A Michigan farmer shares how he built an inexpensive homemade chicken plucker for his small backyard flock.
Jack McGee couldn’t justify a commercial chicken plucker for his family’s small flock, so he made his own with wood and other scraps he found around his Michigan farm.
His model is a copy of a commercial model. “I had treated plywood and 2-by-4 scraps, and the white top is a 12-inch food-grade PVC pipe, heated and flattened out,” McGee says, explaining that the chickens are placed on the PVC and never touch the treated wood.
The drum is also a piece of 12-inch PVC pipe with the ends of disassembled squirrel cage blowers. The drum spins on a 1⁄2-inch steel shaft secured on the outside of the wooden unit with bushings and metal pieces from the blowers. McGee purchased plucking fingers ($1.30 each) from Cutler’s Pheasant, Poultry and Beekeeping Supplies. They snap in place in the 3/4-inch holes he drilled into the drum.
He wired a waterproof electric box and uses a 3/4-hp Wagner water pump motor to turn the drum.
“I adjusted pulleys — 1 3/4-inch pulley on the motor and 4-inch pulley on the drum — to get the right speed,” he says. “The feathers just shoot out of there up to 5 or 6 feet.”
Once set up, it only takes a few seconds per chicken to pluck the feathers clean. After he’s finished, McGee hoses the unit down to clean it. He stores it in an outbuilding, and the plucker is in like-new condition after five years of use.
“It works very well, and it didn’t cost much,” McGee concludes. “It’s really nice for a small flock.”
For more about how McGee constructed his plucker, send a letter to Jack McGee, 4330 W. Houghton Lake Road, Lake City, MI 49651.
Reprinted with permission from FARM SHOW Magazine.
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