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Publication numberUS3074103 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJan 22, 1963
Filing dateApr 11, 1960
Priority dateApr 11, 1960
Publication numberUS 3074103 A, US 3074103A, US-A-3074103, US3074103 A, US3074103A
InventorsFolke K Floden, Karl M Roth
Original AssigneeFolke K Floden, Karl M Roth
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Fowl defeathering method
US 3074103 A
Abstract  available in
Images(3)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Jan. 22, 1963 K. M. ROTH ETAL FowL DEFEAmRING METHOD 3 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed April 11, 1960 A 7' TOP/VE' VS `laan. 22, 19.63

K. M. ROTH I'AL FOWL DEFEATHERING METHOD 5 Sheets-sheet 2 Filed April ll, 1960 FIG 2 FIG .3

INVENTORS KARL M. ROTH Y FoLKE K. FLODEN ATTORNEYS Jan. 22, 1963 K. M. ROTH ETAL Fowl. DEFEATHERING mamon I5 Sheets-Sheet 3 Filed April l1, 1960 A/SCALDER .lvllllllllllllllllllL PICKER INVENToRS KARL M ROT/' BY FOL/(E K. FLODEN 57i, 717% /ml- A TTOPNEVS States rlhis invention relates to poultry or fowl defeathering and more particularly to a new and novel method for scalding and picking the feathers from fowls. rhis application is a continuation-in-part of copending application, Serial No. 617,452, filed October 2.2, 1956, now Patent No. 2,972,167, issued February 2l, i9i.

Heretofore many devices and methods have been proposed for defeathering fowls. Many of such previous devices have provided a hot water tank or trough through which the fowl was dragged to scald or loosen the feathers. Thereafter the bird was subjected to vario-us beating devices to remove the loosened feathers.

The obvious difficulty with methods employing a tank or trough device was that Over any appreciable period of time the water therein became fouled with feathers and like debris and in spite of attempts to clean the water a very unsanitary condition resulted. Likewise, wet feathers readily adhered to the beating devices and associated parts of the machines used to practical known methods and frequent cleaning ofl such'prior apparatus was found necessary to its operation.

Since this prior apparatus usually had to be shut down to be adequately cleaned it could not be continuous in operation and therefore suffered substantial loss of efciency.

lt is therefore a main object of this invention to provide a fowl defeathering method which overcomes the disadvantages of prior art methods.

Still another object of this invention is the provision of a method for defeathering fowl in the practice of which sanitary conditions are easily maintained.

It is another object of this invention to provide a fowl defeathering method that permits a large volumn of birds to be processed in a unit time by continuously moving the fowls past various stations of an apparatus where successive operations are performed, and which continuous method may be initiated or interrupted at any time without damage to the birds.

It is further an important object of this invention to provide a fowl defeathering method in which the appara tus used in practicing the method is essentially self-cleaning in operation, thereby obviating the need for frequent shutdowns of such apparatus for cleaning purposes.

It is yet another object of this invention to provide a method for' scalding fowl with a vaporized scalding medium prior to defeathering the same with mechanical means, in which a substantial portion of the scalding medium is carried with the fowl through the mechanical means.

A still further object of this invention is the provision of a method for defeathering fowl which eliminates the need to bleed the fowl prior to beginning the defeathering method.

Other objects and advantages will become evident from the detailed specification and accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a side elevational view of apparatus utilized in practicing the method of this invention, partiy broken away to show interior structure;

FIG. 2 is 'a sectional view taken substantially along line 2 2 of FIG. 1 showing the fowl wetting apparatus;

FIG. 3 is a transverse sectional view, taken along line 3 3 of FIG. l, showing the scalding and plucking apparatus;

arent 2 FIG. 4 is a semi-diagrammatic side elevational view of an apparatus modified from that of FIG. l for performing a modification of -the method of this invention; and FIG. 5 is a view similar to FlG. 4 of another modified apparatus for performing a further modified form of the method of this' invention.

