Tips for Duck Plucking?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by maryhysong, Jan 22, 2013.

  1. maryhysong

    maryhysong Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 24, 2012
    Claypool, Arizona
    I have both Muscovy and Welsh Harlequin/runner ducks. I have been having trouble plucking the Muscovys (haven't done the runners yet, they are scheduled for next weekend). I tried some dry plucking and tore the skin. Tried to dunk them (140-145 degree water with a little dish soap), still couldn't get the feathers out and tore the skin.

    the feathers seemed a bit dry next to the skin, am I just not leaving them long enough to get really wet? But the skin slipped on the feet.....
  2. Spifflove

    Spifflove Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 13, 2012
    Im just a beginner like you but what I do is spend about 15 minutes plucking most of the feathers. I reach around the hanging bird and use both hands in a picking motion. Then I remove the limbs at the elbow and knee, the neck leaving a skin flap, and clean the guts.

    I freeze the carcass with some feathers on it, and then I dunk it still frozen in boiling water for at least five minutes. Then I pick the rest out. I allow it to defrost and sit in the fridge a day (to end rigor mortis) and cook.

    This is the way I invented. I know this is not the best way and am interested in what a true expert would say.

    I don't have any tearing problems any more than any other duck. I plucked one WH and the feathers came out especially easy.
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2013
  3. jdywntr

    jdywntr Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 31, 2009
    Somerville, AL
    I've only plucked one. I usually skin them because I don't have a good setup outside for plucking and don't want to do it inside again. SMELLY!

    Your scalding temps are okay (125-145 recommended) but they need 1-3 minutes in the water, the older birds require the longer time. Make sure you have a good squirt of dish soap, it helps to get through the oil on the feathers. If the skin was ripping after scalding, they may have been over scalded or not left in long enough. You really need to swoosh them around to penetrate the down. You can try dry plucking a few spots around the duck to allow better water penitration. Pluck the big feathers (wing and tail) first. If you have to redunk, redunk. I did.

    I've tried dry plucking a goose lasted about 5 minutes then I skinned it (I have no patience and the skin was ripping). I will probably try plucking some of mine once the ducklings grow out but with the way I usually cook the meat, I don't miss the skin anyway. But it would be nice to have a nice looking roast duck. I've been out of muscovy meat for a few months now after having to move. I can't wait! [​IMG]
  4. Arielle

    Arielle Chicken Obsessed

    Feb 19, 2011
    Massachusetts, USA
    I dressed 6 geese 2 years ago--- and it was a memorable day!!! A long day and dressing progressed from ok to bad. My take away was(1) to have all materials hot ready, (2) fresh kill dress out faster and cleaner = gut only after last bird has had the feathers removed (3) remove primaries first. Waterfowl are not my favorite to dress. lol

    I usually only do chickens now-- I use hotter water to start = start with nearly boiling. Even on my chickens if I don't get the water right down to the skin the feathers do not come out. I like to be able to swish the carcass in the hot water to get it between the feathers. I put the bird back in if an area is not plucking well, or if it looks dry. I usually can do three chickens before the water is too cool to be effective in removing the feathers.

    I do think, IMO, some birds seem to tear more easily than others.
  5. Life is Good!

    Life is Good! Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 14, 2011
    suburbia Chicagoland
    My friend who field dresses ducks waxes 'em. Try searching on here for that technique. I've heard from him that it was very successful - but the primary and tail feathers were 'awful'. He won't take more ducks than he can pluck!
  6. LukensFarms

    LukensFarms Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 5, 2013
    Fort Collins, CO
    I skin them. Otherwise they are too oily when they are cooked.
  7. maryhysong

    maryhysong Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 24, 2012
    Claypool, Arizona
    Thank you for all your suggestions. I think part of my problem is my pot is not really big enough for the Muscovy drakes I've tried doing, so looking for a larger one, or may even buy one of those special scalders. I've ended up skinning all the Muscovy. Partly because most of them still had blood feathers and I didn't want to deal with them.

    I am doing a couple runners this weekend if it doesn't rain; They should fit into the pot OK
  8. aa3655

    aa3655 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 2, 2011
    Hi, we keep kosher and raise our own.. Kosher slaughter laws prohibit dunking the birds in hot water. I used to spend at least an hour on a large duck until I discovered by accident that if you hang the carcass for about 2hrs, it makes the job a lot easier. The feathers still don't exactly fall out, but they let go much more easily.
  9. jdywntr

    jdywntr Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 31, 2009
    Somerville, AL
    Interesting. I may have to try this. Does it matter what the temps are outside?
  10. sunnyfishy

    sunnyfishy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 15, 2014
    I'm nervous about doing this after I get home from work. How easily should I expect feathers to come loose? Is there any particular motion that works best :|

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