DUCKS??! when is a good age to butcher.....? and chick question.....

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by crazypoultrychx, Jun 6, 2013.

  1. crazypoultrychx

    crazypoultrychx Chirping

    May 13, 2013
    New Orleans LA
    so I own 14 pekin ducks and 9 of them are on my last when is a good time to butcher.....they are about 4 months old now and they are HUGE.....(especially the ones with bad legs!!).....but they are starting to least I assume that is the violent drownding behavior I am you butcher at 6 months like a chicken? or do you wait longer do they get fatter??

    Im new to all of this and have my first batch of pullets I just hatched and Im not sure about that either....I hatched americauna crossed w buff orphington and RIR hens......5 are white 5 are red......would it be better to keep the cross breeds to lay and eat the RIR......I wanna keep the buff hens as they are 2x the size of the RIR....and big juicy bodies.....(or so I imagine as I have not butchered one yet)

    what would you do?[​IMG]
  2. crazypoultrychx

    crazypoultrychx Chirping

    May 13, 2013
    New Orleans LA
    REALLLYYYY!!!! nothing.....?[​IMG]
  3. luvmyEs

    luvmyEs Songster

    Dec 9, 2011
    North Carolina
    I think you could go ahead and butcher the ducks. I would wait for someone with more experience to comment on that first though. As for the chickens, it is really up to you. Personally, I am not a fan of americanas, so I would butcher the crosses and keep the RIR.
  4. jdywntr

    jdywntr Songster

    Oct 31, 2009
    Somerville, AL
    Pekin are meant to be butchered young. Like cornish cross chickens. Pekin are typically processed at 7-8 weeks. With ducks, you want to process when they have grown in their feathers, as they have many more than chickens and pin feathers are more numerous in a duck. Its usually 7 weeks, 12.5ish, and 18 weeks, if I remember correctly. Processing at a different time may result in longer plucking times. If you don't pluck, I don't, process whenever you want.

    By this age, they can be processed anytime. If you are running into problems with mating, I'd get the butchering over with as you are only stressing out all of your birds by allowing this to continue for so long.

    Since you said "9 of 14" are getting on your nerves, make sure that you only leave 1 male in the 5 remaining or just process them all. Too many drakes cause tons of problems and are not good for the well being of the bird. 2 drakes is are too many for 3 females.
  5. crazypoultrychx

    crazypoultrychx Chirping

    May 13, 2013
    New Orleans LA
    I plan to keep 3 females and 1 male.....and good to know.....
  6. Lupa Duende

    Lupa Duende Chirping

    Sep 7, 2012
    How and when did you butcher them?
    I am new to meat birds but promised I would do it as my boys love meat and it is breaking the bank. So I have a farm refuge and a farm now..., just to confuse my children.
    Can I buy any old sort, range them for the summer and then do it?
    Did you pluck yours yourself?
    How long did it take?
  7. jenny_kap

    jenny_kap Songster

    Feb 20, 2011
    two years ago i had 70 pekin ducks. i butchered 65 of them at 8 weeks and 5 of them at 12 weeks. the last 5 were double the size of the ones i butchered at 8 weeks. i learned the hard way, i guess. you can butcher yours anytime now, you wont do my mistake. i pluck by hand, 8 birds a day was all i could do. 2 times i had helpers, but i was not pleased with their work, so i did the rest of the plucking alone.
  8. ChickenJerk

    ChickenJerk Songster

    Jan 6, 2012
    Commercial pekin ducks are processed at 7 weeks 2 days of age to get the cleanest carcase, If they want different size end products to satisfy the market they adjust the feed or use a different strain but still process them at that age. The industry is still searching for a better way to get a pinfeather free carcase.
    1 person likes this.
  9. Nikosbirds

    Nikosbirds In the Brooder

    Mar 2, 2014
    Hope Valley, RI
    I just wanted to add, for posterity, that it depends on what you are after. If it's important to you to have entire carcasses, with skin on, you ned to butcher prior to 8 weeks due to the pin feathers. Once you start to see a big increase in the numbers of white feathers around the ground, it's too late. Also, I believe there is a more humane way to do the deed.

    We did ducks for the first time this year and learned A LOT. Here is my experience:

    I got set up planning on doing the ducks the same way I've done chickens in the past: using a sharp knife to the jugular while the bird is held in a medium sized killing cone. It was not like killing a chicken. The duck seemed to take a long time to die and seemed to retain consciousness for an undue amount of time, even after cutting the veins. (I didn't miss the veins, I am quite certain) So, I decided to just do a few of the chickens I had wanted to cull instead and find a better way to do the ducks. So, I processed the one duck at 8 weeks. Plucking was probably 2-3 times more labor intensive than a chicken, but not too bad.
    About a week later, I got set up to do the rest of the ducks. (mind you, we are at 9 weeks now) I had found a new killing method:

    This worked a lot better, faster. Seemed much more humane than any other method.
    However, when it got to be time to pluck, things had changed a lot in just a few days. It took MUCH longer to get the carcass even close to fully plucked. Eventually, we decided we would have to skin them and butcher them, which we did. I kept the nearly plucked skin and rendered the fat out in a pot, put it in jars in the fridge and vacuum sealed the meat. Saved the feathers for adding to a comforter (that's the plan, anyway).Since I had recently had carpal tunnel surgery, I wasn't able to butcher all the ducks I had planned on doing. I have a few left over now that I will grow for a few more weeks, since I know I will have to skin them anyway. The duck fat is important to us, so I was careful to spend some extra time getting the skins free of most feathers. But if you don't care about fat or feathers, you won't need to do all that work. I don't know for sure (maybe someone can answer this), but I would think that removing most of the feathers is a good idea if you are planning on rendering the fat. Maybe there is an easier way, like burning them off?
  10. mominoz

    mominoz Songster

    Feb 17, 2009
    North Georgia
    Unlike chickens , ducks necks are much tougher. I "had" to learn for humane kill of injured bird first...sigh... anyway and then "excess mean birds or deflective ones of the breed". I am a wimp about killing something I know. (too many Bambi movies and books). Anyway. I read all the methods and want it to be the least personal. I now know whay older generations 'stunned" with a stick first... they don't die as quick or easy as chickens (and are cuter)... I tried 'chicken methods"... Finally , this is what I have decided. I stun them with a .22air gun to the head (direct shot)... knocks the conciousness out of them (you can tell by the glazed nonlook). Then I cut the head off with an hatchet or very sharp knife. As they are quite after the blow. I once used a sledge hammer.... but it was too 'personal'.... not sure I could stun well enough with just a stickblow to back of head... As far as age I have done it at differing ages, just make sure you don't freeze meat right away. It needs to sit in cold (fridge or )for a couple days, before freezing. I also found if you can strip feathers while carcuss is still warm they come off easy... If you wait till it cools they don't let go well. (I haven't invested in hot tubs and such...I just hand do it or mostly skin and filet)... I am older so it is easiest for me alone ...
    1 person likes this.

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