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How to pluck ducks?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by houndit, Oct 27, 2009.

  1. houndit

    houndit There is no H or F in Orpington!

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    Jul 13, 2008
    Braymer Missouri
    Hi,
    I was wondering how you pluck ducks? We have done it a couple of times. The first time it was really difficult! The next time we raised the temperature of the water and washed them off in soap first. It is still much more difficult then chickens!! We have a plucker. They are that it should do ducks and geese as well. We were old to add salt to the water to help them but we did not want to do that because it might corrode the elements that heat up our water. We have been sort of massaging soap into their feathers and ruffling up the feathers to help the water get to them. The picker gets some. I picked the rest off of some and did not think it was that bad, but the rest of the crew did not like doing it. One was skinned and they said that it was harder than picking them. Does anyone have any suggestions for making it easier?
     
  2. newchickmom09

    newchickmom09 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 15, 2009
    ARIZONA
    Here is a link to the meat bird section and it has some info on plucking, butchering, etc.
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=248648

    I have only butchered one duck and my hubby was the one that did the plucking so I am no help there. Read through those posts and you will get some good info.
     
  3. snewman

    snewman Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 22, 2007
    Belleville, WI
    I got this from somewhere online and it worked really pretty well; I got a package of parafin wax (can be found in the grocery store, near canning supplies). I heated water to the proper temp for scalding and put one block of wax in the water to melt. Before dipping the duck, I plucked whatever feathers came off easily in handfuls, mostly just the outer feathers, althouth getting the the long primary wing feathers and tail feathers off will help in the next step...then I dipped the duck in the scald water. The melted wax sits on top of the water and coats the downy feathers. This is why you pull off some of the outer feathers. The more of the down the wax can coat, the better. After a quick dip in the hot water and wax I put the duck in cold water for several minutes. The wax hardens and then you can just pull it, with feathers, off in chunks. There's still a little cleanup plucking to do once the wax is off, but it sure speeds things up. Just make sure the duck is dry when you dip it in the hot wax water or the wax won't stick.
     
  4. destiny_56085

    destiny_56085 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 29, 2009
    Sleepy Eye, MN
    If you wait til the duck has all its adult feathers (usually after the first hard frost in the fall), its a bit easier. Pin feathers are a pain to get out on them.
     
  5. houndit

    houndit There is no H or F in Orpington!

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    Jul 13, 2008
    Braymer Missouri
    Thank you for the responses!
     
  6. Le Canard de Barbarie

    Le Canard de Barbarie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 19, 2009
    I don't bother with a plucker.

    First I have two 30 gallon stockpots filled with water. The first one I throw in some dishwashing soap and bring up to 150 degrees F. The second one I throw in some wax and heat it up to 160 degrees F. Wait until the wax is melted.

    Then I grab a duck, throw it into a killing cone, slit its throat, and wait until it has died and completely bled out. Then I grab the duck by its feet and dunk it into the first pot with the soapy water. The duck is highly agitated to get all the feathers soaked in the hot water. After a good minute or so, I test the scald by pulling a tail or wing feather. When the feathers pull out easily the scald is done.

    I then hang the duck upside down over a garbage can by its legs and pluck all the large feathers. I try to get a fairly clean carcass. Then I grab the duck by its legs again and dunk it into the wax several times. I hang the duck back up again by its legs and wait for the wax to cool. Once it does, I peel the wax off the carcass. With the wax peelings come all the little feathers that you weren't able to get on the first pass.
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2009
    1 person likes this.
  7. DuckMamaorBust

    DuckMamaorBust Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 15, 2009
    Westford, MA
    From start to end how long does it take to go from duck pen to ready for dinner? I know it will be a lot difference for someone experienced vs. novice but I'm just curious how much time one must set aside. For example's sake... let's say there are 5 birds. (Canard, I read in Meat Birds etc that you do a LOT more at a time)
     
  8. Le Canard de Barbarie

    Le Canard de Barbarie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 19, 2009
    Quote:As a complete novice and assuming you don't run into pin feather problems, it could take you well over an hour to do a duck, maybe close to an hour and a half. I plan for 40 to 45 minutes per duck, which is still pretty slow. So, if I had five birds and conditions were right I could do it in four hours.

    A duck has just so many more tiny and hard to pluck feathers than a chicken. If I didn't have a good duck wax to help me, I would be screwed.

    Other people just skin the duck and avoid the feather problems altogether. There is a lot to be said for that method.
     
  9. DuckMamaorBust

    DuckMamaorBust Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 15, 2009
    Westford, MA
    Thanks for the info. I'm a long way from being ready to prepare a duck but I want to have this thought through before I bring any ducks home. I appreciate the info.
     
  10. Country Living Farm

    Country Living Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 18, 2009
    Florida
    Why can you not use a plucker on a Duck?
     

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