Ohh Man!

This morning when we hit the traffic jam in Northern VA, we pulled up behind a car with one of the greatest license plates, ever.  “OHH MAN”.  Very appropriate.

We finished early today so I was able to almost finish another job that I’ve been putting off for a couple weeks.  Just a couple little detail things to take care of then I’ll be done.  And I can get paid…

When I finally got home the second time today, I worked on the chicken plucker.  I know I’ve been promising for weeks that I’m about to finish it.  Turns out the metal drum is a lot tougher to drill than I expected and I could only drill a few holes before the drill would start to overheat.  I finally finished drilling, cleaned out the burrs, and pulled all the fingers.  I cut the agitator shaft, modified the motor mount to clear the backside of the plucker fingers, made a spacer block to raise the plucker plate half an inch, and test fitted everything.  It looks like it will work well.  It’d better, because we’re now scheduled to kill about 70 chickens three days from now.

I didn’t have time to take pictures today, but when I do the final assembly tomorrow or Friday I’ll get pictures and try to get a post up by Friday night.  We’ll take a lot of pictures of the whole butchering process, including making dog food, and make a series of posts covering those processes.

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.

Continue reading Chicken Plucker: Part Two

Chicken Plucker: Part One

When I bought 50 meat chickens, I started to think very seriously about how to butcher them.  In the past, we’ve butchered 10 or 15 at a time, skinning the birds instead of plucking.  If they’re young, they skin easily.  If they’re more than about 6 months old, they’re “tough old birds.”

The problem is, I like chicken skins.  And I don’t like skinning chickens.  But I really don’t like plucking them by hand.  I finally realized that I would have to build a plucker.

The little PVC table top pluckers that attach to drills seemed only marginally better than plucking by hand.  Whizbangs looked simple and practical but too expensive.  Then I noticed the similarity between a Whizbang plucker and a washing machine.  Turns out I wasn’t the only one who noticed.  A man posted this video of his “Chicken Washer” on YouTube.  And better yet, he offered free plans to all who asked!

That seemed great, until I finally got the plans from him this morning.  Turns out it’s just a modified Whizbang dressed up as a washing machine.  Nothing wrong with the design, but not what I was hoping for – I wanted to use as many of the machine’s original components as possible.

Unafraid – well… maybe a little afraid – of venturing into unknown territory without the guidance of an anonymous appliance hacking guru, I forged ahead. Continue reading Chicken Plucker: Part One