OK, dressing that Muscovy was hard!

DStewart PDX

6 Years
May 25, 2013
Portland, Oregon
I knew it would be different than a chicken, but man, that took me forever! But, I am smarter now and will do better next time. The plucking! Good grief! Tried plucking dry like a gentleman showed in a video, and that down was not coming out. So I scalded the bird with hot, soapy water, and then the skin tore! Sigh... I ended up skinning it. :( Next time, I will use a thermometer for the scalding water, add more soap, and use a timer for scalding. And I swear that gizzard was as big as a hand grenade.
When we do ducks, we dry pluck to get most of the feathers off and then scald and finish the bird. It takes practice. Also the time of year is important as you do not want to try plucking a pinny bird!
You know, it wasn't the pin feathers that were hard. It was the down on the belly and breast. I was doing fine with the back and wings, and I got to the tummy, pulled, and nothing happened. LOL! Then I pulled harder and ripped the skin. I slowed down, grabbed fewer feathers, and actually tore the meat! Even skinning this guy was harder than I expected. It wasn't like a chicken where the skin is bound down in just a few places. It was bound down all over the place, and I had to use my knife a lot more. Even getting his innards out was harder with lots of tough, tough connective tissue. I've never needed anything but fingers to get organs out, and I needed my knife! And this guy was only 10 weeks. Plus he had this weird bone on his shoulder, like an extra little wing bone, but just on one side. Weird.
You know, I was just going to start a post on this particular issue. I harvested a couple birds early this year and I have never had so many issues dressing a bird! I have dressed domestic geese, ducks, chickens and turkeys and wild geese and ducks and the muscovy was a nightmare. I love my muscovies, they are great birds and super broody but it is getting to be that time again and I have several boys to put in the freezer before winter hits. The last time I tried cold plucking, scalding, everything...my hands were bloody before I finished and I ended up plucking only one fully and skinned the others which is a shame.

So, any advice?

- Kitty
Glad it's not just me, Kitty! :) Even skinning the muscovy was a chore compared to a chicken! A friend of mine told me today she would scald them in *boiling* water for 30 seconds, and then put them right into cold water to loosen the feathers. I plan to try that. Can't be worse than what I already tried.
I have 2 muscovies (male n female). Had no idea how big the males get, lots of meat. If I use the pair I have to breed to get some for eating, when or at what age do you know when their ready? Also, I don't want to do heat lamps and stuff if not necessary, will they reproduce and raise their lil ones on their own?
There's lots of threads on those questions, you might try a forum search. Briefly, the first recommended culling age is ten weeks. That was the age I took my first. A fine, tender specimen! You can certainly take them later, letting them get bigger. Muscovies are rumored to make excellent mothers who will brood and care for their chicks.

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