend. I don't process enough to warrant a plucker but have seen plans for pluckers attached to drills, anyone had luck with one of these?
To quote Erick Cartman of South Park. "Why would anybody want to pluck a chicken?" Check out the chicken plucker episode. The towns people were quite disturbed to find that a nocturnal visitor was sneaking around and plucking innocent chickens.
Given Cartmans propensity for hurling verbal venom at near choking velocity are you sure he said pluck ?
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If you are doing birds that don't have a lot of meat on them in the first place, one can just split the skin in the breast, take off the breasts. Shuck the skin off the legs, take off the thighs and legs. Done. No gutting, no skinning the whole bird, etc. What is left of the carcass isn't worth all the rest of the skinning and gutting.
Skinner here, too lazy to pluck.

Do you lose much fat by skinning? What do you do with the skin and feathers? In permaculture terms, making use of the whole bird makes sense, and there are lots of nutrients in the bits of animals we usually throw away.
Is there much difference in cooking a skinned bird?? Does the skin help hold the juices in? (I guess I'm wondering if you could still roast it?) There's enough to get done without make-work projects, so if skinned chicken is still good eating then I'll definitely be trying it.
Rose, in my experience, skinning means losing most of the fat, although really fat birds often have quite a bit of 'extra' fat around the cavity.
If I have skinned, I've always done the entire bird as the carcass is valuable to me for stock.
It's a tradeoff: looking at a pile of butchered cockerels doesn't exactly inspire me to get plucking, but I wouldn't roast a skinned bird, it's not a pretty sight , but I find casserole-type things ideal. I usually add some fat by frying off onions etc in plenty of that extra chicken fat and/or bacon.
I also wouldn't usually bother trying to pluck a really young bird. The skin's so delicate, it's a really frustrating waste of time.
A good compost heap will happily gobble up a mountain of skins/guts.
Well , it went well . 6 skinned chickens done in record time . I really enjoy a roast chicken with crisp skin , but my beautiful and still thin spouse peels it off anyway. I probably will never hand pluck another bird again. Made a good soup out of one of the cockerels , that's what bones are good for . We always make stock. If I ever get around to building a whizbang plucker I'll go back , but not until then.

Rose Pinder wrote:Do you lose much fat by skinning? What do you do with the skin and feathers? In permaculture terms, making use of the whole bird makes sense, and there are lots of nutrients in the bits of animals we usually throw away.

A good deal of fat is lost to skinning, but can be trimmed off the skin and saved, as can fat around the internal organs. I bury the skin and guts in the garden. I cook the birds in a slow-cooker initially, and then after the meat has been removed from the bones, slow cook or boil them again to make stock. By the time the bones go out to the garden they're almost clean, so there's little waste of edible material.
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My view and most will likely not agree.

When I grow birds for meat as a purpose raised broiler I always pluck, well mostly. If I have a lot to do and not enough time I may pluck some and skin a few to speed it along. But a broiler I am going to either roast or part out and grill or on rare occasions roll it in evil flour and fry it. I would not get in anyone's business for skinning a true meat bird but I do find it a bit of a waste, there is so much joy in properly used chicken skin. When I part out one for the grill I even take the back skin with the breast and wrap it around each half to add more juicy, crispy goodness.

When I am culling extra roosters or layers past their prime I don't have time to jack around with plucking for such a small return. A 2 year old RIR hen isn't even close to the size of 12-14 week red ranger or heritage white. They are too small to get out a scalding pot for and mess around with for so long. I skin them and part them out, done. I can do a whole bird easily in about 5 minutes and have very little mess to clean. If I am culling I am doing 2-4 birds at most, one time 6 when some evil Fayoumi Cockerels needed to go. That one time I plucked a non meat breed because I had six, it was my absolute last time doing it. It simply was not worth it for the yield.

As for using 100%, well nothing goes to the dump. I put the remains in the center of a compost pile and cook it into land feeding goodness. Since my dogs are inside dogs I don't want feathers and what have you coughed up in my home but my buddy Nick has two LSGD and he just skins them and takes both breasts off the bone, disjoints and yanks out the thy/leg sections and tosses the rest to his dogs who appreciate it a lot.

About the only two ways you would get me to pluck a cull would be

1. It is just a big ass bird and worth it. For instance I have a red ranger hen I saved from my last meat run, she was supposed to be a cockerel and on graduation day she got lucky and graduated to the coop instead of the freezer. I'd take the time to pluck her, she is 9 pounds or more and worth it. I have some buff orpingtons, some times they are big enough. If I had a Jersey Giant I might pluck it. But mostly I run Leghorn Crosses, RIRs and Sex Links for eggs and they just are too small for bothering to pluck.

2. If I had a person that wanted to learn how to pluck and had a cull available and was going to teach them, I'd use it and you know what, that student would do the plucking part!

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Since I am a Fly tyer, I prefer to skin my chickens, I dry cure the hides, feathers on and store them, in baggies with silica gel sachets, for later use in my fly tying. once I have used all the useful feathers at the bench, the rest goes into the compost. It doesn't hurt that my wife, the chef, prefers that I skin the chickens too.
The skin is the best in a chicken, what a waste!

Angelika Maier wrote:The skin is the best in a chicken, what a waste!

Again like most things, it depends. It is very difficult to justify plucking a 4 lb laying cull bird that will dress out at about 2.25 pounds.
Just had some skin. Mmmmmmm.

Pluck em if you got em.
If you open the box, you will find Heisenberg strangling Shrodenger's cat. And waving this tiny ad:
It's like binging on 7 seasons of your favorite netflix permaculture show

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