With the coming of the New Year also comes the making of New Year’s resolutions. One of my resolutions for this year is to read about and learn about things that I am not normally familiar with. A visit with family members just a few hours into the New Year quickly fulfilled that resolution for the first time. My granddaughter enlightened me on the use of the “yardbird chicken plucker,” a machine that I knew nothing about.
Growing up on the farm years ago, we had animals of all kinds, including chickens. My mom enjoyed raising and working with chickens. She made a little extra “pin money” by selling eggs at a local auction once a week and raised a few roosters for those special Sunday dinners. Of course, before she could prepare and serve her delicious chicken and noodles, she had to kill the chicken.
She would select the unfortunate one, and with hatchet in hand, head for the woodpile and the tree stump that stood there. She would lay the chicken’s head and neck across the stump and I would hear a loud “whack”. I didn’t look! After that, she would take it to the pot of water boiling over a hot fire, dip it in and then start “plucking” feathers. It was a messy job! As I observed this entire procedure, I quietly made a vow that, if this was what I would have to do to cook a chicken dinner for my family when I grew up, they would be eating a lot of beef and pork!
Over the years, I have had very little interest in chickens and therefore, I know very little about them or the processing of them. I am just grateful that I can go to the store and pick up a package when I want to have chicken for dinner. I had no idea that there was such a thing as a “yardbird chicken plucker” available to the public or that my granddaughter had one! She raised a small flock of chickens so she could have her own eggs and meat in the freezer. My mom would be so pleased!
I learned that a “yardbird chicken plucker” requires electricity and a hose hooked up. According to the information I read, it removes a chicken’s feathers in 15 seconds. One hundred and ten (110) replaceable rubber fingers pluck the feathers while washing dirt from the skin. It takes the hassle out of backyard chicken processing. The rubber fingers are available for replacement when needed. My mom’s fingers probably felt like rubber by the time she got done plucking a chicken!
I also learned about their Silver Wyandotte rooster whose name is “Larry.” Emily informed me that he is mean, chases Daxton and “flops” him. It is said that each rooster has its own personality and temperament. There are methods suggested for mellowing out aggressive roosters and my granddaughter has been trying one of them.
She grabs Larry, clamps her arm around him and squeezes him tight against her to show him who is boss, pets him and repeats over and over, “You are going to let me love you!” I am not sure that either she or Larry is getting the message! Emily is probably going to ask me to have a “talk” with him. If so, the subject will probably be that he will be roosting in the “henhouse in Heaven” with Bernice, Henrietta and Chickaletta if he doesn’t settle down. Those are Emily’s hens who met with “fowl play” and accidents before their time.
So far, I have kept one of my New Year’s resolutions and am off to a good start on them. We are just going to have to wait and see what happens with the others! More exercise? More vegetables, less pizza and gummy bears? Careful about expressing my opinions? Some of my resolutions may not be so easy to keep!
Barb Lumley wrote this column to be published in The Circleville Herald. The views of this column may not necessarily reflect that of the newspaper.