2007 - Volume #31, Issue #5, Page #06[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Portable Butchering Trailer Speeds Poultry Processing
"The problem we have is that many poultry processors don't want to process a small number of birds at their facilities," Colbaugh says. "They are geared toward larger processors." Plus, the cost is high, often $2.50/bird or more.
Fortunately, most states allow poultry farmers - at least up to a certain number of bird units - to butcher and process their own birds on the farm for sale. But good equipment to simplify the job is a significant expense. When Colbaugh and Nick saw a portable processor at a New York poultry conference, they talked to the manufacturer, Eli Reiff, who sells a line of stainless steel processing equipment (Poultry Man, ph 570 966-0769). He agreed to install equipment on a 6 by 12-ft. road-legal trailer, and Colbaugh and Nick take care of renting it out to local processors for a daily fee of $100.
Colbaugh says their speed of processing more than doubled from 10 to 15 chickens per hour with their basic equipment to 25 to 30 per hour with three people working the processing trailer.
The killing station - a six-cone cabinet - is set up on the ground, but everything else is done on the trailer: a 42-gal. rotary scalder, a 27-in. drum picker with overhead shower, a two-person eviscerating table with offal hole, and a stainless pre-chilling table.
All that is needed on site are electric cords for the plucker and scalder, a cold water hose for the plucker, and a warm water hose for the eviscerating unit. With a heavy rubber mat floor, cleanup goes quickly with a hose or pressure washer.
"It's a huge time saver," Colbaugh says. "And the Humane Society likes it because there is no transportation, so there is a lot less stress on the birds."
Less stress means better meat. "You can see the difference in the processed bird," Colbaugh says. "You can taste it obviously."
Because of the cost of the equipment - about $8,000 - Colbaugh suggests that poultry raisers in communities work together and seek out grants or pool resources to put together mobile processing units that they can share and use year after year.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Tom Colbaugh, 1911 Gallows Hill Rd., Kintnersville, Pennsylvania 18930 (ph 610 306-2796; firstname.lastname@example.org).
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