Broilers are special breeds of chickens raised under intensive system for meat production. They can attain marketable weight of 2.5 – 3kg from 6 – 8 weeks.
When you are raising broilers for processing. It is important to select breed with fast growth rate, high feed conversion ratio (FCR), energetic, robust and good meat quality and yield.
Broiler processing centres are not much with few players in the industry. Country like Nigeria placed ban on poultry products importation to encourage local production and boost its economy. Export opportunities also abound for processed and packaged chickens to countries that allow importation of poultry products.
Broiler processing is an effort to add value to broiler meat and making it available anytime to consumers. Vast number of consumers valued processed and packaged chickens.
Broiler processing utilizes many equipment and machinery. The processing operations basically include slaughtering, scalding, de-feathering, eviscerating, washing, chilling and packaging/labelling.
The number of birds to be processed per hour determines the processing equipment type employed, which largely depends on investment fund capacity hence, processing 50 – 100 birds per day may utilize only manual operation, processing of 200 – 1000 birds per day may utilize both manual and mechanical operations however, plants producing 6000 – 250,000 birds per day have automated operation.
When broiler is fully processed, it yields about 65% carcass and 10% giblets (edible visceral). Aside selling the carcass, processors also make money selling giblets and head-neck-leg. Giblets include gizzard, liver and heart. The carcass is sold as fresh or frozen whole and cut-up. Poultry products are sold by weight.
Before you set up broiler processing plant, it is expedient to consider Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs).
Major steps involved in broiler processing include the following;
Slaughtering: Birds are deprived of feed for 8 – 12 hours before slaughtering to reduce the amount of feed in the gut and possibility of tearing during processing which would cause faecal contamination of the carcass. Small processors usually place birds in funnel-shaped kill cones while large plants hang them on shackles and stun (the process of electrocuting the bird) them before killing. Kill cones are sized in such a way that will prevent the birds from flapping their wings or backing out. The use of special lightening (like blue light) in plant calm the bird and prevent flapping and injury. After killing, bird are allowed to bleed thoroughly to prevent dark spot on meats.
Scalding: Slaughtered birds are immersed in hot water to loosen feathers and facilitate picking; a little drop of liquid soap may be added to scalding water for better penetration. A scalder that will regulate water temperature can be built or bought to handle large number of birds at once. A temperature of 50oC – 60oC for 90 – 120 seconds is recommended for scalding broiler.
De-feathering: The quality of the de-feathering is related to the scald. If the scald water is too cool, the feathers won’t loosen; if it is too hot, the skin will tear. In order to handle large number of bird, mechanical picker is recommended. The mechanical picker removes feather by abrasive action of rubber fingers in the picker. Pin feathers and fur may be hard to remove mechanically however; they can be removed by pinning (removal of pinfeathers by hand) and singeing (passing the bird through a flame to remove fur).
Eviscerating: before evisceration properly begins, the head, oil glands and feet are removed. Evisceration can be done on a flat surface made of stainless steel but easier done on evisceration shackles. Scissors, knife, or a handheld vent-cutter gun with a circular blade, lung puller or a handheld gun used with a vacuum is needed for proper evisceration. Remove inedible viscera or guts (intestines, oesophagus, spleen, reproductive organs, and lungs). Loosen the crop so it will come out with the guts. The edible viscera are collected.
Washing and Chilling: Washing ought to be done before chilling. The carcass should be thoroughly washed inside and out. At times, additive (like chlorine) may be added to washing water to reduce bacteria load on the carcass. Chilling is done after washing by simply soaking the carcass in chilled water in a tank. Carcass is chilled to a temperature of 5oC for 4 hours. Carcass can also be air-chilled. Air-chilling takes place in an air-chilling equipment (insulated room or tunnel) in which the temperature is kept between -7oC and 2°C by coolers in the ceiling. Air is blown from nozzles directly into the cavity of each bird or around it. Chilling prevents microbial growth and improves meat quality.
Packaging and Labeling: Processing up to this stage requires good and befitting packaging. Chicken is commonly put it in a plastic bag and closed with twist-tie. The whole package may be shrink-wrapped before storage to drive out trapped air. Shrink-wrapped chicken looks neat, firm and shelf life is prolonged. Most cut-ups are packaged in tray shrink-wrap. Whole chicken can also be packaged in tray shrink-wrap. Plastic bags can be branded ones with product information or sticker may be affix to the plastic bag.
Need complete broiler processing equipment for small-medium scale or business Plan for small-medium Scale Broiler Processing (300 Birds/Day) or with your specifications.