Everything here is suitable for chicken and duck processing. We will make an update for products to process quail and turkey.
We use the Large Cones for large roosters and Khaki Campbell Ducks, but they might better suited in the Medium Cone. It works well for Ancona Ducks and Pekin Ducks. We will order some Medium sized ones and list what they are suited best for.
$119 at the time of this post
I use this buck knife to cut the throat of the bird, but it’s honestly not the sharpest. We’ve sharpened it. I will be looking for a knife that I like better, but this is the best so far. I do like that it has a sheath so it can be put away.
$85.99 74.99 at the time of this post
Scalding and Plucking
Bayou Classic SP10 High-Pressure Cooker – 14-in Single Propane Burner for Outdoor Cooking, Outdoor Stove – Crawfish Boiler, Home Brewing Burner, Maple Syrup Prep. Fits Large Boiling Pots and Fryers – Seafood Boil Pot.
My neighbor had this one and I liked how sturdy it was. Sometimes propane burners are pretty flimsy, so make sure you get the quality you want. If it helps, go look in stores like Ace Hardware or other general stores in your area to see them in person.
$92.88 at the time of this post
You’ll need at least one large pot to scald your birds. If you have an entire station set up with multiple hands helping, you can run two (and you’ll need two burners) and have multiple people scalding at the same time. This is helpful when it’s time to change water (when its’ too soapy and causes your bird to feel slimy) or when it’ too dirty. That’ll help you to not have a lag in time waiting for the pot of water to heat back up.
$94 at the time of this post
If you already have a burner and pot, but need a thermometer, this is the one we use.
$15 at the time of this post
You’ll need these when dipping your bird, or even the shrinkable bags, in the scalding water. It also helps to lather the soap on a duck when trying to wash out the oils before plucking. We have the Size 8/M and it has worked well for women (just a little large) and men.
$35.99 at the time of this post
We didn’t want to use anything not-natural at all on our ducks, but it’s hard to get the oil out of the feathers on a duck without Dawn. Use the gloves above to scrub the soap onto the hot bird after dunking it once or twice. You’ll get the soap on the chest, tummy, and just above the oil gland on the tail. If you know of a better degreaser that’s all natural, please let me know!
$16.57 at the time of this post
You can really get any kind of plucker. We’ve used a Kitchener and a Yard Bird and they were pretty much the same. The thing that drives whether how well the feathers come off is hot your water is and how well you got the oil out of the duck’s feathers at scalding. We aren’t sure if the number of “fingers” on the machine matters because we’ve never had the top 8″ of fingers to touch any birds anyway, but we have only done up to 2 birds at a time because we do them immediately after scalding so the birds don’t cool down.
This is a must for ducks. It’s optional for chickens, but mighty helpful if you’re going to do more than 3-4 chickens at a time.
$469 at the time of this post (we have seen it in the winter of 2021 for $290)
$479 at the time of this post
$398 at the time of this post
If you’re gonna do farmers markets, have people over to eat outside, or have an extra craft table, this heavy-duty one is the best. I can carry it by myself and it fits in the back of my car.
$89.99 at the time of this post
To cut the neck bone, you really need something sturdy or you’ll wear your hand out.
These loppers do double-duty pruning trees and branches in your yard. Of course, you don’t have to get these, but an arborist told me these are the best, and they really have held up way better than any other brand I’ve bought in the past.
$27.98 at the time of this post
Other sizes (if you want to do double-duty with trees and branches) vary in length and the size of diameter that can be accommodated.
A set of pruners works well to cut the leg at the knee where the meat stops and the foot begins. Don’t forget to save your chicken feet and dehydrate them for your dogs as treats!
$25.39 at the time of this post
If you’re going to be a stickler on yourself for complete feather removal, you’ll want some pliers like these to grab onto whatever didn’t come off in the plucker. Whatever you get, make sure they don’t have teeth so you can grasp the feather/quill.
We used to care. Now we don’t care. LOL You get better at removing all the feathers over time as you learn to balance water temperature and plucker choreography. You can also use a crème brûlée torch at time of cooking if you have any left on that you want removed.
$7.99 at the time of this post
This Skinning Knife is great for cutting around the vent (butthole) so you don’t cut the intestines and get poop all over your meat.
$32.99 at the time of this post
If you’re a dork like me, you might want to color code the carcasses to remember things later like breed of duck or male vs. female if you want to compare weights with sexes. Or you could have a separate cooler. But if you only have one cooler, these ties are great to remember things like type of breed in case you want to remember later whether you like the taste of Ancona better than Pekin, for example. You can label the bag later, but it helps to color code the carcass if you need to remember later when you’re bagging.
Another thing I use these for is tagging juvenile ducklings after their baby leg bands are too small. I have a whole post (Banding Ducks to Track Egg Color Genetics) on tagging different breeds of ducks (or chickens) and what egg color they came out of, if you track your birds to this level for breeding or genetic conservation reasons.
$12.45 at the time of this post
We don’t like to use bleach, so we’ve tried Simple Green and we really like it. We use it all around the house.
$19.99 at the time of this post
You can pick these up at Tractor Supply if you only need one. But I can make a “case” for a case of these on your homestead.
$46 at the time of this post
You can use a regular Sharpie, but a waterproof Sharpie will save you lots of anguish if you’re trying to write on your bags when they’re slightly wet or cold (like if you forgot to label something on the bag beforehand).
I like to put the weight and the breed of the duck (so I or the people who eat them will know if they like a certain flavor better) as well as the words ORGANIC SOY-FREE so if I gift a duck to someone, they will remember it’s high quality!
$12.57 $8.49 at the time of this post
Just like above, pick your preference of Sharpie based on other uses you’d have. As long as it’s waterproof, it’ll be fine!
$9.09 at the time of this post
Shrink bags are cheaper than vacuum sealing bags, but I do not like having hot plastic against my food, even if it’s BPA free. I also don’t like to have to fire up the propane burner again to do the bagging because I can use the vacuum sealer in the house while watching TV. But if you’re doing this for money and running, basically, a production line, this is the way to go. A lot of people have better results by putting a straw in the body of the bird while shrink-wrapping, so the air can escape.
$26.95 at the time of this post ($.54 per bag + zip tie)
You’ll need zip ties for the shrink bags if they don’t come with them, and this is a great deal for a bag of 1000. You can use these in other applications on your farm: hanging grow lights, hanging poultry netting on t-post fencing, and fixing just about anything!
$19.99 at the time of this post ($.02 per zip tie)
These pre-made vacuum sealer bags work great for chickens and ducks up to the size of an Ancona Duck. Sometimes, we have had to cut more of the neck bone off or we have had to cut more of the leg bone. They have to go in diagonally and you need two people to seal so you can keep the duck positioned right. I would not use them for anything larger than a whole Ancona. We are about to bag Pekin Ducks and we will probably cut them in half along the sternum and spine. If you find a pre-made bag in larger dimensions, please let me know. I am thinking you’d need 12″ x 20″ for a Pekin. I will update this post.
$42.99 at the time of this post ($.214 per bag)
As long as your vacuum sealer will handle the width of the bag you’re using, it’s fine. This is the one I have. I don’t like having to balance the bird with two people, so if anyone has a model where the bag can lay on the counter without having to be held up in the moisture well, please let me know.
$229.98 $188.50 at the time of this post