Chicken Plucker: Part Two

After finished a new chicken tractor for the Freedom Rangers this morning, I got back to the chicken plucker.  I made a couple stupid mistakes along the way and basically had to start over.  That’s what I get for trying to work when I stay home from work because I’m sick.

I didn’t take a lot of pictures today because I was just doing a rough assembly of the parts shown in Chicken Plucker:  Part One.  I’ll take more pictures when I do the final assembly to show how it all goes together.

I built a wooden frame to hold everything together.  The drum is about half an inch smaller than the frame to allow for slight adjustment.

It looks basically like a Whizbang plucker at this point.  It is essentially the same, except that I’m using a washer drum for the tub, and it’s gear driven instead of belt driven.

The horizontal boards are just the right width to fit in the washer shell.  From the outside, it will look exactly like a washing machine.

I haven’t installed the plucker fingers yet.  I’ll wait until then to balance and center everything because it will all change when I start drilling holes.  There is a half inch spacer on the bottom of the feather plate to give it a little more clearance in the drum.

The motor and gearbox are lag bolted into 2x4s mounted across the bottom of the frame.  I tend to overbuild things, so this arrangement seems unsatisfactory to me, but the perfect solution is the enemy of the best solution – the one available right now.  I think it will hold up just fine.

To finish up, I have to cut the agitator shaft, drill holes and install the rubber plucker fingers, paint the feather plate, install a shroud to keep water and feathers out of the motor,  and put the outsides back on the insides.  Then we’ll be looking for a test subject.


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Husband, father, jack-of-all-trades.

6 thoughts on “Chicken Plucker: Part Two”

  1. so, how did the plucker work? What I’m really curious about is if the washer machine motor had enough tourque. Please enlighten me!

    1. The motor itself had plenty of power, but the plastic gears inside the gearbox couldn’t take it. I shattered one, bought a replacement on eBay, and shattered that as well. I ended up building a drill powered plucker. For next year I’ll have to use pulleys like the Whizbang pluckers. I might keep it in the washing machine housing, or I might not. I do like the idea of the shell containing the mess. Turns out there was a reason nobody was building the way I tried to!

      1. well, I just got a washer and dryer off my local freecycle group, and I like the idea of using old& free parts to build this. I have a crazy idea of using an uncut 55 gal drum to build it instead of the way Herrik Kimbal did it with the whizbang. The washer I got is pulley and belt driven vs your gear box type, but the agitator gear box and clutch is not something I need, so I’m pulling the dryer apart tomorrow to see if I can use that shaft. Did you actually pluck some chickens? I did the math and the washer I have was supposed to spin at about 600rpm vs the 150 to 300 whizbang suggests. Did your setup spin too fast? Thanks for the awesome blog post, I’m glad I found someone brave enough to try this!

  2. My plucker worked great for the tenth of a second it lasted before the gear shattered. I’m not sure how fast it was spinning. Pretty fast, though. Not sure if it was too fast or not. The drums in the washer and dryer should work well in the place of a 55 gallon drum. Especially if they’re plastic. The metal drum I used was a pain to drill all the holes in.

    In hindsight, a washer or dryer is great to scavenge parts, the motor in particular, but it doesn’t have a significant advantage over the Whizbang. Basically comes down to whichever materials you have on hand.

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