Briefly, the method of this invention includes conveying the fowl along a path of travel and performing various steps along such path. The bird is canried to va spray booth where it is thoroughly wetted by a hot water solution, then moved along through a steaming booth where it is impinged by steam at a substantily elevated temperature and then into the plucking apparatus from which it emerges completely defeathered.

The plucking apparatus is enclosed and connected with the steaming booth so that a major portion of the steam is carried through the plucking apparatus for condensing and washing down said apparatus. A sump is provided extending below the spray booth, steaming booth and plucking apparatus to receive the water draining from the bird in the spray booth and carry with it the steam condensate and picked feathers draining from the plucking apparatus.

ln detail, as best seen in FIG. l a conventional conveyor forthis invention, generally designated 1, comprises a pair of parallel, spaced, longitudinally slitted, hollow tubing members 2, 3 (FIGS. 2, 3) which provide the track for -a pair of conveyor chains. Such chains are contained within the tubing members 2, 3 and-at spaced intervals are movably supported therein.

As before stated, the tubing members 2, 3 are slitted longitudinally for their entire length for the purpose of receiving therethrough a plurality of short, outwardly projecting struts each of which is connected to a chain at spaced intervals so that the struts 8 depending from each chain are in transverse alignment. Rotatably connected to and extending between each pair of opposed struts `8 transverse to the path of travel of the conveyor is an elongated flight or hanger bar 1) (FiG. 2). The hanger bars 1t) are freely rotatable about their longitudinal axis so that the fowl carrying hanger il swingably attached to the central portion of each flight i@ is always depending in a vertically downward direction regardless of the direction that the stnuts 8 are directed (FIG. 1).

A fowl 16a is hung from each hanger il by inserting its legs in the U-shaped extremeties of said hanger so that the bird will hang head down with its legs and wings spread (FlG. 2).

ln the practice of one form of the method of this invention (FIG. l), the conveyor 1 carries the fowl consecutively through a wetting chamber Ztl, and through interconnected scalding and picking chambers enclosed in housing 33.

Letter A (FIG. l) refers to the starting position of a defeathering cycle where cach fowl that is to be defeathered is put on a hook 11 as described. The defeathered fowl 16a, suspended head down, is then ad# vanced forwardly along the conveyor, as indicated by the arrow, to enter into the wetting chamber 20 where it is impinged by streams of liquid to thoroughly wet the bird. In actual practice water has been found to be Van effective wetting medium.

Chamber 20 comprises a pair of vertical, opposed side walls 21, 22 (FIGS. l, 2) with a sufficiently large opening formed between -them to permit entry of the suspended fowl on conveyor 1. A top member 23 over the conveyor 1 may be provided if desired (FIG. 3).

T he wetting medium is carried to the fowl by means of a pair of entry pipes 24, 25 mounted through side walls 21, 22 respectively, and each is joined to a pair of interconnected, parallel, longitudinally extending spray 3 pipes 26, 27 and 28, 29 respectively (FIGS. l, 2). Pipes 26, 27 are mounted adjacent the inner surface of wall 21, and the spray pipes 28, 29 are mounted opposed from and parallel with pipes 26, 27 on the inner surface of wall 22.

Water is caused to enter through pipes 25, 24 from a source (not shown), and to then flow through the spray pipes 26, 27, 2S and 29 to be impinged upon the bird 16a by means of nozzles 3f) mounted at spaced intervals along the said spray pipes. The water will then drain from the bird by gravity.

The water spray performs several functions; it cleans the bird, it dissolves the oily coating on the feathers that protects the bird, when alive, from dampness and it starts to loosen the feathers. One of the reasons for suspending the bird upside down is that it facil'tates the wetting action as the water is more readily absorbed into the plumage of the bird. If the water impinged the bird from above its head it would tend to run olf or be shed more easily due to the lay of the feathers.

