Gimme strength, Duck processing day has arrived


10 Years
Aug 2, 2009
Southwestern Washington State
Well our ducklings are 12.5 weeks old today which is the day we planned to process and my DH has the day off to do the deed.

We have four scovy drakes with tickets to freezer camp at high noon. Lucky for me they have just been picking on a little hen I have with a hurt wing, but other than being a little mad at them now, I'm feeling terribly sorry for them. Just the part of them not getting to eat is making me sad.

Can someone give me some pearls of wisdom to bolster my feelings about it? I am NOT a vegetarian and have plopped many a chicken body in a pan without a thought, but I never KNEW those chickens.

Some of our friends think we are mean to actually eat them and can't believe we are doing this.......even though they eat meat too. While I think they are hypocrites I do feel that knowing their lives are cut short makes me less hungry.....


10 Years
May 11, 2009
Cincinnati, Ohio
I'm with you -- and I am probably no help at all... but I think if you had no feelings one way or the other about these ducks then you would be someone you would not want to know. (Maybe it would help if you don't think of them as "ducklings".)

I don't know how one reconciles raising animals for food and then making it happen. Since I haven't anything smart or helpful to say, then the least I can do is reach out and hold your hand today. Wherever you are I am right there with you, wincing.



In the Brooder
9 Years
May 11, 2010
Don't feel so bad about it. you got the ducklings for meat so now you know they did not have a bad life befor they serve their purpose and then your doing them an honor by eating them so they did not die for no reason. it's part of life some must die so others can live. in other cultures they celebrate when they harvest animals.


11 Years
Sep 19, 2008
I'll do my best even though I couldn't do the deed myself................You are providing food for your family, you are going to get some delicious meals out of those ducks, and you are doing your poor little hurt chicken a HUGE Favor!!!


10 Years
May 22, 2009
SW Michigan
That is their purpose in life. I give them a good life, and then allow them to fulfill their purpose. They don't have affection for you or wonder how you could do this to them.

Get through the first time and all will be good.


HorseFeatherz NV

Eggink Chickens
10 Years
May 12, 2009
Sierra Foothills of Reno, NV
It is always hard for me, and I love eating a homegrown meal. In fact I have a duck and cockerel that need to be done today also - have been putting it off.

For me, once it is done - I feel so much better. The "dread" is gone and knowing that the "pests" are no longer bothering anyone is wonderful. Keep in your mind the fact that they are picking on your little girl and remember that it is not going to get better. Think of how good your poor girl will feel, not having to worry about those bratty boys!

Couple months ago, I butchered a Roo I loved. He was super wonderful with me, but was not a good quality for his breed and he was bothering my oldest duck (she is 10 or 11 yrs old). Henry (the duck) would leave the run and our yard early in the morning and spend the day deep in the sage brush so the Roo would not romance her. The roo was not "mean" but Henry had no interest in being his woman. As bad as I felt for butchering the roo, the fact that Henry can enjoy her day and not have to be on the lookout for the romancer is very worth it to me.


10 Years
Mar 3, 2009
One thought that really helps me do the deed is that having them alive is way more work then not having them alive. No more cleaning their pen, feeding them, getting water, worrying if it's too hot, too cold, too much rain,etc. Once they're gone, the work disappears too. Then you have some delicious food that you grew all by yourself.


10 Years
Aug 2, 2009
Southwestern Washington State
Oh, thanks, this is making me feel so much better. I read all your responses out loud to hubby too, as he paces around assembling all the stuff he needs. Of course it is raining today so we are setting up in the woodshed I think.
Our "hen" is actually their sister duck not a chicken and she was attacked by our foster dog and has finally been recovering. She has a wing that hangs down so they spot her when we tried to let her have some pond time, because she was pacing back and forth in the pen next to the duck pen, longing for the pond and to be with the other ducks. She was so dejected when they attacked her. I will most definetly keep her in mind.
With the four of them caged up she is integrated back into the flock now. Someone on another BYC thread was telling me some drakes can be like that, mean to weaker ducks, and I did seem to have four that were just like they said.
We will work hard at keeping her in mind, also that their purpose has been food all along and their lives were really probably pretty good and we know it for ourselves. I guess in our culture we are just not conditioned to butchering since so often this is done at processing plants these days.

I know my grandma did not feel this way, not sure why I do. How quickly we lose self sufficieny!


9 Years
Jun 15, 2010
Big Bend, WI
"How quickly we lose self-sefficieny!"

Is true! I am the first in my family to try "homesteading" and it brings me so much joy to be able to raise our own garden even for my family. It's the same concept. You raise the ducks for meat and eggs. You gave them an amazing life, and you should feel pride in feeding them to your family! You know they were never ill, never ate anything bad for them, and lived their lives fully!

I don't personally own any animals as of yet, but we plan on having them for the sole purpose of feeding my family and possibly my BIL and SIL. I just think of how poultry is usually raised for the super markets and cringe knowing I can do so much better. Even your butchering will probably be more humane!

DH hunts, so I know how it is to butcher, and it's a little hard. It is hard to get over the mentalitly of eating something that was running around yesterday. I still can't eat rabbit or squirrel. We got 2 roos from our DS's sitter and butchered them ourselves. I had a moment of going "man...these were just outside" but then I realized how better they tasted and how great of lives they had. Plus they were in competition with another roo, and had to go! Too many roos in one place

I hope you feel better about it. Everything will be okay. They lived GREAT lives.
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12 Years
Feb 22, 2007
Belleville, WI
I think if you had no feelings one way or the other about these ducks then you would be someone you would not want to know

I think this is very true. My husband gave me a bit of a hard time last fall when I was sad after processing my turkeys, of whom I'd gotten quite fond. I told him that I thought a person should feel a little bit of something after that, and if I didn't there would be something wrong with me. It didn't keep me from doing it, but it did make me think about the value of life.​

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