I’ve just read 5 reviews for ‘chicken pluckers’ online, all had conflicting reviews, some made little sense and 2 of them were so long I just lost interest half way through. I just kept thinking – just tell me what I need to know – cut the nonsense! And then it clicked why…
I’m calling ‘B.S’ – there is something fishy about alot of reviews online today, either people are being paid by the manufacturer, fine as long as it’s disclosed but as that aint ‘non biased’ and so those reviews aren’t for me.
OR the ‘people’ who are doing the ‘reviewing’ actually don’t own and have never owned a chicken plucker. And infact I suspect some don’t even raise chickens. Seriously.
All I ‘wanna’ know is:
Question: For the price, how well does this thing pluck chickens??
Because I know if I spend 3,000 bucks on something it’s going to be fantastic with all the ‘bells and whistles’ but here’s the kicker:
I dont have 2 grand to spend. I got a few hundred bucks and I needed a chicken plucker to save me some time but it has to work in the following way:
- No skin tears (I can’t afford to buy anything too rough that will damage the skin and meat).
- Easy to clean (I need the whole process to save me time (& therefore money) or its out the window)
- All feathers gone, leaving no feathered spots anywhere – I’ll be ‘fairly’ tolerant around the feet as I know from experience that’s a tough area. The odd feather on the feet or tail, I’m not going to cry about.
- Some longevity from the motor – if this thing packs up in under a season – I’ll have poured money down the drain for nothing.
- Stainless steel – with all that work and water, I can’t have this thing going rusty on me!
Well if you have read any of my other stuff you’ll know i’m a 4th generation farmer. And you can look us up too, plus ‘PoultryPages’ has been online since 2000.
Full Disclaimer: We haven’t raised birds for meat before (pre-covid) so this was a trial for us to see if we make it work. Sure, we know chickens, we got a flock of 30 odd chickens (and ducks) but they are all pets and kept purely for eggs but we needed an extra revenue stream so decided to go for broilers.
(I did the math and decided, perhaps like yourselves, in the meat versus egg production debate, broilers were going to pay more for us. Plus I think ‘post Covid’ we are less reliant on imports and meat is changing – people now want more pasture raised, free range but home grown birds. And I’m betting meat prices will go up more, in percentage terms, than egg prices.)
Tip 1 – Don’t Buy A YardBird Chicken Plucker
Wish I had read more reviews but production day was fast approaching and with so much stuff out of stock due to ‘global supply chain problems’ I panicked and bought the first thing I saw in stock for under $500.
But actually it wasn’t the first thing I saw, as I’d borrowed a ‘YardBird’ from the next door farm for a morning and it worked ‘perfectly’ for 6 birds, so I thought it was a no-brainer to buy one for myself. First BIG mistake.
The issues for me were:
- Feathers getting stuck in the sensors – like constantly! This was driving me mad having to unblock it.
- The electrics on this chicken plucker must have been designed and built in…(I don’t want to offend anyone here so let’s just say they must have been designed by someone totally useless!) It cut out and then just kept on cutting out – i’m was really getting wound up!
- No refunds – seriously – so silly I didn’t even check before buying (my error)
- Countless more little things that you can only really tell when you use one, not just looking at one online.
I don’t make videos, I haven’t the time and no one would understand me with my drawl anyway but luckily this guy explains the problems with the YardBird better than I could in a few mins on YouTube.
What I Did Like:
(It was about the only thing) Was the fact that the top drum can easily separate from the rest of the unit making for easier cleaning. So I added that onto my list of ‘must haves’ for my next chicken plucker.
I Now Know What Works & What Doesn’t!
My YardBird was a complete ‘fail’ and reading other reviews online it seems I’m not the only one saying this BUT now at least I’ve hands-on experience with a plucker and I know what I’m looking for with my next one and why!
(Oh and after kicking up a stink, I was able to get a refund through Amazon) I’m just annoyed how much time I wasted and thank the Lord I only had a trial run on that production day else I would be out BIGTIME.
We were about 5 weeks away from our next bird production day giving me enough time to do some really in depth research on chicken plucking machines. Deep diving into the motors, electrics, RPM, reviews and the design. (I just feel bad having to constantly borrow the neighbors. I need a machine plucker of my own.)
Heres the results from my research.