After passing through the water spray chamber, the tubular track members 2, 3 of conveyor 1 are bent or deflected, as at 31 (FIG. 1), to a vertically upwardly extending direction to provide a vertical run 1a of conveyor 1. Said vertical run of the conveyor 1 is enclosed in a generally rectangular cross section, vertically elongated, open bottom housing 33 that is adapted to contain therein the scalding and picking mechanisms.

At the lower end of vertical run 1a of the conveyor 1 the tubular guide rails 2, 3 are adapted to extend through an encircling, horizontally disposed steam distributing header 35 (FIG. 3). Tubes 2, 3 are so positioned that the transverse flight or hanger bar lies along a diameter of the circular header 35. Extending upwardly at spaced intervals around the circumference of header 35 are a plurality of upstanding, elongated pipes or conduits 36 communicating with the header at their lower ends. Directed radially inwardly toward the center of the circular space defined by the plurality of pipes 36 are a plurality of steam nozzles 37 arranged at spaced intervals along each of the pipes 36.

Nozzles 37 are adapted to direct impinging jets of steam upon the fowl as the latter is being carried vertically upward by the conveyor. Steam from a steam generating source such as a conventional boiler (not shown) is introduced to header 3S through the inlet pipe 38 which communicates with the head-er. A pressure control valve 39 (FIG. 2) may be interposed in the steam line 38 between the stearri generator and the header 35, and so may a thermostatic control mechanism 40 (FIG. 3) which is adapted toI maintain the entering steam between upper and lower desired temperature limits. It has been found in actual practice that steam of about 300 F. satisfactorily scalds the birds to loosen their feathers without cooking them. Of course, the speed of the conveyor is also a determining factor as related to the temperature of the steam. It is also obvious that vaporized scalding media other than steam may be used.

It is seen in FIG. 3 that the scalding mechanism is partitioned from the picking mechanism by a vertical wall 42 that extends to substantially the same elevation as the upper ends of the pipes 36 (FIG. l). At a pont spaced above the upper terminal ends of pipes 36 the conveyor portion 1a is deflected to a short horizontal connecting run 1b and is then again bent or deflected at substantially right angles to extend downwardly in a second vertical run 1c thus changing thepath of travel of the flights 10 from an upwardly direction, as along la to a vertically downward path along portion 1c. Y

The short horizontal run 1b still within the housing 33, is positioned far enough above the upper edge of partition 42 to allow the fowls' suspended from the hooks 11 to pass over said partition without becoming entangled with the same. l p y As seen in PIG. 3, the housing generally designated 33,

comprises a pair of vertically extending, parallel side walls 44, 45 integrally connected at their forward and rear ends to a pair of parallel, transverse end walls 46, 47. A second, internal, vertical wall 48, parallel to wall 44 and spaced therefrom is connected at its ends to the pair of end walls 46, 47. Walls 48 and 45 actually define the width of the scalding and defeathering chambers as the outer wall 44 merely serves as an outside cover over the various drive machanisms for the picking devices which will be later described. Housing 33 is also provided with a top cover 49 (FIG. l) which encloses runs la, 1b and 1c of the conveyor. Said housing is open at its bottom end, at least at end Walls 46, 47 for entry of conveyor 1 thereinto.

The picking apparatus for use with this invention cornprises a plurality of vertically aligned, horizontally disposed, pairs of spgced rotatable drums S0 to which are fitted a plurality of radially outwardly extending, llexible fingers 51 (FIG. 3). In this embodiment of the invention there are three picking units 52a, 52b, 52e vertically spaced apart along conveyor run 1c and similar in design and operation.

The construction of the upper picking unit 52a will be described in detail as it is typical of the middle and lower unlts 52b, 52e, respectively. Picking unit 52a comprises a pair of rotatable drums mounted on either side of the downwardly directed run 1c of the conveyor 1 and extending transversely thereof.

