Ducks - Can I Butcher During Molt

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by bilsie, Oct 22, 2013.

  1. bilsie

    bilsie Out Of The Brooder

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    I had planned to butcher my first duck tomorrow and now find they are definitely molting. They are about 9 weeks old. I have two reference books one of which states in bold print that the meat is no good if they are molting. Is this true? Thanks for your help.
     
  2. PotterWatch

    PotterWatch My Patronus is a Chicken

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    First of all, at nine weeks they aren't really molting, just growing in more juvenile feathers and getting rid of the last of their down. True molting doesnt usually occur until they are adults, usually in the spring. That said, I can't imagine why it would be bad to eat meat from a molting bird except that the pin feathers coming in might be a pain to deal with.
     
  3. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    I agree, 9 weeks isn't molting, just losing down.

    I've eaten molting roosters, the meat was just fine.
     
  4. bilsie

    bilsie Out Of The Brooder

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    Silly me, thank you both.
     
  5. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    Not silly! We all gotta learn sometime.
     
  6. jdywntr

    jdywntr Chillin' With My Peeps

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    With ducks, its about avoiding pin feathers as they have way more than chickens. You don't say what breed. If they are Pekin, they will be basically fully grown and fully feathered at 9 weeks.

    I have found no difference in taste regardless of when the bird was butchered (unless it was an older bird). But, I skin my birds so pin feathers aren't an issue.
     
  7. bilsie

    bilsie Out Of The Brooder

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    I had two Saxonies and two Cayugas. The Saxony was the one I butchered. I was surprised at how little meat there was aside from the breast. He was 10 weeks old, would it have made any difference if I had waited or would he be considered fully grown. All my birds were to my eyes big. Thanks
     
  8. jdywntr

    jdywntr Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It may have gained a little but probably not a lot. Saxony grow slow but when most people/sources say that they are comparing to Pekin which are adult size in 7-9 weeks. Saxony drakes peak at about 9 lbs. So, if yours was close to 8-9 lbs, you won't get much more meat.

    I find ducks to be misleading on size when you are looking at them. Most breeds have a large fat layer which adds to their bulk but not to the meat. I once butchered a 14 week old Muscovy drake and a similar aged pekin drake. The Muscovy had a larger breast, by about 1/4 and they grow slow. The pekin was basically full grown but, if I wait on the Muscovy to grow, I can get 3 lbs of breast meat and 1-1.5 lbs in leg quarters. But that's at 9-12 months old.
     

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