Processing ducks different from chickens?

happydog

Songster
10 Years
Nov 22, 2009
232
3
111
Western NC
I'm going to be butchering the last of my meaties today. Then I'd like to try a couple of ducks while I'm all set up. Is there anything different about them, anatomically, from chickens that I should know? They're 5 month old Anconas.

From reading on here I'm going to: scald at a higher temp, 150 I believe I read, and then wrap them in newspapers to help loosen the feathers before plucking. I have a flat plucker machine on loan from the extension service.

Anything else I need to know about butchering ducks? Thanks!
 

happydog

Songster
10 Years
Nov 22, 2009
232
3
111
Western NC
Is there any reason I can't skin them? I've killed two and scalded them. They're harder to scald because they're water repellent and they keep bobbing to the surface. They're wrapped up now, and I'll try running them over the plucker. Ick, they're harder to do than the chickens.
 

mommyofthree

Songster
9 Years
May 18, 2010
259
12
111
We've processed lots of ducks lately and they are almost impossible to pluck, a couple of our indian runners plucked really well but the other breeds we tried were so hard!! We gave up plucking and just started skinning them, it's really easy and a lot less hassle. Chickens are sooo much easier to process!!
 

GBov

Songster
10 Years
Apr 3, 2009
617
8
154
Ducks are MUCH harder to do than chickens! Soap in the scald water will help the water get all teh way in to the skin.

I have scalded and also dry plucked ducks.

Scalding is better lol.

But if you dont like crispy duck skin ( we do) just skin that sucker!
 

Bossroo

Songster
11 Years
Jun 15, 2008
1,450
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When one skins any type of poultry one looses most of the flavor as well as moisture when cooking. Use some liquid dish depergent in the scald water that is about `65-170 degrees and swish the carcass rather rigorously. That should help tremendously in loosening the feathers.
 

bargain

Love God, Hubby & farm
11 Years
Apr 13, 2008
8,372
421
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Bowdon, GA
I've tried Dawn and it works well with the ducks. Be sure to rinse well with water before running the plucker. A chore I have for late fall as well!
 

homesteadapps

Songster
9 Years
Nov 8, 2010
257
10
111
Ohio
Scald the ducks at about 160 to 170 for about a minute and wrap in newspaper for 10 minutes afterwards. Feathers will pull out easily --even the down
 

happydog

Songster
10 Years
Nov 22, 2009
232
3
111
Western NC
Man, I wish I'd asked this last night instead of today. It was awful! Starting with the bleeding. They seemed to bleed out slower than the chickens and it seemed like forever they just held their heads up, dripping blood and looking at me like, "Mom - whatcha doin'?" They didn't fit as well in the cones as the big fat chickens. I had to hold them a long time.

Then the scalding. I had a big bottle of Dawn sitting right there, I wish I'd thought to add a squirt. They rigored up really fast and were a lot harder to dunk and swish than the chickens. They were bouyant and wouldn't sink or waterlog. I don't even think all the down got wet. I didn't have any newspaper so I rolled them up in a big dog food bag to sit for a few minutes.

Then I passed them back and forth on the plucker. (It's the box type where the fingers rotate and you hold the bird. I really want to get a drum plucker.) The breast plucked ok but some of the skin tore. I had a hard time pulling the wings out for plucking because they were so stiff. I cut off the head, feet, and half the wings and hand plucked the rest. Actually the plucking wasn't too bad, I think the newspaper thing really helped.

I had a hard time with the evisceration. The inner membranes seemed tighter and instead of the obvious oil gland on the tail it looked like two yellow balls. I ended up cutting off the whole tail piece with the innards. I tore some pieces that leaked ick. Had a hard time pulling out the lungs and the two "pipes."

When I finished I had a very small carcass with not much meat on it. At least compared to the Cornish Xs. The ducks are totally free ranged. I tried penning the extra drakes in with the Cornish chicks so they could share their feed, but they hated being with the chicks and went on a hunger strike and spent all their time calling to their homies, so I let them out after two days. Next year I will pen the extra drakes separately somewhere else and fatten them up.

I processed the last 3 Cornish Xs and 6 ducks all by myself today. This was my first time butchering. I'm bone tired, but I'm so pleased with myself that I did it. Even if it wasn't perfect. I want to get a t shirt that says - I Slay Chickens, What's Your Superpower?
 

GBov

Songster
10 Years
Apr 3, 2009
617
8
154
Quote:I LOVE IT!!! Can I get one to?

On the butchering front, well done! My first time with ducks I only had a small pot so was trying to scald them one half at a time. You can guess how well THAT went lol.

Ducks are lots of work but OMG they are soooooo tasty! And the skin gets so crisp and juicy that its tantamount to a sin to throw it away. So dont compare them to your cornish x, just compare them to the last supermarket duck you ate.

Betcha they taste better!
 

Beekissed

Free Ranging
12 Years
Feb 14, 2008
22,974
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This world is not my home.
Ducks are easier to pluck if you pluck the softer, downier feathers first while dry....they will come off in handsful~think dry plucking of down. Once you've broken up their feather coverage a little it's much easier to get a good scald down to the skin and follicles. Cutting the wings off at the elbow helps you keep from having to pluck the wing feathers, which are always a pain. I'd also cut off the tail as you remove the oil gland and this will keep you from having to pluck the larger tail feathers.
 

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