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How Chinese Chickens Get Defeathered (video)

Check out this crazy chicken defeathering machine.

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I’ve seen these machines from time to time in live poultry markets or in the middle of some hovel in an old, run-down, traditional part of some backwater of China. At first I didn’t know what they were — they just look like giant stainless steel pots with dozens of rubber nodules sicking out of the sides of the interiors — but then I peered down below and discovered a clue as to their function. Below the strange knobby pot looking thing was a chute that was encrusted with a gunky mass of chicken feathers. I realized then that these are poultry defeathering machines.

On the outskirts of Jiangsu Taizhou I took the following video of one of these machines in action.

How these defeathering machines work is pretty simple:

First, the chicken is slaughtered. Which is often done by slicing an artery in its neck with a pair of scissors or a knife. Then the bird is tossed into a bucket or some other kind of container to flap around until dead. Then it is soaked in boiling water for a few moments and then tossed into the big stainless steel cylinder of the defeathering machine.

At the bottom of the cylinder is a wheel that spins, which rapidly flings the chicken around in a circle like a washing machine on dry cycle. In this whirlwind motion friction is created against the chicken by the rubber nodules, which remove its feathers. After around five minutes the bird is bald and its feathers are discarded out of the chute at the bottom of the machine.



Filed under: Agriculture, Animals, China, Food, Machines

About the Author:

I am the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. I’ve been traveling the world since 1999, through 91 countries. I am the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China and have written for The Guardian, Forbes, Bloomberg, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3704 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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