Has anyone had a hard time killing your ducks? :(

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by inermotion, Jan 30, 2013.

  1. inermotion

    inermotion In the Brooder

    Apr 17, 2012
    This is our first year having poultry (ducks, Geese, chickens) , I love our ducks since we got them, they became my favorite out of all the others because of all there unique personalities which is why we are keeping them, Theres only one problem.. the boys are fighting to the death so one needs to go :( I already decided its going to be the mean unfriendly pekin duck over my little nice male mallard. I looked up how to butcher ducks & its just sad.. I keep telling myself that it needs to happen eventually, I have never killed an animal on purpose before. We have 22 chickens, eventually there times going to come up too so I just need to rip the band-aid off & do it. Im not as attached to that duck as the others but I don't if its going be hard for me or not, How was it your first time killing a poultry animals of any type? & How did you do it? Was it hard? & did you ever get over it? im the only one that can do it since I am the caretaker of them all, I buy there food, do the work etc, No one else helps me with the animals but me.

  2. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Loving this country life Premium Member

    Can you separate these 2 till you can figure it out, I would worry your larger Pekin would kill your Mallard, can't help you other ways, we have talked about butchering some of ours off and on for the last 8 yrs but we just haven't been able to do it, get too attached, thats why i have one old drake separate from my 2 young ones and looks like those 2 boys will have to have some time out since they were fighting this morning. There are some on here that do butcher so sooner or later someone will be able to advise you.
  3. lucyharper123

    lucyharper123 Chirping

    Dec 16, 2012
    don't worry im paniking too!![​IMG] this is the first year that i have decided to fatten up all my cockrels that i hatch and use them for meat and im terrified that i don't do it right and i put them in pain!! :(
  4. jdywntr

    jdywntr Songster

    Oct 31, 2009
    Somerville, AL

    You need to research the process and be prepared with everything ahead of time. There are some excellent threads in the meat forum but most deal with chickens and remember that a duck is not a chicken. Processing is a little different. You can use a cone, I don't have one though. Ideas for making them can be found be doing a search on BYC. I was hesitant with my first but quickly gained confidence. I found wearing gloves at first, either well fitting dishwashing gloves or latex, was easier, I don't anymore. You will likely make mistakes, it is inevitable but consider that this will still be better treatment than he would receive on a factory farm. An assistant is helpful but my husband doesn't help but even someone to help you collect the bird can help.

    Unless you are going to be raising meat birds on a regular basis you may want to fiind someone near you that processes. You can also see if you can find a mentor that can teach you. There are ways of processing chickens that don't work for ducks. Ducks have thicker necks so the axe requires a much sharper edge and a much stronger swing. Dislocating the head (called the broomstick method by some) does not work for the same reasons.

    Now the graphic part.
    I started with processing a duck. A muscovy drake. I read about it, watched videos etc. I decided on chopping off the head. I practiced on similar width branches. But it did not go well. I think the axe is something to build up to especially if you are a little hesitant. Now, I use a slip knot around each leg and gently hang the bird upside down from a tree branch. If you hold them and gently move them upside down they usually won't even flap their wings. I slit the jugulars, both sides. You don't want to slit the throat, just the veins. I hold the beak to aid in bleed out and the bird just slowly passes. All birds will flap after death regardless of the means. I also hold the wings to lessen the flapping and prevent bruising of the meat. I skin my ducks but you can get all the info you need on the meat section on scalding and plucking. There is not a ton of info there on processing ducks though.

    If you have any particular questions, you are welcome to PM me. Watch alot of videos, some are better than others, most deal with chickens or wild ducks.
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2013
  5. r4eboxer

    r4eboxer Crooked Creek Poultry

    Sep 20, 2011
    I've done it, I don't want to sound cold hearted but I didn't have a problem with it. I had three drakes to three ducks, the flock is going to need managed and you are right you are going to have to do something with your chickens too.

    The way I looked at it with the drakes was they were going to hurt each other, and hurt the ducks by over mating. The life they lived was happy, they were humanly treated while they lived. I am an omnivore, I will never be a vegetarian and neither will my husband or my children. If I'm going to eat meat I want to feel good about it. I am not going to support people financially who have no regard for another living thing and treat them the way they are treated in factory farms. It is horrid, really terrible the way these animals suffer in a factory farm just to satisfy the human greed. So much food is wasted and no life should be wasted that way.

    My children are so much more aware of wasting food. Those ducks fed them and I had roosters that fed my dogs. My 12 year old did not like it that the roosters ended up feeding the dogs. He said "we should have eaten them, the dogs have dog food." I've got to teach him about dog food and that mess too before he understands why it was good the dogs got the roosters too. BTW roosters can are are VERY tough meat if not cooked correctly.

