I’m not ready to give a final review of my new Featherman equipment so I’ll try to make this fast. We ran 35 birds through tonight in about 45 minutes because we didn’t want our big processing day on Saturday to have any surprises. We weren’t running at full speed because we had so many changes to adjust to. I think we’ll be significantly faster as we make some adjustments.
Here are my initial thoughts:
-The kill cones and stand are awesome. The best thing ever. Ever. It could be improved if the sides of the base were higher to catch more of the blood but that’s not a deal breaker. Next time I’ll put a layer of sawdust around the base and cleanup will be a snap.
-The scalder is pretty darned good. I’m not sure it generates enough heat to process 200 birds/hour as David claimed but I’m going to try to find out. After about 15 birds the burner kicked on and stayed on for the duration. For the most part, the birds came out clean…then I remembered to add soap to the water (blushing). As I understand it, the scalder was recently redesigned and I have the new model. I think she lit the burner around 4:30 and it was hot at 6:00. No complaints.
-The roto-dunker is going to need some getting used to. There is a youtube video where a user has problems with it. I can see what his problems were. I think I have it figured out but we’ll see. The motor may just not be powerful enough for four giant, wet birds. It ran flawlessly with only two birds. I think it is fine though, I just need to load the birds right…and maybe park a 6-year old next to it in case it stops.
-The plucker did a great job. I bought the gamebird plucker with extra fingers. By “extra fingers” I mean “extra hard to clean”. Otherwise it did a great job.
At this point I hand the birds off to my wife and son for evisceration. The wife gave positive feedback on the shackles saying they will need some getting used to but they are good. She was working on four birds at a time, making the same cut to each one before returning to the beginning. Then the birds were handed off to our oldest son for lung and scent gland removal and final inspection. Ultimately the shackles will hang from chain on a pipe. For now, we just wanted to verify the hype so I whipped up something quick.
That’s really all I have time to write because I still need to cut and package the birds…after I eat dinner…after I tuck the kids in. I also have to make plans for a more permanent pipe to hang the shackles from. And close up the chickens. And move the cows. And…
Ah, the joys of being a sundown farmer.