Small-Scale Chicken Processing

A growing number of small producers are raising poultry outdoors on pasture, processing the birds on-farm, and selling the meat directly to customers at the farm or at a farmers’ market.

Access to processing is a critical issue for small producers. Consolidation in the meat processing industry has left very few small plants that will do custom poultry processing. Large plants generally don’t process for small producers; they can’t keep track of a small batch of birds and can’t make money on small volume orders.

This publication covers small-scale processing, both on-farm and in small plants. Relevant information on large-scale processing is also included for comparison, to provide context,
and because small processors need to have some understanding of how large-scale processing works.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Comparison of types of processing
  • Pre-slaughter
  • Immobilizing, Killing, and Bleeding
  • Feather Removal
  • Table 2. Scalding
  • Removal of Head, Oil Glands, and Feet
  • Evisceration
  • Washing the Carcass
  • Chilling
  • Cut-up, Deboning, and Further Processing
  • Aging
  • Packaging
  • Storage
  • Delivery and Distribution
  • Clean-up
  • Waste Management
  • Processing Plant Waste Loads per 1000 Chickens
  • Equipment and Supplies
  • Processing Diverse Species
  • Batch vs. Continuous Processing
  • Processing Rate
  • Processing Setup
  • Economics
  • Resources

Download e-book here or here.

photo from britannica.com

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