Drums 50 are mounted, for rotation therewith, to a pair of parallel shafts 53, 54 respectively. Shafts 53, 54 are rotatably journalled in bearing blocks 55 (FIG. 3) mounted to the inner surfaces of walls 45, 48 of the enclosing housing 33. The ends of shafts 53, 54 near wall 48 pass therethrough and are each fitted with a chain sprocket wheel 56, 57, respectively (FIG. l). Sprocket wheels 56, 57 are engaged and driven by a pair of roller chains-58, 59 respectively that in turn are driven by a motor means such as indicated at 60.

As the bird 16a first enters the picking chamber and is met by the upper picking unit 52a, it has been found desirable to rotate the drums 50 of the unit 52a in such a manner that the bird 16a is drawn in between them. This is done by rotating drums 50 in opposite directions such that the ends of lingers 51 of each drum at the point of their tangential engagement adjacent conveyor run 1c are moving in a downward direction. This neccessitates rotating the left hand drum 50 in a clockwise direction as y viewed in FIG. l and the right hand drum 50 in a counterclockwise direction.

This is accomplished by means of a pair of idler sprockets 61, 62 that permit the chain 59 to engage the sprocket 57 along the outer side of said chain to thereby turn sprocket 57 in a contrary direction to the direction of sprocket 56. Owing to the irregularities in the shapes and sizes of different bird-s and due to the fact that the plumage usually covers the entire body of a bird, it is necessary that the flexible fingers 51 contact the bird at all points and in several directions. By passing through the three picking units the bird is uniformly flailed by the fingers 51 and all of the plumage is removed. It is understood, of course, that the bird 16a is moving at a steady slow rate of about 30-45 feet per minute through the picking units 52a, 52b, 52C, and that the drums 50 and fingers 51 of the units are rotating at `a relatively rapid rate of about 240 to 400 revolutions per minute.

After having passed through the first picking unit 52a, the bird 16a is partially defeathered and immediately enters into the next or middle picking unit 52b, the components of which are in similar relationship as the components of 52a.

As seen in FIG. 3, the sides of the fingers 51 that engage and ail the bird 16a may be roughened as indicated at 64 to more effectively frictionally grip and remove the feathers. FIG. 3 shows the fowl 16a partially defeathered going through the second picking unit 52h. As illustrated, each picking unit 52a, 52h, 52e is driven by its own motor source 60. This is not essential as al1 may be driven from one motor, if d sired. i

The third picking unit 52C mounted below unit 52b 1s similar to the latter in all respects. Unit 52e is utilized more by way of insurance than by way of necessity as the bird 16a is generally picked clean by the time it has passed beyond the second picking unit 52h.

After passing beyond the last picking unit 52e, the conveyor 1 is again deflected to a horizontal run where it emerges from the housing 33 and transports the now defeathered bird 16b to the unloading station B at the left side of FIG. l. a

The conveyor may be supported by legs 65 which at their lower end are supported on the concrete floor 66.

so the elevated return run of the conveyor may be supported by means of hanger straps 67 which are fastened at their upper ends to the overhead framework of the building in which the present invention may be housed (not shown).

The conveyor chains within the tubular members 2, 3 may beV driven by means of a pair of sprocket wheels 68 (FlG. l). The drive mechanism may be located in any convenient location. However, it is preferable to place sprocket wheels 63 at a radial bend in the tubular members 2, 3 so that more of the outer periphery of sprocket wheels 68 will be in engagement with the chains at one time. Sprockets 68, mounted coaxially on a transverse drive shaft 69 so that the chains within each tubular member 2, 3 are being simultaneously driven, may be rotated by means such as belt or chain 70 which connects to a reduced speed source such as a motor and speed reducer combination 71.

