No, it’s not Talk Like a Pirate Day. That was last week. It’s an Arghhh of frustration.
Last night I replaced the gearbox on the chicken plucker. I put casters under the feather plate to keep it from rocking under the weight of the chickens. This morning, shortly before 6:00, I dropped the first chicken in. The plucker stopped. Not good. Apparently the plastic internals shattered again. So much for that plan. Another $55 down the drain.
Worse, I had 60 chickens to kill and after 10:00 would be working by myself. No way were we going to pluck that many by hand. Fortunately we had a bunch of extra plucker fingers, a few tools, and a little creativity.
For the people who requested plans of the washer plucker, sorry. Looks like it’s not a practical design because the gearboxes aren’t strong enough.
We built a drill powered table mounted plucker, then found that the drill chuck was worn enough that the plucker would work loose as it oscillated out of balance, and the nuts holding the rig together worked loose. We should have either used a left handed bolt or run the drill in reverse. The biggest problem was the lack of support to control the oscillation.
We ended up putting a support on the outside end of the plucker. It’s not something that will hold up for a long time, but we just need to get through these chickens. Then we’ll have all winter to come up with something better. Hopefully by then I’ll have the washer plucker sorted out.
Even with the time we spent building the plucker, we were able to butcher more chickens than we could have plucking by hand. It’s you have limited engineering and building skills, or just do a few birds a year, I definitely recommend a plucker of this type.
Tomorrow we’ll have more help so we should be able to get more pictures. We’ll try to get pictures showing the entire process and write up a bit of a how-to.