Corn For The Ducks

Oregon Blues

8 Years
Apr 14, 2011
Central Oregon
When I butchered my first batch of Swedish, they were completely lean. Not one drop of fat on them. So I added some cracked corn to the diet of the remaining ones to see if I could get some fat on them.

They turned out perfect. Just a little fat. Enough to make them easy to cook.

The Pekins, however, did not need that corn. They put on fat easily and would have been fine without the corn. Because they get plenty of exercise and fresh air, they didn't turn out too fat, but they were definitely plump.

I've eaten Pekin that was raised in confinement and they were greasy to the point of being almost inedible. Mine turned out really nice. They will make a nice crispy skinned roast duck. But they really didn't need that extra corn.
That's awesome to here Oregon! My customers pick up their ducks this Sunday and I'll probably process mine the same day to see how they turned out. This insane heat prevented my ducks from gaining the weight, but I think my customers will be happy with them regardless.
My mother used to talk about duck being greasy but when I butchered mine, I never found this to be the case but they were not pekins either. Interesting. I may eventually try hatching my pekin eggs for some meat birds.
i am a chef & did a lot of competition cooking for about 10 years. i ALWAYS did duck. most people (and even chefs) don't prepare duck well, doing so gives a chef a distinct advantage.
the fat is great for a lot of things, but while i like a duck to be a bit fatty i DO NOT like a FAT duck. there is a HUGE difference. if one must blanch the duck before roasting...
i'm raising anconas to breed, but will be culling & eating those that do not get sold/ bred. when did you start adding the extra corn into their diets? i like just enough fat on my birds to make a nice "cracklin'" (to garnish duck breast or confit salad...) or to have that crisp, sweet fat on the roasters.
also, orgeon blue, would you recommend i raise a few pekins just for eating? i know the anconas are great lean meat, but am not sure if i'd be better off using them for seared duck breast, confits, and stock & getting pekins for roasters.
It didn't occur to me to add corn until after I did half of the Swedish. They were so lean, that it wasn't even possible to get the skin off.

The butchering didn't go well, so we stopped and ordered duck wax. The Swedish ducks got almost an extra free month. There is no corn in the feed that I buy. Poultry food used to always have corn in it. So I added some cracked corn. Just a little. About 2 pounds a day shared by 50 ducks.

If I do ducks again (except for Pekin), they will get corn added from the very start. The Swedish ended up with just a little bit of fat in the skin and a little fat deposit at the tail. Perfect amount, as far as I can see. I'll know for sure when I cook the first one.

I had no intention of getting any Pekin. I received them instead of the show Swedish that I ordered and paid for. I like them so well that I sorted out the largest male and the 2 largest females and now I have a trio of Pekin that will produce roasting ducks for my table. Pekin get fat really easily, so really need to be kept in a way that they can wander around.

My Pekin turned out with a goodly amount of fat in the skin (yeah, crispy!), a fat deposit by the tail (yeah, duck fies!), but not visible deposits in the meat, so I think they will be lovely. No corn for them next year, though. They dressed out really large and are only 9 weeks old, so very economical to raise.

The Pekin could have been butchered at 7-8 weeks. their growth is phenomenal. They are healthy as all get-out and have very nice temperaments. I really like them. They dressed out large and very delicious looking.

I have not butchered any Silver Appleyards. They take about 2 weeks longer to get as large as the Pekin, so about 9 pounds by, maybe, 10 weeks. If I pick them up, they are very solid and heavy with no softness to them that would indicate fat. The Pekins feel upholstered when they are picked up. I've got 2 males that will go onto my table if I can't get them sold, so the Appleyards are now getting a bit of cracked corn because I don't want the meat to be totally lean. If I end up butchering them I will come back and report.

Also, they will be considerably older, since I don't select my keepers until their full adult plumage is in. So I will let everyone know how an older drake cooks up.
Also, the Swedish were a lot smaller. 2- 2 1/2 pounds, so the smaller amount of fat is just right for the cooking time on a small duck. They won't cook long enough to be rendering out fat. The Pekins are 4 1/2 - 4 3/4 pounds, so the larger amount of fat should be good because the cooking time will be longer.

The first batch of Swedish, with no fat at all, are being deboned and sliced and used in stir fry. Absolutely yummy.
thanks. you always post great info.
The Pekins feel upholstered when they are picked up.


i know this isn't the meat bird thread, but i wondered what your preferred method for "the day" is. i found someone to help, but he has never done duck. i have read other posts & you are pretty right on. i have a trio of anconas i am keeping and want to add another trio next year. i am wavering between welsh harlequin and pekin. i love the WHs, but the anconas white feathers are so pretty, and the chubby little pekins are awfully cute. i just wonder about noise, and i like the added bonus w/WH & anconas of helping to sustain a rare breed.

your geese are gorgeous, too.​
kitchengirl. I've got a stump with 2 nails in it. The neck goes between the nails, and that holds the duck from thrashing around. Then a sharp hatchet, really fast and hard, and the head is off, and I know without any doubt that the duck is dead. To me, quick is humane, so the quicker the better. You have to strike hard, no tentative pokes at it.

Pekin females have a loud voice. The males, who grow even bigger are very quiet. So if noise is an issue, you can older Pekin males and get large roasting ducks very quickly and no quacking. My female Pekins aren't noisy, but they blast an airhorn when they do quack.

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom