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Need ideas for minimizing fecal contamination during chicken butchering process.

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We are doing 19 chickens next week (first time in 20 years) and are using a propane fired scalder and Yardbird plucker. Our birds seem to have considerable poop on their feathers and I feel like the scalder water will get pretty bad by the time we get the last one done. Because of the length of time it takes to get the water up to temp I would rather not have to dump it all out and refill in the middle of the butchering. I am considering spraying the killed birds off with a hose before going into the scalder. Has anyone done this and did it help?

Also am thinking about the contaminated water on the birds skin as they are gutted and prepared. I suppose a good spraying when finished here would help as well, just before going in the ice water tub. Any thoughts on this would be greatly appreciated from those of you who have done this. Thanks.

Pressure wash their backsides while they're still alive?

It's a joke! Yes horribly cruel, but the visual is stuck in my head now.

I'm not a chicken person, but rinsing them off sounds like a solid plan.

I've not had the issue with chickens but a couple of my ducks did poop when I put them in the cone.  I just hosed them off after they bled out.  Definitely don't dunk dirty birds, you'll just be spreading germs around. 
 If you've got poop in more than just one small area, I'd actually wash them in a warm tub (with rubber gloves on!)  with Dawn and rinsing well before dunking.  And add 1/4 c of salt per gallon to your ice water, it will help with some bacteria.

If they have the poop on them before killing you might look into your coop arrangement, something's not right.  Do you have poop boards under the roosts?

Thanks! I like the idea of washing off in a warm tub. I might even spray them first with a hose. Also I think you are right that our coop situation is causing some of the problem because they do seem to have more poop in their feathers than I expected.

Star Lady, I am married to Thor....We don't have roosts for our broilers.  We have ample space, including a screened in porch, that runs the front of the building, and continues down one side.  We clean down to the floor, every week.  I am wondering about the use of fine bedding.  I think that was a mistake.  We use it in the hen house with no issues, but of course, they have roosts.  This past week, we put straw over the bedding in hopes it would get mixed under, and absorb.  These are big birds, now looking like small fat turkeys.  They tend to lay down a great deal of the time.  They are not totally caked in feces.  Please remove that image from your mind :(. We were concerned about  chunks on their chests.  Thor is setting up another scalder with hot water, to help pre clean, along with a hose, as per the helpful hints on this site.  Maybe next time, we will try roosts, near the ground and see it they use them. They do jump up on extra bales of straw, when available.  See you Saturday!


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