Processing Plans 600 Birds/Hour


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As you begin planning your processing operation, obtain the advice of your local inspector.  Requirements vary from one geographic area to another. By obtaining the blessing of your local inspector, you can often save time and expense.  Local extension personnel can also be a good source of knowledge.

A summary of personnel required is shown in Exhibit 1.  You will need about 4 people to kill, scald, and pick.  You will need about 12 people to eviscerate and pack.  Exhibit 2 shows the approximate location of these 16 people.


When killing the bird, it is best to cut the carotid artery, not the windpipe.  This allows the bird to more easily bleed and minimizes shock.  A properly bled bird will have little or no blood around the bone or joint.  If you use an electric stunner the blood appears in the joints the has been stunned too hard. turn the setting lower.  Do not cut the head off as the bird is bled.  This will result in an undesirable appearance.  The head should be removed during the evisceration process.  Estimate bleeding time at about 1 minute and 15 seconds.


After birds are bled, they should be scalded then picked as soon as they can be loaded into your scalder.  SCALD AND PICK WITHOUT DELAY.  The scald is the key to a good pick.  When analyzing damaged birds, please note.  If bird shows a bruise, the bruise happened before the bird was killed or during death shudder.  A bled bird will not bruise.  The darker the bruise the older the injury.  If a broken bone has blood around it, the breakage occurred while the bird was alive.  The darker the blood, the older the injury. Pick only long enough to pull feathers.  Extending pick risks skin tearage. Excessive skin tearage in the the breast and inner thigh are signs scald is too hot or long.  Fatty tissue under skin should not liquefy.  If fat breakdown occurs, scald is too hot.

Recommended Scald Capacities are:

Model No.

Length of Scald

Birds Scalded At One Time

SS36SS Broilers 1 minute 20
Pheasants 1 minute 20
Turkey Hens 1 minute 8
Turkey Toms 1 minute 3
Quail 30 seconds 40-50
Duck 1 minute 20
Scald Temperatures: Broilers 145° F ( 63° C )
Quail 127° F ( 53° C )
Duck 150° F ( 66° C )

Recommended Pick Capacities are:

Model No. Length of Pick Birds Picked At One Time
SP30SS Broilers 30 seconds 10
Pheasants 30 seconds 10
Turkey Hens 30 seconds 3-4
Turkey Toms 30 seconds 2
Quail 15 seconds 20-30
Duck 30 seconds 10


All capacities indicated for individual machines or for complete systems are approximate.  The ability to achieve the capacities indicated depends on many factors including but not limited to labor force experience, plant layout, whether or not equipment is operated under continuous production and size of the birds.  Capacities indicated generally assume a 2.5 pound (1.1 kilogram) broiler.  Birds larger than that will reduce capacity.

When processing pheasant and turkeys, hand strip heavy wing and tail feathers ("flight feathers") before picking.  Water fowl are a difficult species to pick--whether they are dry picked (no scald) or if they are scalded and picked.

Use only model SS48SS Scalder and Model SP38SS Picker for larger turkey operations.  Our smaller picker and scalder can be used if you are processing a few turkeys. If when picking, it is apparent that the birds are not sufficiently scalded, we recommend a longer scald, not a higher temperature.

Consider placing a sturdy step or platform between your scalder and picker.  This can improve productivity by making it easier to move birds between the two machines.

Make sure your Model SS36SS Scalder is properly vented and that the vent is open.  Without venting, heat builds up under the scalder and can cause equipment damage.  Also, efficiency will be reduced resulting in higher gas consumption.

With practice, you can achieve a yellow skin if desired.  A bird has two skins.  The outer yellow skin is usually loosened in the scald.  However, if you drop the scald temperature to 127° F (53° C), the outer yellow skin should remain in place.  Scald  for the same length of time, just drop the temperature.

There are markets for feet.  Should you elect to market them, you can get them in presentable condition.  Scald the feet twice (1 minute each time) and pick once for 30 seconds.  The skin should be removed and you should have a marketable item.


Do not run the eviscerating line conveyor any faster than necessary to get the production you need.  Usually 600 birds per hour requires 10-12 feet feet per minute line speed.


Consult a refrigeration or ice machine manufacturer or other experts about chilling your birds.  This can be a capital intensive part of your operation.  Purchase equipment that can be serviced in your locale.  Purchasing an ice bin allows you to run your ice machine 24 hours a day.  Other options for consideration include placing ice storage inside of a cooler or placing an ice machine on top of a small cooler.  In other words, there are several creative possibilities for adding the cooling capability you need.

Chilling is necessary to reduce pathogen development.  Chilling by itself will reduce pathogens.  Birds need to be thoroughly washed as well.  Birds need to be chilled to below 40°F (4°C), i.e. 35 - 37°F (2-3°C) within 4 hours of death. Maintenance of bird at this temperature can give shelf life of 7-10 days.  The inside of the carcass should be chilled to this temperature.  In operations of the size and type we sell, some variation of ice is usually used.  Cubed, diced, flaked or shaved ice works better than large ice chunks.  The amount of ice depends on the ratio of ice to water and also depends on the temperature of the room where chilling is performed.  For chilling, estimate 1.5 pounds to 1.75 pounds (.7-.8kg) of ice per bird.  This is where the water in your chill tank is about 35°F (2°C) and where room temperature is 68-77°F (20-25°C).  To maintain birds in a cooler, estimate 10-15 pounds of ice (4.5-6.8kg) in a tray of say 20 birds.

Using Brower's chill pump Model No. CTAP60 (or CTAP50) will help your ice go further.  Don't overload your chill tanks.  Capacities are approximately:


Model No.

PP430 75-100 Chickens
PP412 50-75 Chickens
PP433 20-30 Chickens

You will probably need two workers to ice, make boxes, pack boxes, weigh and stack or load.  A foreman should handle one of these positions as packing twenty boxes of bird per hour is not a full-time job for one person.  Be sure to train one of these people and make them responsible for assuring birds are properly chilled.

You will need two wheel trucks for moving coops and ice boxes. You may want to purchase small tables to facilitate your operation after you have had some experience.  You may need more space for live coops, hang and kill depending on your operation.  We also recommend our electric stunner to reduce death shudder and carcass damage.  To keep your stainless looking bright, mineral oil is excellent for cleanup.

1. Unload coops -- hang on killing line/stun-bleed birds 2 - people
2. Scalder 1 - person
3. Picker 1 - person
4. Cut hocks/oil gland 1 - person
5. Hang on evisceration conveyor/pull crop 1 - person
6. Open tail/pull vent (J cut) 1 - person
7. Pull entrails separating giblet mass 1 - person
8. Separate giblet mass/pinch gall/trim heart 1 - person
9. Split/wash/trim gizzard 1 - person
10. Peel gizzards/tend to giblets 1 - person
11. Remove lungs/wash cavity 1 - person
12. Remove head/remove neck/carcass wash 1 - person
13. Supervisor/work chill tanks/inspection 1 - person
14. Packaging/general help 2 - people