How to Build a Chicken Plucker – Whizbang Chicken Plucker
However, most of them are too costly. Budget is always the first consideration. So why spend too much when we can build chicken plucker by ourselves?
Whizbang Chicken Plucker popularized by Herrick Kimball is a design that many poultry raisers imitated. And the best thing about imitation is we can use other alternative materials that are less costly but are also highly efficient.
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Here’s how to build a chicken plucker or generally, a poultry plucker.
Table of Contents
Whizbang Chicken Plucker
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How to Build a Chicken Plucker - Step by Step Process
1. In creating the chicken plucker wheel, use a bandsaw, a sabre saw or a similar tool to cut a circle out.
2. Prepare the plywood for the plucker wheel and the drive wheel.
3. Make a simple jig out of this plywood. Cut or get three to four pieces of flat timber 3-4’ long 2x4” for strength.
It won’t also flex during cutting of the wheel. Drill a 1/2” hole in one end for the axle to be used.
4. Clamp the board to the bandsaw with the hole exactly half the distance away from the blade. Say, your wheel is 22” diameter, then the center of the hole would be 11” away from the saw blade.
To help stabilizing the wheel while being cut, put another board on the other side of the blade.
5. Measure the width of your barrel. Just so you know, mine is 24”. The wheel must fit inside the bottom of this barrel.
You may make your wheel 2” smaller than the barrel’s bottom diameter. So, in my case, it would be 22”.
6. Now, with the board still clamped to the band saw, with the hole 11” away from the blade, insert the steel axle.
7. Cut a square-shaped wood 2” wider than the final circle. Refine it using the band saw. And ‘X’ mark the center of this square and drill a 1/2” hole. Insert the dowel, pencil, pen or nail into this hole.
Tie a string to the dowel in the center of the board. Now, tie a string to an actual pen or pencil 12” away from the center.
It will keep the distance and keep the string tight. Around the board, draw a circle. Then cut the triangle off the board for a rough stop sign shape.
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8. Take the board to be used as the wheel over to the circle jig on the band saw. Set the wheel, its hole first, onto the axle in the jig.
While the saw is running, start to turn the wheel on the jig. The product must be a perfectly round wheel that won’t need much future tuning.
9. To draw out the rough circle, you may also use the plucker wheel finger plate. You may use a metal trash can lid and cut it into the desired size and shape. Drill a 1/2” hole in the center of this lid for the axle to go.
10. Poultry plucker fingers must be inserted into a thinly walled plucker and “snap” into place. Since we use 3/4” plywood, the fingers won’t “snap”. We must make a second plate that can be attached later to the sturdy wheel.
We can use a trash can lid which is thin and semi-water proof. Serves the purpose. Now, make a rough positioning of the 3/4” holes for the chicken plucker finger.
Starting from the center, put every finger every 1.5” distance. Too tight will weaken their neighbor fingers.
11. Insert the plucker fingers. Caution: Use gloves to avoid blisters. Insert the small end onto the lid. Wiggle and pull. Wiggle and pull. Back and forth until they snap into place. Vice grips or channel locks can make this work easier.
12. Attach the plastic finger plate to the wooden plucker base by putting a 1/4” bolt through in between each outer finger. Stick the finger wheel and the wooden plate together.
Run the axle through it checking its proper alignment. Then drill a 1/4” hole through the two plates. Remember that proper order must be: bolt, washer, plastic lid, spacer, wood, washer, nut. Run the 1/4” bolt through the washer.
Then the hole. Insert a 1/4” plastic spacer between the plastic lid and the wood. Run the bolt through the spacer. Then into the wood. Add another washer.
Then do a loose finger tightening of the nut on that bolt. Rinse and repeat. Drill another hole. Bolt it. And so on.
13. Creating the drive wheel. It is the same method as creating the plucker wheel. The difference is that its size is dependent on the motor speed.
Let’s use a 16” wheel with a 1/2” hole in the center, and shoot for 125RPM give or take. To make it a pulley wheel, use the standard V-groove pulley.
14. Wheel mounting plates. Let’s create a plate that would be attached to the chicken plucker and drive wheels allowing us to attach the wheels to the axle.
Take some 1” flat stock that was ab out 3/16” thick intended to be cut later to be 8” in length. Locate the center 1/2” hole that the axle would go through at 4” in.
Cut 4-1/4” hole 1” away from the center hole, and 3” away from the center hole. Caution: Lubricate your bit.
15. Cut the stock to length and ground down the burrs left behind from drilling and cutting. Position a steel collar on the plate. Slide the plate onto the axle.
Check the alignment between the collar and the plate. Put some 90-degree magnets to align the plate with the axle. This will prevent wobbling up and down during spinning.
Tack the collar in place and finish welding all the way around the collar to the plate. Insert the collar into the wheel. Align the mounting plate on the axle and slid it up to the wheel.
Mark the 4-1/4” holes into the wooden wheels. Drill the holes. Pass some 1/4” bolts through the holes and board. Use washers on both sides. Lock a nut down attaching the wheel to the plate.
Snugly tighten the set screw in the collar onto the axle. Put a bearing on both ends of the shaft and set the axle on a flat surface. Hang off the wheel on one edge.
Test spin to check if wobbling too much and that the whole is fairly well centered so wheels won’t go up and down when spinning.
16. Barrel preparation. This is the general assembly stage - of chicken plucker plate and wheel. We are ready to build chicken plucker. Cut 1/3 of the barrel off marking it with some ribbing.
The purpose is to give space need at the bottom for feather collection and water pathway giving plenty of room at the top for tumbling chickens. Drill a 1/2” hole just above the ribbing that you can get a sabre saw into.
Follow the line and cut all the way around the barrel. Then drill a 3/4” hole in the center at the barrel bottom for the axle to pass through. Cut a 3” x 8” square hole opposite the handle.
Then drill several 3/4” holes in the barrel for the fingers. Mark 8 lines every 45 degrees and drill 5 holes equally spaced apart. Start the holes 4” up from the bottom. Plucker fingers are another 3.5 to 4” tall.
So drill about 8” mark from the bottom. Then after every 1.5” after, drill another hole for 5 holes. And so on.
The final stage is the frame assembly which is another matter. You may do it yourself also. Just make sure the barrel perfectly fits into it.
There went your own Whizbang chicken plucker version. To sum it up, in perfect order, you must be a scavenger, a creator and a buyer.
Consider what can be scavenged, what parts can be created on your own and what needs to be purchased.
Saving money while building the purpose must always come to mind. I hope I’ve helped you on your inquest for a Whizbang chicken plucker!