Jumbo white pekins, first time culling for meat. Advice?

atucker

Chirping
Jun 22, 2021
53
96
86
Background: I got some Pekin Ducks from TCS. They were desperate to get rid of the 2 week old's, and gave me 6 for $2. I am now thinking they were Jumbos. They are 10 weeks old, Huge and are having issues with their legs.
We ended up with 2 girls and 4 boys, so we new the culling process would come, but now we have a male that hurt both his legs, (I have to move him around all day to food, water, follow his siblings and in and out of the coop) and a male who cant stand upright and has these tiny legs he drags his chest when he walks...
They are on Duck feed, have constant access to clean water, 2 waterers, 2 kiddie pools and a large dog pool...They have a house with a large door and large, slow inclining ramp to the slightly off the ground door, they have and they free range around my yard all day. I have given them the best life I can, they are just simply too big for their own good...

Questions:
Not sure if I should cull them all (the 6 pekins), or maybe just keep the healthy female? I have 6 other ducks, 5 weeks old {Silver Appleyard (M+F), Blue Swedish (F), Rouen (F), Cayuga (F), and Welsh Harlquen (F)}... They all get along so well... But they are split into 2 clicks for the most part throughout the day and I would hate to leave that one female pekin alone...

They will be saved for meat, and I will have to do it all by hand, I have watched many videos and read the process several times but have never actually done it. I will have some large pots of boiling water... I have a 5 gallon bucket and planned to make a cone type deal as I refuse to spend $45 on the ones they sell... Would like to use as much of the bird as possible.. Even the feathers for a purpose. Anyone have tips or advice on how they use the whole bird? Or a must have tip for the slaughtering process?

Any Advice for a first time? It will be sad, not doubt... But they will feed my family and I started this journey with that purpose in mind anyways, and with the injuries, it seems worse to keep them alive at this point anyways.

Thanks in advance!
 

HollowOfWisps

Previously AstroDuck
Premium Feather Member
Aug 28, 2020
1,377
2,708
296
Iowa
I don't like to waste so all bones and organs get used to make bone broth (I cook the bones down to the point they turn to mush). I strain the bone broth when I'm done and anything that is left in the strainer gets fed to the dogs. Feathers I wash and save some for my wreaths/bouquets and the rest go to a cousin who uses them to make fishing flies (mainly down feathers). The heads go to a friend who trains hunting dogs.

Make sure you remove their food the night before that way their intestines aren't full. Also make sure you don't nic the intestines when removing everything because well...that is a bad day...I like to tie up by the feet and drain the blood into a bucket for a little bit after beheading. It makes seeing what you're doing much easier without blood emptying out everywhere on the butchering table. I mix the blood with a water before I dump it out that way it absorbs into the ground faster. Otherwise it can take a few days to absorb if you dump undiluted blood and it smells bad fast. They have plucking salves that help with removing the feathers although I've never used them. You can use a homemade cone, but I prefer two large nails in a V on a board then you lay their head in-between. Also always use SHARP knives. It makes the process much faster when you're using sharp tools.

The leg problems you are mentioning are the result of a niacin deficiency which is very common in pekins and Jumbo's. If you decide to keep any of the pekins I would highly recommend buying Durvet's B complex from your local farm store and either giving it orally via syringe or injecting if you are comfortable with that.
 

humblehillsfarm

Crazy chicken lady
Mar 27, 2020
3,663
7,200
461
Southwestern Pennsylvania
My Coop
My Coop
Background: I got some Pekin Ducks from TCS. They were desperate to get rid of the 2 week old's, and gave me 6 for $2. I am now thinking they were Jumbos. They are 10 weeks old, Huge and are having issues with their legs.
We ended up with 2 girls and 4 boys, so we new the culling process would come, but now we have a male that hurt both his legs, (I have to move him around all day to food, water, follow his siblings and in and out of the coop) and a male who cant stand upright and has these tiny legs he drags his chest when he walks...
They are on Duck feed, have constant access to clean water, 2 waterers, 2 kiddie pools and a large dog pool...They have a house with a large door and large, slow inclining ramp to the slightly off the ground door, they have and they free range around my yard all day. I have given them the best life I can, they are just simply too big for their own good...

Questions:
Not sure if I should cull them all (the 6 pekins), or maybe just keep the healthy female? I have 6 other ducks, 5 weeks old {Silver Appleyard (M+F), Blue Swedish (F), Rouen (F), Cayuga (F), and Welsh Harlquen (F)}... They all get along so well... But they are split into 2 clicks for the most part throughout the day and I would hate to leave that one female pekin alone...

They will be saved for meat, and I will have to do it all by hand, I have watched many videos and read the process several times but have never actually done it. I will have some large pots of boiling water... I have a 5 gallon bucket and planned to make a cone type deal as I refuse to spend $45 on the ones they sell... Would like to use as much of the bird as possible.. Even the feathers for a purpose. Anyone have tips or advice on how they use the whole bird? Or a must have tip for the slaughtering process?

Any Advice for a first time? It will be sad, not doubt... But they will feed my family and I started this journey with that purpose in mind anyways, and with the injuries, it seems worse to keep them alive at this point anyways.

