First Time Duck Processing

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by lead_dog, Dec 4, 2008.

  1. lead_dog

    lead_dog New Egg

    Dec 4, 2008
    We're raising Pekin ducks in the winter in our pastured poultry operation instead of broilers. We have our first 30 (small batch) that will need processing soon. They will be 7 weeks old on Monday. Someone who raised them told me that it is very important to process them between the 7th and 8th week before additional feathers come in (?). As I'm new to ducks, I don't know.

    We have a featherman gamebird plucker with 250 or so fingers and a featherman scalder.

    My questions are:

    - is there a specific age that is ideal to process them
    - what should the scald temperature be
    - what should the scald duration be

    Any advice is greatly appreciated.

  2. Acre of Blessings

    Acre of Blessings Canning/Sewing Addict

    Apr 3, 2008
    Axton, VA
    Temp should be about 150 degrees for 2 to 3 minutes.

    For the pekins the window between pin feathers is 7, 12.5 and 18 weeks of age.

    Hope this helps & [​IMG]
  3. greyfields

    greyfields Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 15, 2007
    Washington State
    The weeks seem right as posted above. Hope you're enjoying the ducks. I find them far easier to raise than our broilers.

    I like my ducks to be roasters, so I don't raise them in quick successive crops at 8 weeks apart like some do chickens. I hatch my own in the winter/spring, then process in June and September. My processor surely hates me, since all the ducks are different ages in any batch, making their life hell.
  4. lead_dog

    lead_dog New Egg

    Dec 4, 2008
    I'm unclear on the window for pin feathers. For example, it says week 7. Does that mean for one week between 7 and 8, or how long? Just not sure how precise it is...they'll be 7 weeks on Monday.
  5. jvls1942

    jvls1942 Chicken Obsessed

    Oct 16, 2008
    you lost me on the window of time also..
  6. Brunty_Farms

    Brunty_Farms Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 29, 2007
    It's probably for the whole week. Look at your ducks and see if you can notice any small pin feathers. If you do.... let them grow out a little bit and then process.

    I've found dawn to work good on ducks and geese. It breaks down the oil used to keep the water from penatrating the feathers. I just put a drop on them and rub the soap in the feathers using a hose.... after I have broken down the oil I dunk in the scalder.

    I saw your interview on your site.... great site by the way.... and watched the turkey's being processed. I do 100 turkey's each thanksgiving and hand pluck them.... what a bear. That video doesn't do the job enough justice on just how tough it is to endure. After three days of 150 turkey's I'm sure you guys were exhausted... I know I was and I have just 100.

    Good luck with your farm.
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2008

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