Well, I have absolutely no experience with plucking a chicken, but I might have some insight from the squeamish guest.
My entire family is vegetarian - no meat, no fish, no poultry.
If we all went to an event (unlikely, because I am the only one who reenacts) where they they were fixing something that still looked like a recognizable live animal, this is what our reactions would be:
- my mother would go very white, and maybe faint. Possibly would not eat anything for the rest of the day.
- one of my sisters would make a face, and use this experience as a reason to never to go to a reenacting event again.
- on the other hand, watching someone clean and cook a chicken might be the only thing interesting to my other sister!
- My dad would probably get into a discussion about cooking techniques with who ever was doing the presentation (he might not eat them, but he loves to cook poultry for other people
- I would not be grossed out, but I might not stick around for long, unless the presenter was really interesting!
Personally, I don't see why people should be upset about watching someone fix food they would have no problem eating!
However, if you are worried about offending people, the idea about having a pile of feathers somewhere sounds good, with maybe only a few feathers still on the bird. That way the fact that there used to be feathers covering the chicken would be made clear, but would not be as disturbing for the delicate sensibilities of the city folk
Hope my ramblings help some!