The Chicken Eviscerator
The chickens went by at a rate of almost 1 per second. We were almost always behind schedule, so the conveyor was almost always at its maximum speed. It's hard to eviscerate at a rate of 1 chicken per second. My fingers would go numb from the cold and constantly cramp up. Not only were the chickens freezing cold at this stage in the process, but I worked in a freezer.
My official job title was Eviscerator. I alternated between being an Eviscerator and a Hanger. Both jobs sucked. Eviscerator sounds pretty cool, but it's really not. There were numerous Eviscerators at Tyson's chicken plant in Arkansas.
My evisceration duties consisted of standing on a platform next to the conveyor and pulling the fat out of the chicken butts as they went by at an incredible rate. I occasionally missed a chicken here and there, as I couldn't always keep up, especially at 1 chicken per second. I only have two hands. When I pulled the fat out of the chicken butts, I simply let it land on the floor. During break someone would come wash the fat from the floor.
I had a nice little bucket of warm water to dip my gloved hands in to warm them up. The chicken butts were freezing cold, as the chickens arrive on ice to the Hanging Station. When I worked as a Hanger, I had to pull the chickens out of a large bin that was constantly refilled with more chickens. I had to grab each chicken and quickly mount it by both legs on the conveyor hooks. We typically had two Hangers at times when the conveyor was going 1 chicken per second.
The guys that worked in the "live" area had it the worst. The Eviscerators there had to deal with warm, stinky, entrails. A little chicken butt fat evisceration sounded easier, but less exciting. The Live Eviscerators always had interesting stories because after the chicken heads were removed, the chickens still moved around a lot. This made the Live Eviscerator jobs exciting and challenging. The Live Eviscerators often had to chase down and catch the chickens (with or without heads) that managed to get out of the conveyor hooks.
At breaks, they stopped the conveyor and did clean up. This was when I got to hear the cool Live Eviscerator stories. In comparison, my evisceration stories were lame. It's not like I ever found anything exciting in a cold chicken butt. A good story for me was something like, "Harlin, that chicken sure had a lot of fat....did you see how much I eviscerated?"