Best Chicken Plucking Machine Under $500
Doing up to 100 birds on any one day – then this is for you.
Price sensitive? Yes I get it, me too, i’ve searched Craigslist for weeks trying to buy something amazing that’s second hand but that would be better than buying something else brand new. Not a darn thing comes up – even still.
So in my eyes you’ve two options. You’ve probably seen these at the top of the searches in Amazon too, right?
Option 1 – the Kitchener machine chicken plucker
Option 2 – SuperHandy machine chicken plucker
DON’T BUY THE KITCHENER MACHINE PLUCKER!
Both are made by ‘Intradin’ (seriously check out their site) but ‘Kitchener’ is simply a better known brand and so they charge more. In this case they are charging $50 bucks more, on Amazon! Same drum, same motor (1HP 800W), same stand, same fingers (92). So save yourself $50.
Plus the SuperHandy machine chicken plucker has better reviews and bright orange legs which I like.
It’s just an awesome beast and I really recommend it, if it was $100 more, I still would have bought it.
Coops’N’More (Rite Farm Products) Chicken Plucker
FYI Rite Farm Products owns the brand CoopsNMore.
I love, love, love this brand. It’s a US company with great customer service and they build out their chicken pluckers really well too. I own several of their products like drinkers etc and have never had issues with anything they make. Homesteaders love them, just look at the comments on most YouTube videos.
So why didn’t I buy one then?
I did price up the ‘RiteFarm XL PRO’ Chicken Plucker’ and it was $1200. I simply can’t spend that kind of money (yet) doing just a few hundred birds a year, I’m not processing enough birds to justify it.
Plus if the price wasn’t bad enough they had been out of stock for months and no sign of returning into stock either.
Processing up to 100 birds at one time? Buy the SuperHandy.
But im now doing more than 100 birds and I’d love to have bought the RiteFarm Product XL Chicken Plucker but at over $1200 I couldn’t afford it, its too expensive.
Stuck not sure what to do – I suddenly had a breakthrough!!
I realized that the RiteFarm chicken plucker, which was the one I actually wanted, looked identical to a few others on Amazon. (All bar the label on the front) Hmm? How could that be, had everyone copied the design or was there something deeper at play?
The Answer: It appears that most companies now jump on Alibaba, order the MOQ of a product and label it (literally label it with a sticker) as their ‘own’. They are then able to charge a premium for ‘their’ brand.
BUT it’s the same as all the other ones. And all the other ones are HALF the price!! Look…
Tip 2: Buy The Vivor Chicken Plucker
All that research and testing led us to purchasing the ‘Vevor 1500w Chicken Plucker’ .
Because the really stupid thing about the YardBird style design is the waste outflow is right next to the motor and electrics – its a recipe for disaster. The Vivor is sturdily built without this design flaw in a totally different way.
I also had a head start as I have some Vivor power tools and I know they are well designed and well built for the price.
The design ticked all my boxes and the spec just doubled ticked them. I did 100 birds with it in one day. And it handled that easily taking about 12 seconds per bird (Cornish). The only reason we stopped that day at 100 birds is due to freezing space, not the machine’s capacity.
If you’re moving from plucking by hand to using a plucking machine – prepare to have your mind blown – it’s sooo good!
#2 Cons Of This Chicken Plucking Machine
#1 This product is not made in the US. I always try to buy US grown or made…well anything! Not possible here as the same product made in the US was double the price! I can’t afford to pay that for, in essence, the same product. I’m just being honest, I’m a homesteader not a millionaire.
#2 Some of the reviews report the item arriving with a dent on the base. Now this didn’t bother me in the slightest. It’s to pluck chickens with, not polish up and post images of on Instagram. Plus I’m all the way over the other side of the country so I can forgive UPS I suppose.
Because you’re looking for that ‘sweet spot’ between price and reviews; I’m looking for the best bang for my buck. Not a silver bullet, that works miracles but also costs 2 grand.
Round Up Conclusion
If on ‘process day’ you do up to, or around, 100 birds buy the SuperHandy Chicken Plucker its ace and well under $500.
Doing over 100 birds? Then save several hundred dollars buying the same one as us, that has worked without fault for nearly 2 years now.
It was well worth doing all this research as it saved me several hundred bucks, but nonetheless writing this took time so I really do hope this helps you with your decision.