Fresh chicken is an economical meal if you raise your own chickens. Knowing how to properly pluck the feathers from the chicken will save time and help get the bird from coop to table faster. While automatic feather pluckers are available, the small chicken farmer may not be able to afford this luxury. Plucking feathers by hand is a frugal means of preparing a chicken for cooking, and can be accomplished in five to 30 minutes.
Boil a large pot of water to a temperature of around 71.1 degrees C.
Put on rubber gloves. Holding the chicken by its feet, dip the bird into the water to scald the feathers loose. This should only take two to 10 seconds, longer for an older, tougher bird. Test the readiness by tugging on the feathers near the hock (knee). If they come off easily, pull the bird out. Leaving the chicken in too long will cook the bird prematurely and weaken its skin.
Hold the chicken by its feet while pulling the feathers out with the other hand. Either grab the feathers out by handfuls or use a downward rubbing motion to brush off a large number at once. For the legs, wrap your hand around the thigh and pull your hand up toward the foot, rubbing off all the feathers. Pull small pin feathers out individually. If you are saving the feathers, place them in a sack.
Hold the bird over a flame briefly to scorch the remaining fine feathers.
Pluck as quickly as possible while the feathers are still loose. Do not, however, pull so roughly and quickly that you tear the skin, a common occurrence when a chicken has been boiled too long.