Poultry International - March 2018 - 35
PoultryInternational ❙ 35
HOW TO OPTIMIZE CHICKEN FEATHER PLUCKING DURING PROCESSING
this should be monitored pre- and post-plucking.
It is also worth ensuring that the upper guide rails of
the shackles are not too far apart as this also can result in
unwanted carcass movement and damage.
There should be no empty shackles, or shackles where
birds are hung by one leg only, as both will have an impact
on yield. In the case of the latter, either time will be lost
hanging birds properly, or carcasses will suffer damage.
Correct alignment of the water nozzles that keep the
plucking fingers clean is also important, so that fingers remain as clean as possible and feather removal is not impeded. Adequate water pressure - in many plants this is 25-30
psi - is also important, but water should not be wasted.
Due to the varying degree with which feathers are attached to the body, three gauges of plucking fingers are
normally used: hard, semi-hard and soft.
Those in charge of the plant must understand the degree
of firmness and flexibility of the fingers used as, despite
firmness being internationally standardized, it can vary
from supplier to supplier.
This means that a choice must be made as to which fingers will remove feathers the most efficiently while causing
the least damage to carcass skin.
When birds are processed whole, this becomes even
more important as, if fingers are very hard and come into
close contact with the carcass, some skin may be removed,
which many consumers do not like.
Alongside using fingers with the correct degree of firmness, the fingers need to be checked on a daily basis for
splits or wear and missing fingers must be replaced. ■
Eduardo Cervantes López is an international consultant
based in Colombia. He can be contacted at icproave@
hotmail.com or via www.icproave.com.
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March 2018 ❙ www.WATTAgNet.com
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