Raising your own chickens has quickly become a hobby for both city-folk as well as people in the countryside. However, processing that meat is a tedious and frustrating process – especially defeathering. This is where a mechanical chicken plucker can really come in handy. In this article, we will break down the 5 best chicken pluckers on the market and highlight what each one does best. We personally think that the Yardbird 21833 is the best performing product. Keep reading to find out if that is the chicken plucker for you.
Best Chicken Pluckers in 2019
|RITE FARM PRODUCTS|
1. Yardbird 21833 Chicken Plucker – Fastest Chicken Plucker
Yardbird is not actually its own company and is instead a subsidiary brand of the outdoor product manufacturer Ardisam. That said, Ardisam has over 50 years of experience and puts this to work with the Yardbird 21833. Still, the most impressive quality of the Yardbird 21833 is its power which translates directly into speed in this instance. That is why we rated this as our fastest chicken plucker reviewed, though that rating refers explicitly to defeathering a single bird. Granted, this chicken plucker actually has the smallest capacity, so that may not be too meaningful of a distinction.
It is important to keep in mind that the speed of a chicken plucker is directly tied to 2 primary specs and can be influenced by a secondary feature as well. Thankfully, the Yardbird 21833 comes through in all of these categories and is able to consistently defeather a chicken in about 15 seconds. This has a lot to do with the fact that the Yardbird 21833 has one of the most powerful motors that we saw at 1.5 hp.
When you couple this power with a solid 110 plucking fingers as well as a built-in irrigation system to make cleanup easier and prevent buildups, everything comes together quite nicely. Finally, the entire machine is fastened to a frame set on wheels to make moving the Yardbird 21833 easy to move around.
2. Kitchener Chicken Plucker – Best Budget Chicken Plucker
Kitchener may not be as big of a name in the states, but around the world, it is known as one of the bigger OEM kitchen appliance manufacturers that is now bringing its products to a broader consumer-grade market. This particular model is reasonably solid in terms of its specs and performance, but the value that this product provides is off the charts. As such, we felt compelled to rank this as our best budget chicken plucker – even though it is not, strictly speaking, the least expensive product we reviewed. Though, one area where these savings seem to be found is in the questionable QC which is fairly standard for an OEM brand moving into the consumer-grade market.
Good, Not Great
Make no mistake that the Kitchener chicken plucker is nowhere near the best chicken plucker we saw, but with a price that is anywhere from 25 percent to 3 times less than its competitors, you do not really need the best. The 20” diameter tub is more than sufficient for a few birds while the 92 soft fingers, with a rating of 55 on the hardness index, effortlessly remove the feathers.
Quick and Clean
This chicken plucker also comes with a built-in irrigation system to make cleaning the plucker after use that much easier. Finally, the 1.2 hp motor is more than powerful enough to defeather a single bird in roughly 15 to 30 seconds. The Kitchener chicken plucker also comes with a wheeled frame that allows you to more easily transport it if need be.
3. EZPlucker EZ-151 – Largest Chicken Plucker
EZPlucker got its start as a small-scale solution to a local farmer who eventually realized that the internet was a great place to sell his invention. In the span of a decade, EZPlucker has become one of the premier manufacturers of consumer-grade chicken pluckers. The EZPlucker EZ-151 is actually only the second-largest model in the EZPlucker lineup but is still the largest chicken plucker that we reviewed. In fact, the EZPlucker EZ-151 takes the top spot in a number of different specs and qualities. Though, you will have to provide your own irrigation ring and pay top dollar for the top chicken plucker on the market.
No matter what manufacturers want to say, the raw performance of any mechanical product can be tied to its various specs. For the EZPlucker EZ-151, this starts primarily with the tub which sits at an impressive 23” in diameter. On top of that, the tub is also fashioned with the most fingers at 129 which combine to defeather a chicken in anywhere from 10 to 30 seconds. One thing that is a bit odd is that the EZPlucker EZ-151 has the lowest rated motor power on our list at only 1 hp. Still, this does not seem to play out as any meaningful weakness since the EZPlucker EZ-151 can strip a bird of its feathers as faster or faster than the majority of pluckers on our list.
That said, the massive size of the EZPlucker EZ-151’s tub allows this chicken plucker to hold up to 4 birds at one time. In fact, this particular model was designed to accommodate birds as large as a 25-pound turkey. It is worth noting that the EZPlucker EZ-151 is actually marketed as feather plucker for pretty much all livestock fowl. As is somewhat standard within the self-contained units, the EZPlucker EZ-151 also features a wheeled frame for easier portability.
4. Josas Chicken Plucker – Best Chicken Plucker Attachment
The Josas is by far the least common type of chicken plucker that we reviewed primarily because it is the only chicken plucker on our list that is not a self-contained unit. In fact, this would likely be considered the best budget chicken plucker if it were not for its unusual design and requirements.
Specifically, this is the only chicken plucker we reviewed that is actually just an attachment meant to fit on any standard-sized drill. While this is a bit less convenient than self-contained units, it does offer its own unique benefits and makes this the best chicken plucker attachment that we saw.
Just a Bit
The Josas is notable in that being a drill attachment, you can conceivably take this chicken plucker anywhere. On top of that, considering that most drills these days are cordless, this makes the Josas by far the most portable chicken plucker on our list. That said, this chicken plucker does not come with a tub which means it also lacks any kind of built-in irrigation system.