As stated in the objects, the apparatus practicing the method of this invention is adapted to be essentially self cleaning. This is accomplished by means of convection currents which carry the steam that comes from the scalding unit upward to the roof 49 of the housing 33 where some of it condenses. The rest is conducted downwardly through the picking elements 52a, 52b, 52C where it condenses in transit and settles as a hot mist on the walls and picking units. As the feathers of the bird are removed, they are thrown by centrifugal force outwardly away from the ngers 51 to be either directed downwardly through the opening of the housing at the bottom or else to be thrown against the walls of the housing and then to be carried away by the condensed steam that is continuously washing down the walls of the housing.

All feathers and condensed steam are drained into an underlying sump or trough 72, as is the water from chamber 2%, which trough extends longitudinally with the conveyor 1 from the point of initial wetting to the unloading station B. In this manner water from wetting chamber 20 is continually flowing in the direction of arrow 73 (FIG. l) and will carry with it the steam condensate and removed feathers washed down from the steam spray booth and picking chamber. If desired, the feathers may be salvaged and the water can be collected` filtered and'recirculated in the system.

lt will be apparent that in its simplest form the method of this invention comprises moving the fowl along an enclosed path of travel, spraying with a scalding medium, and removing the feathers. The enclosure of the path of travel permits the use of the scalding medium as a washing medium in the feather removal step. As a refinement of the method, the addition of .an initial wetting step provides a stream of water draining from the bird, to which stream the scalding medium condensate and removed feathers will fall and be carried away. If the path of travel of the fowl is arranged vertically through the scalding and feather removing steps, it is obvious that the removed feathers and condensate will fall more readily therefrom by gravity and more ei'liciently clean any apparatus involved.

It is evident from this detailed description of the invention that a large number of fowls may be defeathered in a relatively short period of time, and furthermore that the operation is completely automatic from the time the bird is loaded at station A until it is taken olf the hook ll at station B. A

ln order to maintain proper spacing of the flights 10 it is essential that the opposed struts 8 of the parallel chains move always in a substantially parallel, equally spaced relation. This means that each chain must travel the same linear distance in the same time and therefore requires all radii in the conveyor 1 of the members 2, 3 to be equal at every point. If thiswere not adhered to, expensive speed differentiating equipment would have to be utilized, inasmuch as it is a primary object of this invention to be economically feasible the conveying system was designed as it has been described.

FIG. 4 is a semi-diagrammatic illustration of apparatus for performing a modied form of method. This apparatus is generally similar in construction to that shown in FIG. 1 `and includes a conveyor 80 having a pair of spaced, parallel, generally vertically extending runs di, 82 connected by an upper transverse run 83. A third vertical run 84, generally parallel to and spaced from run S2, is connected to the latter by lower trans`` verse connecting run 85. A return run 86 and initial run 87 connect the upper end of run 84 to the lower end of run 81. Conveyor may be driven by a conventional motor 88 for the purpose of carrying the fowl through the various steps in the defeathering' method.

Runs 8i, 82, S3, 84, and S5 are enclosed in a housing, generally designated 89, similar to housing 33 of FIG. 1 in that it has two pairs of opposed sidewalls and a top wall but providing a pair of scalding chambers 90, 91 in addition to a picking chamber 92.

Housing 89 may be supported off the floor 93 in a manner similar to housing 33 with the chambers 90, 91, 92 opening outwardly downwardly for draining into a trough 9d extending therebelow. The housing 89 is divided into the compartments 90, 91, and 92 by interior walls 95, 96. Walls 9S, 96 extend between the sidewalls of the housing 89 and have their upper ends spaced downwardly from the top of the housing so as to provide intercommunication between the upper ends of chambers 90, 91, and 92. Preferably, the lower end of wall extends generally to the floor 93 whereas the lower end of wall 95 is spaced upwardly therefrom so that horizontal connecting run S5 of conveyor 80 may pass under the lower end of said wall 96. Conduit means is thereby provided whereby the upper ends of chambers 9i), 91 open into and communicate with the upper end of picking chamber 92, and both scalding chambers and the picking chamber are open at their'lower ends for draining by gravity into trough 94.

