Small-Scale Poultry Processing Set Up

Are you ready to learn how to process your own meat birds? Learn how simple it is to set up at home and save hundreds of dollars a year by doing the work yourselves. Let’s talk about a small-scale poultry processing set up.

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Small-Scale Poultry Processing Set Up

Chicken Plucker

Let’s start with the most important and the most expensive piece of equipment, “>the Yardbird Chicken Plucker. Do you absolutely have to have this? no. You could pluck by hand, or build your own (there are plans on the internet), but this motorized chicken plucker is a godsend. It can pluck the feathers off in 30 seconds or less. We process 50 birds at a time, and I would not want to know how long that would take without a plucker.

yard bird for poultry processing

You will need a water source via two garden hoses. One hose provides water directly into the barrell as the bird whirls around inside the plucker. The other hose allows you to spray down your processing area to keep it clean. Both hoses can be hooked up to the plucker at the same time. The Yardbird plucker runs on electric. You will need to run a power cord to run the motor.

We put a tarp under the plucker to catch the feathers and allow for easier clean up. It also allows the water a chance to run off away from the plucker, and keeps the area from getting extremely muddy.

Kill Cone

A “>kill cone is for securing your bird upside down so that you can slit the chicken’s throat and allow it to bleed out. The chicken fits snuggly inside ensuring a humane kill. Under the kill cone we keep a bucket filled a fourth of the way full of water. This bucket catches the blood that drains from the chicken.

killing cone for poultry processing

Sharp Knives and Knife sharpener

Having “>sharp knives made for butchering is a must. The saying “A sharp knife is a safe knife” is very true. Butchering is much easier when you are not struggling to cut through meat and bone. Also have a “>knife sharpener handy to keep the knife as sharp as possible.

knifes and sharpener for poultry processing

Propane burner and a stock pot

You need a “> propane burner and a “>heavy bottom pot that is anywhere from 20-50 quarts. Try to get a heavy bottom, good quality pot so it will hold up to the flame of the fire. You will use the propane burner to heat water to 145 degrees to scald the bird to loosen the feathers.

hot water for poultry processing

Work Station

A simple “>white folding table has been my work station for three years now. I put blocks underneath to raise it up to a more comfortable height. The table serves as my butchering table, and where we package the birds at the end.

table for poultry processing

Buckets and trash bags

I have two buckets. One lined with trash bags to hold the guts. I use a construction trash bag, which is very thick, with two regular kitchen trash bags. The other bucket is filled with hot soapy water and washcloths, to keep my table, knife, and hands clean.

soapy water and trash bin for poultry processing

Coolers and ice

You need “>large coolers and several bags of ice. We usually process fifty birds at a time so we have two large coolers. They are completely filled by the end of the day. We start out by putting several bags of ice and the filling the cooler half way with water.

poultry processing

Shrink bags, food saver

After all the chickens have been processed, how will you store your finished product?

For whole birds or chicken backs (carcasses), you will need “>poultry shrink bags. The bags shrink down tight against the chicken just like the packaging you see at the store. For cut up chicken parts, such as boneless chicken breast, or thighs and legs, you will need food saver bags. If you are processing enough meat to last an entire year, I highly suggest the “>food saver and “>food saver bags. It sucks the air out of the bags and seals the packages. They provide maximum protection, which means no freezer burn.

That is all you need! There is nothing more exciting than having a freezer full of meat that will last the entire year. Have you butchered meat birds on your homestead? I would love to hear about it in the comments.

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