This can make cleaning up the feathers significantly more difficult and increases the time it takes to defeather a bird. That said, with a body made of aluminum and a solid 24 plucking fingers, the minute it takes to defeather a chicken is not really that long. Of course, the 24 plucking fingers is the least on our list and is only further amplified by the absence of a tub with additional plucking fingers.
5. Rite Farm Products Pro Plucker – Best All-Around Value Chicken Plucker
Like another product on our list, Rite Farm Products is not actually its own company and is instead a proprietary brand owned by 4 Front Inc., an only online manufacturer. While this business model often allows for products priced lower than the average, the Rite Farm Products Pro Plucker is actually on the more expensive side of the aisle in this regard. That said, there are few chicken pluckers which can match the performance at this price point which is precisely why we rated this as our best all-around value chicken plucker.
While Rite Farm Products does not actually release the time it takes to defeather a chicken, we can assure you that this plucker is fairly fast. This starts with the most powerful motor on our list which is twice as powerful as its next closest competitor at 3 hp generated. On top of that, the Pro Plucker also has the second-most number of plucking fingers at 114, though cleanup may take a bit longer as the Pro Plucker does not have a built-in irrigation system.
Still, the tub is nearly the largest at 22 ½” and is more than capable of handling up to 5 birds at once which is technically the most on our list – though this does increase the chances of bruising the meat during the defeathering process. With the stainless steel frame and tub, you will not have to worry about the Pro Plucker rusting or corroding, though the lack of an irrigation ring does still make the cleanup a bit more complicated and increases the immediacy to prevent rust or corrosion from developing.
This is easily the most important consideration to make when selecting a chicken plucker primarily because the process is “messy.” In this regard, we do not mean that the process creates a mess, though it indubitably does, but that mechanically defeathering a bird is not a smooth process. As such, the defeathering task will involve uneven weight and force distributions which can wreak a weak motor in no time flat.
That is why having a chicken plucker with a powerful motor is so important: it ensures that the chicken plucker will remain functioning at a high-performance level for longer without breaking down. Of course, the power generated by the motor will also influence how quickly the plucker defeathers the bird, but that is heavily influenced by other factors as well.
This is the next most important factor to consider in terms of how effectively and quickly the chicken plucker can perform its task. Basically, the more plucking fingers a chicken plucker has the quicker the chicken plucker will be able to defeather the bird. While this may seem fairly simple and straightforward, it is important to remember that the stiffness of the plucking fingers will also impact how effective the fingers are at defeathering the birds.
While more fingers being better is pretty easy to understand, the balance that the fingers need to demonstrate between stiffness and softness is less intuitive. Basically, the plucking fingers need to be stiff enough to provide some resistance to the flailing bird but also needs to be soft enough to gain purchase on the feathers. Moreover, you also want to make sure that the plucking fingers are not so stiff that they contribute to bruising the meat.
While not strictly speaking a necessity, most chicken pluckers come with their own tubs which are lined with plucking fingers. When judging this quality, people generally defer either to the number and quality of the plucking feathers or the maximum capacity. As mentioned prior, using a mechanical chicken plucker can bruise the meat, and defeathering multiple birds simultaneously only increases the odds of bruised meat.
However, the larger the tub generally the more plucking fingers as well as the generally the quicker the defeathering process. One thing that is a bit frustrating is that most of the chicken pluckers with the largest tubs do not also include a built-in irrigation system. When selecting a chicken plucker, whether the tub supports a built-in irrigation system or not, it is a good idea to make sure that the tub is made of rust and corrosion resistant materials like aluminum or stainless steel.
This is a bit tricky to judge since it is not really considered standard fare for even a good consumer-grade chicken plucker. That said, the difference in ease of use and, more important, ease of cleaning and maintenance, pushes this consideration up a bit. Basically, as a chicken is defeathered, the removed feathers have to go somewhere – and without an irrigation system, the feathers often sit in the tub.
This can lead to a second cleaning of the clinging feathers from the otherwise processed bird. On top of that, the feathers will also need to be cleaned out of the tub and off of the plucking fingers. Without a built-in irrigation system, this can be a long and tedious process, though it is at least not that difficult. Still, you have to clean the tub and fingers after each use to prevent the feathers from bogging down the motor and shortening the chicken plucker’s lifespan.
Depending on the arrangement of your farm, this will either be a huge benefit or something that you can ignore entirely. If you have a larger farm without electrical wiring running to various locations, chances are that you already have everything set up to be as compact as possible. In this instance, you do not need to worry about how portable the chicken plucker is since it will likely always be used within a 100 sq ft area.
Of course, for larger farms that have numerous partitions for different types of livestock and crops, the ability to move your chicken plucker from one place to another can be an invaluable time-saver. To accomplish this task, most manufacturers simply bolt or weld the chicken plucker to a metal frame. The frame will usually have a wheeled base which allows you to easily move the chicken plucker from one place to another.
In the end, the chicken plucker market is one where you generally get what you pay for, but it is also one of many levels. If you have a larger farm where you need to dress numerous birds a day, you will likely want to get the best of the best which, in our opinion, is the EZPlucker EZ-151. While it is actually the least powerful self-contained chicken plucker that we reviewed, this does not seem to slow it down that much since it still defeathers a bird in 10 to 30 seconds.
That said, this likely has more to do with the extra-large tub that sits at 23” in diameter and is coupled with the most plucking fingers that we saw at 129. Of course, not everyone needs the absolute best chicken plucker – especially if you do not use it daily – and the Rite Farm Products Pro Plucker or the Kitchener chicken plucker are both solid value options.