15 Essential Poultry Processing Supplies for the Modern Butcher

Discover Top Poultry Processing Tools and Their Costs for Efficient Butchery Operations

poultry processing supplies 15 Essential Poultry Processing Supplies for the Modern Butcher

Are you a poultry butcher looking to streamline your processing operation? I’ll provide you with a list of 15 essential poultry processing supplies that will make your job easier and more efficient.

The supplies I’ll discuss in this article have been tried and tested by experienced poultry butchers who’ve honed their craft over the years – including myself!

With these supplies in your arsenal, you’ll be able to process poultry with greater ease and precision – and less time and effort – while ensuring safety and quality.

So, whether you’re a seasoned poultry professional or just starting in the industry, these poultry processing supplies will help you set a strong foundation for your operation – or take it to the next level.

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Here are the 15 most necessary or useful supplies you’ll want for processing poultry, with an explanation for each.

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1. Poultry Shears (Scissors)

OXO Good Grips Spring-Loaded Poultry Shears, Black

A strong, quality set of poultry scissors is one of the most crucial supplies to have on hand. They’ll help you precisely cut poultry skin, fat, and meat with more ease. And don’t worry; they’re easy to disinfect for continuous use. 

2. Poultry Knives

Victorinox Poultry, 3-3/4" Straight Vent, Boning, Medium Black Fibrox Pro Handle

Two types of knives will be essential for the chicken butchering process: a killing knife and a boning knife.

A killing knife is the knife you’ll use to dispatch the bird. It’s typically small and has a curved blade for cutting through the windpipe quickly.

A boning knife is a sharper and longer knife used to precisely cut the chicken into parts. It’s designed for precise cuts and fine work, such as trimming, skinning, and cutting off fat.

3. Cutting Board

Cutting Boards for Kitchen - Plastic Cutting Board Set of 3, Dishwasher Safe Cutting Boards with Juice Grooves, Thick Chopping Boards for Meat, Veggies, Fruits, Easy Grip Handle, Non-Slip (Black/Gray)

A sturdy, durable cutting board is essential for any poultry processing operation. The board should be large enough to accommodate the size of the bird.

 I also recommend using a non-porous cutting board, which will make cleaning easier.

4. Apron

NLUS 2 Pack Kitchen Cooking Aprons, Adjustable Bib Soft Chef Apron with 2 Pockets for Men Women (Black/Brown Stripes)

An apron is essential protective clothing for lots of kitchen work, especially for something as messy as poultry processing. It protects your clothes and skin from the bird’s juices and fat.

5. Gloves

PROMEDIX P Nitrile Gloves, 4mil-100 Count, Gloves Disposable Latex Free, Disposable Gloves for Household, Food safe

Gloves are pertinent for protecting your hands from the bird’s parts, fat, and juices and keeping your hands clean. Make sure the poultry gloves you choose are waterproof, non-porous, and supple for greater ease of movement.

6. Low-Cost Feed

Manna Pro 7-Grain Ultimate Chicken Scratch - Scratch Grain Treat for Chickens and Other Birds - Non-GMO Natural Ingredients - 10 lbs

If you’re running a larger poultry processing operation, it’s important to source low-cost feed for the birds. It’ll save you money in the long run and keep the cost of your products competitive.

7. Refrigeration or Freezer Units

RCA RFR322 Mini Refrigerator, Compact Freezer Compartment, Adjustable Thermostat Control, Reversible Door, Ideal Fridge for Dorm, Office, Apartment, Platinum Stainless, 3.2 Cubic Feet

Refrigerators and freezers are essential for storing processed poultry until it is sold or consumed.

Choosing the right size for your operation is vital, so make sure you pick one that can accommodate your needs, depending on how many birds you plan on processing per day.

8. Cooler

Igloo Polar 120 Qt. Cooler

A cooler is also helpful during the post-butchering rigor mortis process, as it allows the chicken’s muscles to rest before you remove its organs.

