Plucking ducks

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by iajewel, Nov 24, 2011.

  1. iajewel

    iajewel Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 22, 2008
    Corning IA
    We are having duck for Thanksgiving and although I have learned allot about plucking a duck, it still takes way to long. Does anyone know a way to get it plucked and table ready with in less then an hour?
     
  2. jdywntr

    jdywntr Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,215
    143
    243
    Oct 31, 2009
    Somerville, AL
    If you have a plucker that would be the quickest way. If not plucking by hand will depend on your experience level. So, scald, pluck, eviserate.

    Have you slaughtered it yet? From everything I have read, you really want it to rest so rigor passes.
     
  3. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

    70,475
    6,479
    721
    Oct 3, 2009
    Western N.C.
    Quote:Darn i was hoping for some tips from you on how to do it, we're going into this venture next year. [​IMG] happy Thanksgiving!
     
  4. iajewel

    iajewel Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 22, 2008
    Corning IA
    I don't think a plucker.. In my opinion does a good job. I also don't let it "rest" a while as riggor doesn't pass, not until it gets pretty rotten.

    What I do is add some dish liquid to some really hot boiling water and fill a large plastic bucket with the water just before dunking the duck. Then I wait until all the air bubbles come up and really slosh the duck up and down a bit.
    That takes off all the long feathers, however you are then left with allot of down. I dunk the bird again in hot.. just not as hot water. Don't want to cook the skin this time around. And get as much of that down off as possible. That down is what gets me. I have found that rubbing the skin with my thumb gets more of the tiny little down feathers then anything but my hands get tired.
    I was hoping someone knew of a glove that was "tacky" of sorts that would grip those little feathers. I have found that once I get to that point, letting the bird dry not only lets my hands rest, but the feathers rub off better when the bird is dry. Again.. was hoping for a tacky sort of glove.

    When I have seen them done with the plucker the down isn't really removed well and the long "hairs" like what you get on a chicken as well, they are not removed. You still have to clean your duck. The hot water is great and my friend uses parifan to get the down off. I really don't want to keep wax baths around. You have to do that out side and its not always practical to build a fire, and buying that much wax is insane. Normally Im not doing 50 birds, Im doing one. Again making the wax bath not practical.

    So, was hoping for tips and tricks.
     
  5. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

    70,475
    6,479
    721
    Oct 3, 2009
    Western N.C.
    Quote:How old are your ducks when you process? do you have that "perfect age" where its not quite as hard. Seems I read somewhere around 12 weeks.
     
  6. iajewel

    iajewel Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 22, 2008
    Corning IA
    I don't have a perfect age. I may use a drake for a year or two and then for genetic reasons cull him from the flock. The bird we will have today is not by any means a duckling. You just have to adjust cook times is all. They are still very good older. I do on occasion butcher younger birds, however I find that down is down. You simply won't avoid it.
    I do think that if they are in molt it totally sucks. I would highly recommend never butchering anything in molt. You have all sorts of feathers doing all these weird things and you need pliers to get pen feathers out etc. Not worth it.
    I might add that if you have a breeding program you will end up holding drakes for a year to see how they develop and then what they produce. If you don't like how they developed or what they produce, by then they are 2yrs, so .. you do end up needing to cull. I don't eat my best birds, I eat my worst ones. The ones that don't grow right, or as large, the ones that just don't fit in etc. My freezer is how I keep a functional breeding program.
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2011
  7. jerryb

    jerryb Chillin' With My Peeps

    128
    2
    80
    Oct 7, 2011
    Southern Michigan
    I used to duck hunt a lot and the guys who got me started showed me how to process the ducks. we dunked and pulled the long feather and the pins then we used a propane torch to singe the down feathers, clean out the innards and into the freezer.

    I later learned that skinning was much easier and faster and since I generally did not roast ducks I just went to skinning.

    good luck
    Jerry
     
  8. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Overrun With Chickens

    5,532
    187
    273
    Apr 14, 2011
    Central Oregon
    It shouldn't take an hour to pluck a duck.

    Use a hot scald, scald longer than a chicken. 75 seconds. I use a timer. Put some dish soap in the water, and use a long handled kitchen tool (spatula or cooking spoon) to push the feathers up to let the water get down to the skin.

    If you've killed the duck at a time that there are lots of pin feathers, the best solution to pins is to use duck wax. To hand pull pin feathers, I use a set of hemostats.
     
  9. iajewel

    iajewel Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 22, 2008
    Corning IA
    Quote:I hand pick the feathers, its the down that gives me the head ache.
     
  10. jdywntr

    jdywntr Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,215
    143
    243
    Oct 31, 2009
    Somerville, AL
    I processed my first muscovy on Sunday for dinner today. I hand plucked. I had a pair of gloves that I never used from a chemistry course I took in college. (think really good quality dishwashing gloves) They helped get the down off by rubbing on the skin. I left the bird in the fridge until today (brined for 24 hours and uncovered to dry until today) and this morning I cleaned it up a bit more. I halved it and roasted it at 450 degrees for 30 minutes. There was a bit of down left when it went in but it burned off and was not noticeable.

    I have to say that there was a difference in rigor. When it first went into the fridge (Sunday afternoon), it was stiff as a board. At first I couldn't move the legs at all but about 12 hours later they were movable.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by