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It seems the standard way to remove chickens feathers after slaughtering is to scald the chicken in hot water for up to a couple minutes before plucking the feathers. (as an example, here's some instructions in pdf format from the university of Wyoming).

According to Jewish Law (See YD 69:11), this method would not be permitted, since the chicken has not been salted yet. (This process is called "מליגה"). (See also YD 68:11 for further discussion)

What do Kosher meat processors do to remove the chicken feathers in a halachically permissible way? If there is a different method for home practitioners, what would that be?

I came across a paper from Israeli scientists in the 1970s looking for a kosher way to remove the feathers who tested using cold water and found that good plucking (i.e. without the skin tearing) was attained at temperatures below 7 °C. You can read the paper here. But there is no mention of if this method was adopted by kosher slaughterhouses.


{This question was inspired by this one}

  • At my place they didn't use anything else than their hands. This meant that sometimes they didn't/couldn't do a thorough work... – Kazi bácsi Jun 22 at 9:20
  • Why can't they pluck the remaining feathers after kashering ? – Noach MiFrankfurt Jun 22 at 16:45
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I can't say that all Kosher meat processors follow the same process but some use a "picker" machine which works with agitation of the chicken against small rubber parts that de-feather it but still keep the chicken intact.

FYI, one can buy a drill attachment that is a chicken plucker for home use so one can avoid scalding.

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  • I've seen videos of those online. My understanding is that unless the bird has been scalded, the rubber fingers will end up tearing the skin of the bird. I've never tried it though. – Menachem Jun 22 at 17:11
  • @Menachem The question you cited includes a link for the machines that the questioner implies work fine, but are expensive duckduckgo.com/?q=plucking+machine&ia=shopping That question you cited also claims the scalding makes the feathers fall out by themselves with no plucking needed. Keep in mind up until less than half a century ago flickers (feather pluckers) were a common after market hire. – user6591 Jun 23 at 2:58
  • @user6591 scalding doesn't make the feathers fall out by themselves, they just make them really easy to remove. – Menachem Jun 23 at 5:47
  • @Menachem I would tend to agree with you. I was just stating the purported claim from that question. I'm quite certain I remember seeing the feather plucking machines when I visited a slaughterhouse and I'm sure they work better than the $250 one on Amazon. That being said, certain slaughterhouses obviously have machines that work better than other ones based on anecdotal evidence I the grocery store. There are some brands I don't buy because of the excess of feathers still on the poultry. – user6591 Jun 23 at 12:10
  • @user6591 the question is if it is the quality of the machines that determine the excess of feathers, or the process used before putting the chicken in the plucking machine. That's what I'd like to find out – Menachem Jun 23 at 15:58

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