Friday 25 October 2013

How to pluck a chicken

My Mother reckoned that when you were choosing a house you needed a place where you could pluck a goose; if you had space to do this then that covered just about all of your domestic workspace needs. From about the age of ten  I looked after the poultry and did the plucking. Not many ten year old children or adults pluck chickens these days so here's an illustrated guide.

First kill the chicken by dislocating its neck quickly and humanely. If you don't know how to do this visit the website of the Humane Slaughter Society, they have a publication, Practical Slaughter of Poultry A Guide for Small Producers 2nd Edition (pages 17-20).

Put a loop of bale twine around the legs just above the feet and hang the bird above a receptacle for the feathers.; a dustbin or plastic tub. This has a similar effect to bleeding, the blood drains into the cavity caused by the neck dislocation.

Start plucking immediately from the base of the neck towards the head. Take a small clump of feathers between your forefinger and thumb, pull firmly down towards the head.If you let the bird cool down too much plucking will be more difficult. It's easier on your fingers if you wear a pair of nitrile milking gloves, the blue ones that Vets use.

Next begin to pluck feathers from the breast starting at the neck and working towards the tail again pulling the feathers towards the head. Work upwards to include the legs right up to the start of the scales. If you take too big a clump of feathers you are likely to tear the skin.

Pluck between the legs then starting at the tail pull feathers upwards, when the tail area is done work your way up the back towards the tail. Now only the wing feathers are left.

Pull out the quills by grasping each one and tugging them as before pluck the feathers on both side of the wing and the edges. finally go all over the bird taking out any stubs or feathers that have been missed.


Twenty minutes from start to finish

I didn't realise until Hanno told me this morning that its OK to kill a bird then pluck it and give it to a friend but it is illegal for you to eviscerate it. Sounds a bit daft so it must be true .

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