9. Poultry Cone

MILLER RC2 957783 Poultry Steel Restraining Cone, Medium, Galvanized (1 cone)

A poultry cone is a necessary tool for humanely dispatching birds. It will help keep the bird still while you cut and reduce stress on the bird – both of which are important for maintaining high-quality, ethical meat.

10. Scalder

Kitchener Chicken Plucker De-Feather Remover Poultry and Fowl Food Processor Electric Stainless Steel Heavy Duty 1HP 120VAC 280RPM GFCI Connector 92 Soft Fingers 20" Drum Diameter

A scalder is a tank of hot water used to soften the bird’s feathers before plucking, as it makes the plucking easier. Make sure to use clean, fresh water when scaling birds.

11. Automatic Plucker

Yardbird 21833 Chicken Plucker, Stainless Steel, 1.5 HP Motor, 20-inch Drum, 110 Natural Soft Fingers, Integrated Irrigation Ring, Transport Wheels, Simple Debris Collection

If you despise the idea of plucking chickens by hand, you can get an automatic plucker. An automatic plucker has rubber “fingers” inside a large drum that rips feathers from the scalded chicken.

If you plan on butchering chickens regularly, you’ll save ample time by investing in an automatic plucker.

12. Meat Thermometer

ThermoPro TP-02S Instant Read Meat Thermometer Digital Cooking Food Thermometer with Super Long Probe for Grill Candy Kitchen BBQ Smoker Oven Oil Milk Yogurt Temperature

If you get an industrial scalder, you’ll likely not need a separate thermometer, as they tend to have thermometers and regulators built in.

However, it might be a wise idea to still have a meat thermometer for cooking the chicken later to ensure you’re cooking it safely.

13. Bags, Bins, and Buckets

Amazon Basics Tall Kitchen Drawstring Trash Bags, 13 Gallon, Unscented, 120 Count (Previously Solimo)

Containers and bags are necessary all throughout the butchering process, from transporting to draining blood to containing byproducts and feathers to storing after the butchering is complete.

You’ll also need quality plastic bags and containers to store the processed chicken after butchering. Invest in good-quality, heavy-duty plastic bags to ensure the chicken stays fresh as long as possible.

14. Cleaning Supplies

Lysol Pro Kitchen Spray Cleaner and Degreaser, Antibacterial All Purpose Cleaning Spray for Kitchens, Countertops, Ovens, and Appliances, Citrus Scent, 22oz

Last but not least, you’ll want appropriate cleaning supplies, such as a high-pressure hose, cleaning solution, disinfectant, soap, brushes, and rags. 

Once you’ve finished butchering the chicken, you’ll need to clean up the area.

Cleaning supplies will help keep your workspace hygienic and ensure no bacteria remain, which is important for keeping your chicken safe to eat.

15. Chemicals

In addition to chemicals like disinfectants mentioned above, there are various other chemicals you’ll want handy for poultry processing.

Chlorine and peracetic acid will help kill bacteria and viruses on the surfaces of your equipment, and antimicrobials like sodium bisulfate or hydrogen peroxide work to reduce bacterial contamination.

Further, enzymes like bromelain and papain can help tenderize the meat for the perfect texture, and acidifiers like citric or lactic acid lower the pH of meat, which can also improve its texture and extend the poultry’s shelf-life.

What is called poultry processing?

Poultry processing is an umbrella term for the entire production of attaining, butchering, and storing chicken.

What chemicals are used in chicken processing plants?

Chemicals used in chicken processing plants depend on the particular plant but typically include cleaning agents, detergents, sanitizers, and disinfectants. 

More specifically, some of the common chemicals include:

  • Chlorine, for killing viruses and bacteria on the supplies
  • Peracetic acid for killing bacteria, fungi, and viruses
  • Antimicrobials like sodium bisulfate or hydrogen peroxide reduce bacterial contamination
  • Enzymes like bromelain and papain tenderize the meat
  • Acidifiers like citric or lactic acid, which lower the pH of meat

How is chicken processed step by step?

The steps for processing chickens include catching, stunning, killing, de-feathering, evisceration (removal of the organs), washing, and chilling.

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