At least one and preferably both of chambers 90, 91 lare provided with steam spray meansl 97, 98, similar to means 35-37 of FIG. 1, for spraying a vaporized scaldmg medium on fowl carried along runs 81, S2 through their respective chambers. Water spray means 99 may be provided adjacent initial run 87 of conveyor 80 for a purpose similar to that described with respect to chamber 20 of FIG. l.

ln practicing the method of this invention withl the employment of the apparatus of FIG. 4 the fowl is scalded along vertical runs 81, 82 while being carried through chambers 90, 9i. As compared with the method utilizing the apparatus of FIG. 1, the steam temperature and therefore the temperature in chambers 90, 91 of the apparatus of FlG. 4 is preferably lower since the birds are being subjected to .a scalding temperature for a greater length of time, assuming the conveyor speed and 'height of the chamber to be the same.

The apparatus of FIG. 4 may be utilized to process birds through a so-called semiscald in which the cuticle remains on the fowl as opposed to a so-called hard scald tains a sanitary condition within the apparatus.

where the cuticle is removed. The average temperature at the skin of the bird during a hard scald may range between 140 to 180 F. and during a semiscald between about 120 to 160 F. The temperature of the steam issuing from the spray means 97, 98 is, of course, considerably elevated above these temperatures, being about 300 F. during a hard scald. For a semiscald water may be mixed with the steam issuing from spray means 97, 98 to reduce the temperature of the scalding medium to about 270 F. or sufficient to maintain the lower temperature of the scald.

In either type of scald and Whether a single or double scalding chamber is used the speed of the conveyor through the scalding chamber, or the length of time the bird remains in the scalding chamber, must be related to the temperature of the vaporized scalding medium issuing .from the spray means and to ambient conditions. The proper conditions'for either a hard scald or a semiscald may be determined by a trial and error, the result sought being a suiciently elevated temperature at the skin of the bird to properly loosen the feathers but not so hot nor for so long a time as to damage the cuticle or skin of the fowl. It has been found that employing steam at temperatures in the neighborhood of 300 F. kills a substantial portion of the bacteria carried by the fowl but does not damage the bird nor cook it as would submerging the bird in water at a boiling temperature.

Not only does scalding with steam, in accordance with the method of this invention, come the closest to rendering the fowl bacteria-free, but the steam carried with the -bird through the picking operation continuously condenses and Washes down the picking apparatus. The steam which is not sprayed `directly on the birds but is carried with them through the apparatus also assists in keeping such apparatus at a low bacteria count. With the apparatus of FIG. 4 a draft of incoming air is drawn in the direction of arrow 100 and when mixed with the steam issuing from the spray means 97, 98 flows into the picking chamber 92 in the direction of arrows 101. The Walls of all Ythree chambers of the apparatus of FIG. 4 collect and condense some of the steam which continually washes them, and a substantial portion of the steam carried with the birds into the picking chambers 92 not only aids in the picking operation but condenses on the picking apparatus and drains therefrom by gravity in the direction of arrows 102 to continuously cleanse such apparatus.

A plurality of pairs of picking rotors 103, similar to -rotors 52 employed in the apparatus of FIG. l, are arranged on opposite sides of vertical conveyor run 84 in picking chamber 92 for the purpose of hailing the feathers from birds carried by said vertical run. It will be noted that in the -apparatus of FIG. 4 the bird is carried upwardly by the conveyor between the pairs of picking rotors so that the feathered bird is first flailed by the lowermost rotors. With the apparatus so arranged the majority of the feathers rst removed fall directly into the trough 94 and only the few remaining feathers which are removed by the upper picking rotors need fall past the lower rotors. At the upper end of picking chamber 92 a flexible closure member 104, such as a deectable rubber flap, may close the opening around conveyor run' 84 where it emerges from housing 89. Closure member 104 prevents the escape lof any substantial amount of steam thereby causing most of it to flow downwardly through the picking chamber to condense and drain away with the removed feathers into trough 94.