Thanks in advance!
Sounds like you've planned things pretty well. Will you have help though? Six is a lot for one person the first time. Also, if you have a fold out table you can use for plucking and processing outside, it makes things so much easier. I keep a knife sharpener handy and sharpen before processing each bird. I know chicken feet can be peeled and used for yummy stock, no idea about duck feet. I haven't found a good way to save feathers that seems worthwhile except to toss them in the compost. If they healthy female seems to be doing well, and you want to keep her, I don't see any harm in it although I am not familiar when meat ducks.
 

atucker

Chirping
Jun 22, 2021
53
96
86
I don't like to waste so all bones and organs get used to make bone broth (I cook the bones down to the point they turn to mush). I strain the bone broth when I'm done and anything that is left in the strainer gets fed to the dogs. Feathers I wash and save some for my wreaths/bouquets and the rest go to a cousin who uses them to make fishing flies (mainly down feathers). The heads go to a friend who trains hunting dogs.

Make sure you remove their food the night before that way their intestines aren't full. Also make sure you don't nic the intestines when removing everything because well...that is a bad day...I like to tie up by the feet and drain the blood into a bucket for a little bit after beheading. It makes seeing what you're doing much easier without blood emptying out everywhere on the butchering table. I mix the blood with a water before I dump it out that way it absorbs into the ground faster. Otherwise it can take a few days to absorb if you dump undiluted blood and it smells bad fast. They have plucking salves that help with removing the feathers although I've never used them. You can use a homemade cone, but I prefer two large nails in a V on a board then you lay their head in-between. Also always use SHARP knives. It makes the process much faster when you're using sharp tools.

The leg problems you are mentioning are the result of a niacin deficiency which is very common in pekins and Jumbo's. If you decide to keep any of the pekins I would highly recommend buying Durvet's B complex from your local farm store and either giving it orally via syringe or injecting if you are comfortable with that.
Thank you so much, this is great advice!!
I will look into Durvet's B complex as well. I have read about that, but thought that because they are on purinas duck feed, it would supply what they needed. I switched them from chickstarter a few days after I got them for fear of this. Knowledge is power, thank you!
 

JacinLarkwell

Crossing the Road
Mar 19, 2020
16,080
33,066
861
South-Eastern Montana
Ducks are incredibly hard to pluck when they aren't going through a molt, even if you scald them. But they're white so if you miss a feather or two, you won't notice like you would on a black bird.

And meat ducks are not quite as terminal as meat chickens. If you give then enough niacin and small steps to get in and out of their home, they'll usually do decent
 

atucker

Chirping
Jun 22, 2021
53
96
86
Sounds like you've planned things pretty well. Will you have help though? Six is a lot for one person the first time. Also, if you have a fold out table you can use for plucking and processing outside, it makes things so much easier. I keep a knife sharpener handy and sharpen before processing each bird. I know chicken feet can be peeled and used for yummy stock, no idea about duck feet. I haven't found a good way to save feathers that seems worthwhile except to toss them in the compost. If they healthy female seems to be doing well, and you want to keep her, I don't see any harm in it although I am not familiar when meat ducks.
I have a friend from Jamaica who loves to eat chicken feet. I should ask him about duck feet, good point! between, meat, broth, compost, feathers for fish lure and decorations and the dog hopefully I can use each piece! I will keep a knife sharpener handy too, that is good advice. My husband will be here... he is not sure how he feels about it, but I am sure he will join in after the first one.
 

atucker

Chirping
Jun 22, 2021
53
96
86
Ducks are incredibly hard to pluck when they aren't going through a molt, even if you scald them. But they're white so if you miss a feather or two, you won't notice like you would on a black bird.

And meat ducks are not quite as terminal as meat chickens. If you give then enough niacin and small steps to get in and out of their home, they'll usually do decent
interesting about the feed, but makes since!
I think I might have lucked out with the molt as I am seeing little white feathers everywhere I assumed that ment molting for them? They tend to run as a giant blob and push eachother over, and I think that is how the first broken leg must have happened, it was up high and he managed, until he didnt... now he uses his wings to move, its so sad. So I move him around all day to where he needs to be.
 

JacinLarkwell

Crossing the Road
Mar 19, 2020
16,080
33,066
861
South-Eastern Montana
interesting about the feed, but makes since!
I think I might have lucked out with the molt as I am seeing little white feathers everywhere I assumed that ment molting for them? They tend to run as a giant blob and push eachother over, and I think that is how the first broken leg must have happened, it was up high and he managed, until he didnt... now he uses his wings to move, its so sad. So I move him around all day to where he needs to be.
The ones with leg problems would be my first ones to go
 

atucker

Chirping
Jun 22, 2021
53
96
86
The ones with leg problems would be my first ones to go
Yes that is the plan, I have 4 drakes and 2 females. My other group of 6 already has a drake too. So the ratios were off anyways. The broken leg is a male. But I figure rather then do one at a time, mine as well just get the whole system going once and be done with it for the year. Snow is coming!
 

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