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The next step in poultry processing is the feather removal. Picking or plucking depending on the region you are from. For the small sized processor there are two possible mechanized methods of removing feathers. The first is to hand hold each bird against a revolving drum which has a number of rubber "fingers" protruding from it. As these fingers rub against the bird, they rub the feathers off much as a man's fingers do when a bird is picked by hand. The bird is rolled across the drum so that all parts are exposed to the fingers long enough to remove the feathers but not to damage the skin.
This method, using a "manual drum picker," is recommended for the processor who desires to de-feather up to 50 birds a day. It uses equipment that is less expensive than other methods, and a good operator can de-feather a bird in 15-20 seconds if the bird has been effectively slack or hard scalded. Capacity may be increased by simply adding another machine and operator to the line. This method is entirely done by hand.
When capacity exceeds 50 birds an hour or so, it is more economical to use an automatic machine which will de-feather several birds at a time. All of the various types of these machines have a tub into which the birds are placed. Either the machine will have a rotating disc at the bottom or a drum in the center that will rotate the birds in the tub, while rubber fingers in the walls of the tub and in the rotating disc or drum rub the feathers off.
The birds should have any remaining pin feathers removed by hand immediately after picking and before they are chilled.