Last week Shaen finished the Whizbang Chicken Plucker. It took him about 8 hours to assemble the materials and build the plucker. Shaen outsourced some machining because he did not have the right tools for the job. It cost about $400 to build. Most of the materials are new but the motor is second hand.
In a previous post called Slaughtering Chickens, it took four people 10 hours to process 50 chickens. This works out to 48 minutes per chicken. We were plucking chickens by hand. This does not include set-up or clean-up time.
Last Sunday we had three people working for 4 hours to process 70 chickens. With the Whizbang Chicken Plucker, it took 10.3 minutes per chicken. This does not include time for set-up or clean-up. It took 1/5 of the time to process the chickens with the Whizbang Chicken Plucker over hand plucking. If we had had an extra person on the gutting or wrapping table, the time would have been even faster.
If we had to do the 70 chickens by hand, it would have taken four people 14 hours. An interesting question would be how much did we save if we had to pay the workers $10 an hour? With hand plucking it would cost $8.00 per chicken in labor and with the mechanical plucker it would cost $1.72 per chicken in labor. With the cost of the plucker at $400, we would have to mechanically pluck 63.7 chickens to pay for the plucker. This of course is a mental exercise because we didn’t pay our workers. Our helpful volunteer Chris Harder, went home with some chickens and grass-fed veal steaks. Christine and Shaen work for free but will enjoy chicken all winter long. I got the day off and took the girls to the 4-H Fall Fair!