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1996 - Volume #20, Issue #1, Page #07
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Quick & Easy Chicken Plucker

"It gives you squeaky clean' birds as fast as commercial machines but without the big price," says David Schafer about a home-built chicken plucker built by his friend Ernie Kauffman.
"Commercial chicken pluckers clean 500 to 1,000 birds per hour and cost $3,000 to $7,000," says Schafer, who range-raises chickens, beef, lamb and pork near Trenton, Mo. "Ernie's does up to 540 birds an hour - right in the ballpark with the big boys - but it cost less than $300 to build."
Kauffman based his design on commercial rigs which typically use a stationary stainless steel cylinder fitted with 4 to 5-in. long rubber fingers in the sides and a rotating stainless steel plate at the bottom of the cylinder. Feathers fall out of a 1-in. gap between the bottom of the cylinder and top of the plate.
He cut off a 2-ft. section of a 55-gal. plastic drum and used one of the 2-ft. sections as the stationary cylinder, sticking rubber fingers through the sides. The drum mounts in a frame made out of 2 by 2's that holds it about 1 in. above a spinning metal disc.
Kauffman's plucker is powered with an old Briggs and Stratton 3 hp mower engine.
The trickiest part of the project was getting the plate to rotate in an ideal range of from 150 to 300 rpm's, enough to clean chickens thoroughly without turning them into cream of chicken soup, Schafer says. That was achieved by attaching a pulley 15 times the dia. of the pulley on the lawn mower engine to the bottom of the plate. A big belt powers the pulley.
To engage and disengage the belt, Kauffman mounted the engine on a wooden platform that travels backward and forward
about 2 in. That's done with a hand lever and arm on the side of the engine plat-form.
To use the plucker, Kauffman starts the engine, engages the drivebelt, and drops in the scalded birds for about 15 seconds, spraying them with cold water.
Kauffman's chicken plucker handles three birds at a time. "It gives you as much capacity as you'd ever need on any farm or cooperative poultry operation," Schafer says. "It's very, very unique. Somebody ought to develop it."
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, David Schafer, Rt. 5, Box 33, Trenton, Mo. 64683 (ph 816 359-6545).
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1996 - Volume #20, Issue #1