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.
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)
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
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
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.
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.
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
7. Refrigeration or Freezer Units
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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.