A further advantage of the method herein described is that the apparatus employed in practicing the method need never be closed down for purposes of cleaning, since the circulation of the vaporized medium continually main- In addition, if the movement of the conveyor 80 is interrupted the steam spray means 97, 98 (or 155-37) may be immediately shut oif so that the birds on the stationary conveyor will not be cooked as they would if submerged in a tank of water at an elevated temperature. The apparatus used in practicing the method of this invention may also be started without requiring any warm-up time as would be necessitated by methods in which the birds are submerged in a tank of a liquid scalding medium which first had to be raised to the proper temperature. Therefore, in' those plants in which the apparatus must be inspected just prior to initiating the picking scalding operation, the apparatus used to practice the method of this invention may be put into operation immediately after inspection.

The method of this invention also eliminates so-called bleed lines along which fowl have heretofore had to travel to complete the bleeding after the fowl have been killed. In those prior methods in which scalding has been accomplished by hot water or other liquid scalding medium through which the bird was dragged, the bird had to be completely bled before such scalding so that the hot water would not coagulate the 4birds blood.

The application of a vaporized scalding medium in accordance with this invention does not cause coagulation of the blood and, therefore, the birds may be processed through the scalding and picking operations immediately after being killed.

Although this invention generally comprises a method whereby the bird is scalded with a vaporized, high temperature medium and then picked in the presence of such medium, scalding apparatus for practicing -the method of this invention m-ay be provided for connection to conventional picking apparatus for achieving the improved results of this invention. Such a scalding apparatus is diagrammatically illustrated in FIG. 5 as comprising a housing or enclosure having an inlet end 106 and an opposed, open discharge end 107 adapted for connection to the inlet end 108 of a conventional, enclosed picking unit 109. The line 110 and arrow heads thereof indicate the path of travel of the bird carried by conveyor means past steam spray means 111 in housing 105 'and through the discharge opening 107 of the scalder into the inlet 108 of the picker along with a substantial portion of the vaporized scalding medium.

In this manner, the bird is scalded in accordance with the method of this invention in the scalding chamber 10S and then conveyed with a substantial amount of vaporized scalding medium into the picker 109. Not only does the steam conveyed with the bird into the picker assist in the picking operation' but, as with the previously described apparatus, the steam condenses on and continually drains from the picking apparatus so as to maintain it clean and sanitary.

In practicing the method of this invention with any of the apparatus herein disclosed the quality of the end product is substantially improved in that its bacteria count is substantially lower than that of the product of any known process. This not only increases the marketability but also the shelf life of the product. As compared with prior art methods wherein succeeding birds were dragged through a tank of Water which became successively fouled with barnyard matter, feathers, and bacteria, the method of this invention is clean and sanitary in both the scalding and picking operations. Even if the bird ingests some of the scalding medium used in the apparatus of this invention it is less likely that it will contain any bacteria because of the elevated temperature of the vaporized scalding mediumemployed. Y Although it has been described and illustrated in detail, this invention is to be understood to encompass all modifications thereof as fall within the spirit and scope of the appended claims.

I claim:

1. The method of defeathering a fowl that comprises the steps of: moving said fowl along a rst path of travel, applying water to the feathers of said fowl at a point in said first path and permitting a substantial portion of the water so applied to drain from said fowl during said movement, and conducting the water so drained along a second path of travel extending below said rst path of travel of said fowl, applying steam to the feathers and skin of said fowl at a point in the first path of travel of the latter after said water has been applied to the fowl and thereafter continuing the movement of said fowl and a part of the steam that has been applied thereto along a portion of said first path beyond said point and during said movement along said portion condensing the major part of the steam in said portion and at the same time removing the feathers from said fowl and dropping the feathers so removed and condensed steam into the water that has drained from said fowl for movement together with said Water along its said second path.

