Defeathering machine or feather plucking machine has now become a must-have for broiler farmers that want to own their profit. Yes, defeathering is one of the steps in slaughtering chicken. If you are a broiler farmer who takes record, you will know that the profit from raising broilers to maturity is becoming very small. Especially if you are buying processed feed and selling the mature broilers to processing plants. However, you can change that narrative for yourself by getting a feather plucking or defeathering machine.
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The Profit Margin in 2020
Apart from being practically and personally involved in poultry business, I am a seasoned poultry consultant with a knack for bringing innovative solutions to my client. In 2020, following the increase in feed price, I found myself advising many of my clients to get a defeathering machine. Of course, it is crazy when you spend about 480,000 Naira to raise 300 broilers and you can’t even boast of 30% profit at the end of the season. That was the terrible situation poultry farmers faced last year. I can confidently tell you that a lot of people didn’t even make any profit and were even congratulating themselves for being able to break even.
Increase in Price of Day-Old Chicks and Poultry Feed
As at October, Day Old Chicks sold for as high as 600 Naira per chick and quality feed rose to over 5000 Naira per bag. At the time of this post, some feeds are already selling for close to 7000 Naira per 25 KG bag. While the cost of Day-Old Chicks are currently not up to the price of October, we might still get there in February. So, for those who are still going to remain in the business, I advise you get a defeathering machine now.
How a Defeathering Machine Would Help
If your only option is to sell mature broilers to end consumers or processing plants, then you will be desperate to sell for any price. When your birds reach market weight and no one is coming to buy yet, you begin to get nervous. Don’t forget that the birds will keep eating and may not compensate for the feed as much as they will do before 6 weeks.
Some Disadvantages of Delayed Broiler Sales
- Older birds are easily affected by heat stress
- Mortality increases, hence reducing your profit margin
- You spend more on feeding
- Birds don’t grow as fast as before maturity
- You become desperate to sell and willing to take any price just to break even
- You are at the mercy of your customer
- You lose the courage to start another batch
How a Feather Plucking Machine Will Help
Let’s say you have a small broiler farm and you are raising between 200-400 broilers. If you are able to process these birds at maturity, not only will you be able to stop their feeding, but you will also be able to sell them at a higher price without any rush. But you can hardly process anything from 50 birds upward without the use of a defeathering machine. This is because defeathering is the most rigorous of the steps in slaughtering chicken.
Steps in Slaughtering Chicken
- Catching – removal of the birds from the rearing floor or cages
- Stunning – rendering the chickens partially unconscious to reduce their struggle
- Slaughtering – cutting the jugular vein to seize life
- Scalding – dipping the carcass in hot water (usually around 60 degrees Celsius for 2 mins)
- Defeathering – Removing the feathers manually or with a defeathering machine
- Eviscerating – removal of the viscera organs
- Washing – hygienic washing of the chicken with clean water
- Packaging – bagging the whole chicken or parts of the chicken
- Chilling – freezing to prepare for storage
Because of the rigor and time-consuming nature of the defeathering process, it is better to use a feather plucking machine.
Meet The Defeathering Machine
The defeathering machine is usually made of a motor, a stainless steel body, rubber fingers, a basin to collect chickens and an outlet to drain water and expel the feathers. It is very easy to use. Just plug into a socket, turn on, put your chickens, and rinse with water.
Available Capacities of Defeathering machine
There are two most common capacities for the small and medium scale farmers. They are:
- 2-3 birds per minute capacity
- 5 birds per minute capacity
Typically, with the 2-3 birds per minute capacity, you should be done with defeathering 100-200 birds in less than 2 hours. You and I know that is not possible with the manual method where you have to use your hands. I’m not even sure you can do it in 7 hours using your hands.
Other Advantages of Processing Your Own Chickens
- You immediately expand your market, as a lot of people are willing to buy processed chickens
- You reduce your loss
- You can decide to cull your chickens as you wish. Whether all at once or just a couple at a time.
- You determine your selling price, and not the customer.
- The processed chickens can be sold smoked, fried, or as desired by interested buyers.
- It is possible to transport the processed chickens to almost anywhere within the country, unlike live birds.
- Transportation cost of processed chickens is a lot cheaper than live birds.
So, you can see that there are lots of reasons to get a defeathering machine and process your broilers yourself. It’s one good way to expand your enterprise and ease the steps in slaughtering chicken.
Anybody Can Use the Defeathering Machine
Just before you begin to think that you need some special technical skills to operate the feather plucking machine, no you don’t. As a matter of fact, I have a 60 something year old female client who processes 200 mature broilers every 2 weeks. If a grandma can, then anybody can.
Where to Buy Quality Defeathering Machine
Quality does not always mean more expensive, and this applies to the defeathering machine too. Don’t go and pay some huge amount just to get something you can get for less. In October 2020, I helped a client to save 40,000 Naira when she called me to get her a feather plucking machine. She saved a whooping sum of 40K by simply calling her DIY AGRIC CONSULT (ME). Shoot me a message here to get more information about the defeathering machine and the current price.
ALSO READ: 8 Proven Ways to Sell Your Chickens