How to Remove Turkey Feathers

Written by paul lin
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How to Remove Turkey Feathers
Wild turkeys have more feathers than turkeys bred in captivity. (turkey image by Bobi from

If you are accustomed to purchasing a de-feathered turkey from your local supermarket, the thought of pulling out turkey feathers has probably never been on your to-do list. Although most mass-farmed turkeys are killed and de-feathered by machines, small turkey farms still perform this task by hand. Removal of the larger feathers is easy, but the pesky, little hairy feathers known as "pin feathers" may need additional work to remove.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Propane torch

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  1. 1

    Pull out initial turkey feathers. Some turkey feathers will be easier to remove than others. Grasp the feathers as close to the skin as possible and pull out small amounts at a time.

  2. 2

    Set the turkey on a clean, dry surface.

  3. 3

    Singe the feather pins off the bird with a propane torch or roll a piece of newspaper in a torch shape and light one end on fire.

  4. 4

    Hold the turkey over the fire and rotate it around in a rotisserie-style fashion and from side to side. This should singe off any remaining feather pins. To insure you have removed all the feathers, hold the turkey up to a light and see if any feathers are protruding from the skin.

Tips and warnings

  • Never start a fire inside the house. When operating a propane torch or any other type of fire, perform the task outdoors.

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