Anybody have experience with dry pluckers/pickers for on-farm poultry processing? I'm in the market for one, but there's not much information to be found. There are a handful of makers in the UK, where the design is a series of metal discs mounted vertically on a shaft, apparently in an offset pattern, that work to pinch and pull the feathers out. The discs are cleared with a vacuum hooked up to the back. Seems they're popular with game hunters and preserves and small butchers and whatnot.
As for American varieties, the makers of the tub-style pluckers (with rubber fingers) claim that they won't dry pick a bird, and I'm assuming they know what they're talking about. Otherwise, there are a few manufacturers that make small pluckers using the same type of rubber fingers, but mounted on a drum so that the bird is held against the spinning fingers for picking. Problem is, they're intended for use with waterfowl, and there's very limited information regarding their suitability for chickens or turkeys. I spoke with one manufacturer and was told that they have a customer in California who uses the plucker with chickens on a small scale, apparently just for his own table, and has been happy with it; he's supposed to be getting back to me, but I haven't heard from him yet.
So, anybody have any experience? Second-hand experience?
The two specific models I'm looking at are the Pluka (from the UK) and the FowlPlucker (USA-made), for reference.
Have you checked out Herrick Kimball's Deliberate Agrarian website? On his other website, http://whizbangplucker.blogspot.com/ , he explains the plucker he designed, you can see a video demo, you can purchase a book of plans to build it yourself economically, and you can purchase from him parts to build it a little less economically.
I second the great work of the whizbang plucker, they work great. I have a trough over a rocket stove for a scalder and a tub plucker. With a good scald, I can pluck 2-4 broilers at a time in 15 seconds. Build your own or borrow one. buy the book it is cheap and it works.
Location: Missouri Ozarks
posted 5 years ago
Right, but I'm looking for a dry plucker, i.e. no scalding. The Whizzbang is just a homemade version of any other tub-style plucker that requires scalding to pluck properly.
The price was right and can be pickup at the store that why I purchased it.
I use it yesterday, rather than last week. It worked very well with 3 old heritage hens and 1 18months Muscovy duck. The chickens have no problem with only few feathers left. There are about 5-7 % feathers left from the duck where the plucker finger couldn't touch.
The best results are obtained when 2 are done together. When there is an odd number of birds the single needs to be carefully watched since it will get caught up and the skin will rip.
When I use mine I generally have one or 2 feathers in the wing pit area and on the last joint on the wing. Also the scald temp is critically important.