2. The method of defeathering a fowl that comprises the steps of: moving said fowl along a path of travel, applying Water to the feathers and skin of said fowl at a point in said path, then moving said fowl substantially vertically upwardly in an enclosed generally vertically upwardly extending path and applying steam to said feathers and skin during said upward movement, thereafter moving said fowl substantially vertically downwardly in a generally vertically downwardly extending enclosed path that is alongside and joined with said first mentioned enclosed path and, during said downward movement, removing the feathers from said fowl and releasing them for falling by gravity in the same direction as the downward movement of said fowl, and thereafter removing said fowl horizontally away from said feathers and permitting said feathers to continue to fall.

3. The method as defined in claim 2 plus, moving the major portion of the steam from said upwardly extending path into said downwardly extending path and condensing most of the steam so moved within said downwardly extending path for downward movement of the steam condensate by gravity with said feathers.

4. In a method of defeathering fowl with the employment of mechanical picking rotors, the steps of spraying steam on said fowl, conducting said fowl and at least a portion of said steam therewith to and past said rotors, and draining the condensed steam and removed feathers to a point removed from said rotors.

5. The method of defeathering fowl, comprising the steps of: moving the fowl along adjacent first and second portions of a continuous enclosed path of travel, applying steam directly to said fowl during movement along said first portion, conveying the major quantity of the steam applied to said fowl during said movement along said rst portion with said fowl to and past said second portion, and flailing the feathers from said fowl in the presence of said major quantity of said steam during movement of said fowl along said second portion.

6. The method of defeathering fowl, comprising the steps of: moving the fowl along adjacent rst and second portions of a continuous enclosed path of travel, applying steam directly to said fowl during movement along said first portion, conveying the major quantity of the steam applied to said fowl during said movement along said first portion with said fowl to and past said second portion, flailing the feathers from said fowl in the presence of said major quantity of said steam during movement of said fowl along said second portion, and continuously condensing and draining away a substantial quantity of said steam from said second portion for carrying the feathers that are removed.

7. The method of defeathering fowl that comprises the steps of: moving said fowl along a path of travel, applying a vaporized scalding medium at a temperature of approximately 270 F. to 300 F. to the feathers and skin of a fowl at one portion of said path, thereafter mechanically removing the feathers from said fowl along a second portion of said path in the presence of a substantial quantity of said medium, and permitting said medium to condense along said second portion for washing away from said fowl and said path the removed feathers and the like by continuous draining of the condensed medium.

8. In a method of defeathering yfowl with an enclosed mechanical picker, the steps of: moving the fowl along an enclosed path of travel, applying a vaporized scalding medium having a temperature substantially in excess of 212 F. to a fowl in said path, and conducting said fowl and a substantial portion of said medium therewith into such picker for aiding in picking said fowl and continuously cleaning such picker.

9. In a method of defeathering fowl, the steps of: moving the fowl along an enclosed, open-ended path of travel, applying a vaporized scalding medium having a Vtemperature substantially in excess -of 212 F. to the fowl in said path, and inducing a draft of ambient air along said path sufficient to maintain the temperature at the skin of said fowl below about 180 F.

References Cited in the tile of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,607,073 Johnson Aug. 19, 1952 2,820,245 Turner Jan. 21, 1958 2,876,488 Zebarth Mar. 10, 1959 FOREIGN PATENTS 65,789 France Nov. 9, 1955

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2607073 *Jan 15, 1947Aug 19, 1952Johnson Co GordonPoultry scalder
US2820245 *Feb 24, 1955Jan 21, 1958Turner Herman BPoultry processing apparatus
US2876488 *Sep 27, 1954Mar 10, 1959Gordon Johnson Equipment CompaMethod of and apparatus for removing feathers from plucking machines of poultry processing plants
FR65789E * Title not available
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
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Classifications
U.S. Classification452/77, 452/91
International ClassificationA22C21/02
Cooperative ClassificationA22C21/02
European ClassificationA22C21/02