    I do still shop at the grocery for food, but I am making small steps every day to get away from factory farm food. That's all we can do, small steps toward a long well traveled journey.

  6. Blingaling1

    Blingaling1 In the Brooder

    Jan 6, 2013
    I did turkey's for the first time this year. I wasn't as unsure as you are about butchering but I still had my concerns. I did lots of research online, in books, and on youtube. There are plenty of learning oportunities in the area. Just take your time and make sure everything is set up for you and all will go well. Like most people who butcher their own animals say, it's much better for the animal since they are raised in a healthier habitat, usually, they are less stressed and end up tasting better than anything you can get in the store.

    I say go for it and go in with the proper mind set. Know it's going to be emotional to some degree for everyone. But that's part of the process, you appreciate the animal that much more for giving the ultimate for our nourishment. Welcome to the world of being a farmer.
  7. beaglady

    beaglady Songster

    Jan 19, 2012
    i can do chickens, no problem. Turkeys, no problem. Ducks are too personable (and difficult to pluck) so I pay someone else to process them.
  8. Valntyn

    Valntyn Chirping

    Jun 11, 2012
    Central Maine
    Our first was a Muscovy drake also. I say "we," but my husband did it, while I kept our toddler out of line's sight. My husband's first experience sounds much like jdywntr's. He tried using an axe. It did not go well. There was flapping. There was blood spray. He got through it, but when we were getting ready to put the plucked/skinned bird in the fridge, THAT'S when it hit him. His adrenaline wore off and he was very upset by it. He knew it had to be done; knew he could do it again if he had to; but wasn't happy with his first experience. So keep that in mind: it may not go perfectly. Give yourself time to get okay again with it afterwards; there's no shame if it upsets you. And remember what you did, so hopefully next time, it goes a little smoother.

    Good luck (and though it might sound cruel to say it now: happy eating!). [​IMG]
  9. artistmama

    artistmama Hatching

    Oct 24, 2009
    Hi, I just harvested my two pekin ducks yesterday. It was my first time, and, yes, I am a bit traumatized by it. I loved watching and interacting with my ducks. They had such personalities, but winter is coming on, and we live in a subdivision without the means to over-winter our ducks. So, I did the deed. I had a female and a male, so I killed the female first because females are loud quackers, and I didn't want her disturbing the neighborhood calling out for her male companion. I used a homemade kill cone, but it didn't work very well for the female. I could not get her head down through the hole in the bottom. She kept tucking her head up behind her wing, so I finally just hung her upside down by her feet with a slip knot. I cut her jugular and she started to bleed out and hung there for about a minute, and then the horrible part happened. Her feet slipped out of the slip knot rope and she landed on the ground. She still had enough strength to stand up and start walking. I was horrified. I immediately picked her up by her feet and hung her back upside down to finish bleeding out, but it was taking too long, so I asked my husband to cut her head off while I held her.

    The male duck was much easier. I actually was able to get his head down through the cone, and was able to get a good slice on his jugular, wherein he bled out very quickly, and stayed inside the cone. Much easier. I wish I could have made it the same experience for my poor little female pekin.

    So I started through the process of dunking and plucking, then gutting, etc. It took me about 3 hours to finish up because I wanted to get all the pin feathers out. I was really busy, but when my task was completed, the sadness and grief came roaring in. Today (24 hours later), I am still feeling very sad. I keep looking out the back door and windows by habit, looking for my ducks. I used to let them roam the back yard during the day, only locking them up at night. Old habits are hard to break.

    I am currently brining my ducks, but tonight I will wrap them and put them in the freezer. I think it will be several months before I will be able to pull one out and actually eat it. I read an earlier response to your question, and it helped me feel a bit better. Someone wrote that the ducks' lives and deaths at your hands are much more humane than anything they would experience in a factory farm. Yes, yes, yes. That is so true, and I have to comfort myself with that thought. My ducks were very happy and healthy ducks. They were treated very well, and I tried to give them the most humane death possible, because I didn't want them to suffer. I did my best. Next time, if there is a next time (and there most likely will be), I will do better.

  10. OmAnNom

    OmAnNom Chirping

    Aug 10, 2011
    Fort Bragg, NC

    This is so messed up. You're to hesitant to chop the head off with an axe so you hang it and cut the veins to let it bleed out? Why not cut clean through the neck while it hangs? I wonder what method you would chose do die by? I'm not some tree hugging save the planet greenie either but I do think its important to treat other animals with the respect they deserve, you know given the fact they keep you nourished and all...
    The the OP, and I understand this thread is rather old; it's not easy especially the first time. But it tastes delicious. Use your foot a noose and a sharp axe/ hatchet but please don't slice it's throat open and allow it to spent its last minutes frightened, scared and confused.

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