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Processing Ducks

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Simon, Dec 3, 2010.

  1. Simon

    Simon New Egg

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    What is the best age to process ducks. We did some on Monday and let me tell you it took 8 hours to do 61 ducks with 4 guys. I have a commercial drum plucker and a commercial scalder. Put soap in the water and the temp was at 147. The ducks were Peking and 8 weeks and 2 days old. Is there a better age and water temp?

    Simon
     
  2. Omniskies

    Omniskies Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Between 8-10 weeks is fine for ducks. The easiest way to process them is to get most of it off with a plucker, then dip them in a vat of wax as if you're making a duck candle. Dunk them a half dozen times (hot wax, then in cold water to firm up, then hot wax again, cold water, etc). On the last dunking, let it sit in the cool water for a few seconds to completely harden, then peel all of the wax off.

    Wax will get off that pesky down that makes processing waterfowl such a hassle. Once you are done with the wax heat it up again, pour it through a strainer to get out the bits of down, then let it cool and harden again. You can reuse wax as often as you like.

    Large blocks of paraffin wax can be bought at craft stores like Hobby Lobby. You want a minimum 5lbs (I want to say ours is a 10lb block that we use).
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. duckfat

    duckfat Out Of The Brooder

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    Do not use paraffin, but a true commercial duck wax. Furthermore, direct this post over to the meat birds section. This is more the pet duck area of the forum.
     
  4. tlb796

    tlb796 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Keep the post here! We don't all think of our ducks as fluffy little pets!
     
  5. jack & mommy's duckies

    jack & mommy's duckies Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I used hotter water...I go about 155-158...and I rub my hands on them like I"m lathering soap...the down comes off easy. And I also use a small hand held torch thing to singe off the last bits that you can't get.
     
  6. Simon

    Simon New Egg

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    Omniskies:
    I called the place where I get the ducks and they say the best age is 7 weeks, that is before the belly feathers start or after 12 weeks, when they are in. They did say they are not fun to process. Guess that is why they cost so much. I do know that they are very hardy, they just don't die like other birds.
    Thanks
    Simon
     
  7. Omniskies

    Omniskies Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've never had a problem with paraffin wax. Where can you get duck wax? What exactly -is- duck wax?

    I've heard varying ages for processing ducks. What it boils down to is what the feathers look like under the wing. Do you see a bunch of pinfeathers? Wait a week. Are the feathers grown? Have at.

    I've never heard of butchering after 12 weeks, and personally wouldn't bother unless the birds were going through a molt. Adults are a complete hassle to dress out.

    With that being said, I'm talking about fast growing Pekins. Obviously slower growing birds would be fine to dress out at a later time, though not much later.

    As for the hassle - don't make it into one. Get someone to help you and make a double-task of the job. Collect as much down as you possibly can to use in quilts, pillows, coats, and everything else. Down can be dry plucked before you put them in hot water and wax them. Yes, it will take longer, but you will be getting more out of each bird than you otherwise would have. If you don't want the down find someone who would appreciate it and give it away for Christmas or birthdays in small bags. If you want to be paid for your efforts, sell the down.

    I know it's not for everyone, but we have a firm "waste not, want not" mentality when we butcher. If it can be used then we will use it. When you spend so long raising and processing an animal you want to get the most out of it. I've dried skulls and sold them to reptile owners as terrarium decorations, kept down and small feathers for pillows, peeled the feet for stock, the wings/wing feathers for crafts, etc. The goal is to make the compost pile as small as possible.
     
  8. duckfat

    duckfat Out Of The Brooder

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    Duck wax contains special additives such as adhesives. It is also very flexible, and not as brittle as paraffin. It can be found here, for example:

    http://www.shopblendedwaxes.com/
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2010
  9. FarmerRob

    FarmerRob Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Since when are you a moderator?

    And WHY would anyone make a pet out of food???

    Might as well have some pet potatoes and onions?
     
  10. Cindiloohoo

    Cindiloohoo Quiet as a Church Mouse

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    Quote:You owe me a soda [​IMG] [​IMG]


    I do agree some folks are sensitive in this section, but the title plainly states PROCESSING, so the sensitive ones shouldn't open it. No worries OP [​IMG]
     

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