Ducks

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by elizabethbinary, Jan 5, 2011.

  1. elizabethbinary

    elizabethbinary Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 22, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    My ducklings are getting really really big. The family has already started slow-cooking my next dinner under Lady Duck. It should be time to process in about 4-6 weeks, I think.

    They were hatched around the beginning of November. I can check for the exact date... I would guess 3 months is good for processing a Muscovy? I'm not looking for size, I'm looking for good flavour - I remember when Elvis was about 3 months he looked perfect - just that right balance. When do you prefer to process muscovies?

    Also is it similar to chickens? Cone and slice?

    Also - feather removal I'd like them to be in the best quality possible but I don't think most methods allow this. Does anybody have a good method for removing down to use for other things?

    Thank you!!!
     
  2. dmiravalle

    dmiravalle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 23, 2010
    Foresthill, CA
    There is a wax you can buy that my dad used to use when he was a duck hunter...
     
  3. elizabethbinary

    elizabethbinary Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 22, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Quote:Yes! My mother in law said I could just use beeswax (while that sounds pricey, we have our own hives so it's actually cheaper to use than special wax)... but I worry it'll damage the feathers. Does it not? [​IMG]
     
  4. gmendoza

    gmendoza Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 23, 2010
    Rock Hill,SC
    Skin your ducks,then you can remove good feathers at your leasure.

    Three months is good for Muscs.

    Cone and slice,hatchet,pelletgun...whatever your choice of kill.
     
  5. duckfat

    duckfat Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 30, 2010
    Michigan
    We use Junior's Duck Wax when defeathering. It is a commercial wax designed specifically designed for waterfowl. It has special additives for adhesiveness and pliability. I recommend this over the common paraffin wax used in canning.
     
  6. elizabethbinary

    elizabethbinary Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 22, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Quote:Quick question though: isn't that wax to remove all the lovely soft down? And since the wax seals the feathers wouldn't it ruin it? And since I have beeswax that I can get for free, wouldn't that be similar? While it's different than paraffin, how is it compared to bees?

    I like the skinning idea, thank you! I'm imagining now sitting in front of TV and instead of having knitting needles I have duck 'pelts' all over my knees slowly picking feathers... hahaha.
     
  7. duckfat

    duckfat Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 30, 2010
    Michigan
    Quote:No, you rough pluck first. Then when the bird is nearly naked, you dip it in wax. The instructions for use is on the website. The down can be recovered during the initial rough pluck. I can't offer an opinion on beeswax.
     
  8. wood&feathers

    wood&feathers Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 22, 2009
    E. KY
    Does pithing help loosen feathers on ducks as well? Doesn't sound like you are doing many at once. You could just dry pluck.
     
  9. Country Parson

    Country Parson Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 1, 2010
    Bellefontaine, OH
    Having just processed 8 geese and 4 ducks several weeks back, I learned very quickly how time consuming plucking these birds can be. There are about 10,000 more feathers than on chickens (or so it seems). My hand literally cramped and was sore for 2 days!

    Still, I do not skin these birds, nor do I use wax (OK, I skinned one of them for comparison purposes). We prefer the skin on the bird when cooking. Removing the skin greatly limits your ability when cooking (imho), and we value the taste it brings. Only you can decide if the skin is worth the extra effort. Also, we save duck & goose fat for cooking, as we try to avoid processed oils. On top of all this, we wanted nice clean down. IMO, wax is just another unnecessary expense (though perhaps in 15 years from now I'll think differently).

    Our method was long, time-consuming, and exhausting---but we dry plucked the out feathers of each bird. Most of this went straight to the compost heap (I've since learned other uses for these feathers, and want to kick myself for composting them...still, it was good organic matter). We then dry plucked the down. Everything was very clean & dry this way. After my hand stopped cramping, we gutted & prepared the birds for the freezer.
     
  10. Country Parson

    Country Parson Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 1, 2010
    Bellefontaine, OH
    Oh, I should also mention that instead of using wax, why not simply burn off the little pin feathers (or whatever you call those developing feathers that are almost impossible to remove)?

    It added to the flavor of the birds, helped with the appearance, and was rather easy to do.
     

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