Rearing your own chickens can be an intensive, yet highly rewarding, exercise in animal husbandry. If you’re rearing them for both meat and eggs, then you would know that getting your chickens plucked can be expensive if you get your butcher to do it for you. Likewise, buying a commercial chicken plucker can eat into your capital. Luckily, there is actually a way to know how to build a chicken plucker from scrap material you probably have lying around the compound.
The main body of the chicken plucker can be made from a plastic food-grade barrel. Failing that, just get a really clean plastic barrel and cut the bottom off of it. The bottom piece that you cut away should be saved to form the feather plate of your chicken plucker. The barrel that forms the plucker should be about 20 inches high, so cut the barrel down to size if you need to. The largest expense you’ll make when learning how to build a chicken plucker is when you buy the rubber fingers that are integral to the plucking process. You will need approximately 150 rubber fingers, which will cost $115-$120, depending on where you obtain them.
Drill holes near the bottom of the barrel that are wide enough for the rubber fingers to fit snugly. I would suggest drilling 2 rows, with the 0.75-inch holes about an inch apart. You may need to use a lot of elbow grease to fit the rubber fingers through these holes, although it would help to bevel the exterior of each hole before pulling the fingers in while standing inside the barrel itself.
To make the feather plate, drill holes 0.75-inch wide and 2 inches apart into the barrel bottom that was cut off earlier. Drill the holes in concentric circles about 1.5 inches apart, like a bull’s-eye, before fitting the rubber fingers into the holes. The plastic material may feel slightly flimsy, and can be reinforced by screwing it to 0.75-inch plywood or even a wheel bearing. The frame used to hold the chicken plucker can be fashioned to requirements from scrap lumber.
To power the plucker, you will need a motor. Anything from 0.5-0.75 horsepower will do, but a 0.3 horsepower can also be used in conjunction with a 10-1 transmission ratio. This is to ensure that the feather plate turns at 450 rpm. The last step in knowing how to build a chicken plucker is to fit the barrel into the scrap-lumber frame, screwing it in to secure it. The feather plate centered at the bottom has to be coupled with the transmission before the motor is attached, in turn, to the transmission. The motor, too, has to be secure to the frame before the plucker can be switched on.