Properly Scald a Chicken

Before a chicken is eviscerated, it is common practice to pull out all its feathers. While it sounds like a really obvious and simple thing to do, it is not uncommon to see people struggling with the task. Anyone who has handled a chicken in the kitchen is aware of the method to conveniently pull out the feathers.

The technique is known as scalding and is practiced by butchers across the globe. Aside from making the process of de-feathering extremely simple, scalding a chicken also sanitises its outside, something that hygiene-conscious people are bound to appreciate a lot.

If you are having trouble scalding a chicken, simply scroll down and follow our step by step guide as it teaches you how to do it.


  • 1

    The first thing you need to do is to heat water. If you want to scald a young chicken, heat the water to 125 to 130 degrees Fahrenheit. However, if the chicken is older, heat the water to 140 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • 2

    After the water is heated, pick up the bled chicken by its feet or shanks and dunk it into the heated water. Make sure you dip the chicken far enough into the water that even the smallest feather on the bottom of the leg is under water.

  • 3

    Jiggle the chicken a little while it is dipped in water to make sure that the water reaches between the feathers. Keep the chicken dipped in water for about ten to twenty seconds. For older chicken, you may have to keep it immersed in scalding water for about a minute or so.

  • 4

    After allowing the chicken to remain dipped in water for the aforementioned time, pull the chicken out and then dip it back again in the water, again making sure that you do not let even the smallest of feathers on the chicken’s body to stay out of water. Move it about in water again to get the scald water throughout the feathers.

  • 5

    Once you have allowed the chicken to remain immersed in scald water for twenty seconds to a minute depending on the age of chicken, pull it out again and pull its feather. If the feather slides out of the chicken’s body easily, then the chicken is properly scalded. However, if you feel resistance while pulling the feather, dunk the chicken back into the scald water and move it about a little more. Remove it from water and try pulling a feather again. If is still does not slide out easily, dip the chicken in water a few more times until the feathers can be easily pulled off the chicken.

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