If you are raising chickens for meat, you're getting your chickens more humanely and in a more sustainable way than you would if you simply bought it from the grocery store.
However, you'll need some basic skills when the time comes to kill and butcher your chickens. One important skill that many people lack is plucking a chicken. If you do it wrong, this task can be unpleasant and inefficient.
However, if you know how to do it right, plucking a chicken can be fast an easy. Here's a quick guide on how to pluck a chicken.
The traditional way to pluck a chicken involves plunging it into boiling water before you begin plucking.
Get a large pan (big enough for the whole chicken) and fill it with water. Bring it to a boil, then take it outside, or boil the water over a propane stove outdoors.
Put on thick rubber gloves and hold the dead chicken by the feet. Immerse it in the hot water. Use a wooden spoon or stick to keep the chicken from floating to the top. Older chickens may have to be soaked for a little longer.
Once the chicken's feathers are soaked thoroughly, remove the chicken from the water. Don't leave it in too long - five seconds to a half minute is usually enough.
After all, you don't want to cook the chicken. Then, grab a handful of feathers and begin pulling them out.
Plucking can take anywhere from five minutes to a half hour, depending on how good you are at plucking. Be more careful when plucking young chickens, as their skin may tear.
If pulling out feathers becomes difficult, consider soaking the chicken in hot water again. Wear rubber gloves to keep your hands from getting sore while you pluck your chicken.
There's a pretty good chance those first few chickens will be hard to pluck. The good news is that it doesn't make them inedible.
You'll get the hang of it after you pluck a few. The faster you work, the easier the feathers will come out, because the skin will still be loose. Of course, the more pinfeathers there are, the harder this will be. Once all the feathers and pinfeathers are out, there will still be some light "hairy" feathers on the chicken. These should be scalded off over an open flame. A gas flame or even a barbecue lighter will do the trick. Then you're done plucking a chicken, and it's time to move on to butchering.
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