As CSA pick-up approaches, we decided to see where our meat chickens are at size-wise. We prepared two of them, one of the larger sized ones and one of the smaller sized one this weekend.
We are looking at meat birds in the 5-6 pound range on average dressed, and there are still two weeks to go before we prepare them all. We used the plucking machine that I built last fall and it worked WONDERFULLY.
At first, it seemed to have no power, just like it did with the over-sized turkeys. I was pretty frustrated. However, I noticed that the belt was slipping--perhaps it was a bit stretched out while it over-wintered in the barn. (How many hyphenized-words can I use in this post?)
I loosened the motor (the hefty 3/4 horse-power motor that I had upgraded to last Fall) and added a shim to tighten up the belt, Mickey-Mouse-style. Oh boy, did it work! This will save us probably about 10 minutes per bird at least! It took less than a minute, and I think less than 30 seconds for the machine to do its work...WOW!
We have some photos and they will be up soon. I especially like the one of us hauling it around the farm in the back of the small wagon attached to the Farmall.