First time duck processing


In the Brooder
Oct 14, 2020
Hi all,

We have 4 drakes (we believe) that we are planning on processing. 2 crested whites, 1 blue runner, and 1 something - honestly looks just like a blue Swedish, but the color is fully brown. They are about 10 weeks old. I know they may not be the best for the table, but we have to keep our ratio down. So, when would you all process these types of drakes?

One of the crested is definitely lopsided due to the genetic deformation. He will probably be the first to go.

Any advice for a first timer? I hear their necks are significantly stronger then chickens. Any suggestions for the quickest, most human dispatch?
Each of the Pekin Ducks that I've processed have been considerably older. I have a hook I hang all my birds from for processing - well technically, a hook I hang a scale from, from which I hang the bird to be butchered from the feet. In any event, secure the feet and hang, head down. Allow the bird to relax a bit.

Grab the head, just at the base of the skull, and pull the neck taught. Take a SHARP knife, not merely sharp, or recently Sharp, but truly SHARP. I use an 8" chef's knife. Using your thumb, brush some of the feathers towards the head to expose the skin beneath, so you get a good look at the jugular. Position your knife just there, gentle pressure, and draw back confidently. Most times, I completely decapitate as the blade finds its way between the neckbones, and I end up with a handful of drake head. Toss it in the bucket, too, then go clean your knife - that's a bit broad and stiff for breaking down a bird, though it can (and has) been done.

Bucket underneath catches the blood, mostly.
The thing with ducks is you want to try and time it for the time during the fewest pin feathers. That's usually around 8, 12, and 18 weeks.

I use a kill cone and large tree loppers to dispatch. It offers a quick death with little effort, even on the thicker necks. It's also a good option if you think you might hesitate with a knife.
Thank you. Great advice on the timing with pin feathers.

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