My friend Jen and I went to the WSU Extension's "Winter Classes." I was most interested in taking the "processing poultry" class. It actually ended up being the only really useful class that we took all day, but it was VERY useful for me. I was totally unsure as to whether I'd be able to handle the whole processing portion of growing our own ducks if we decided to keep any for meat. First - they had alpacas and llamas! When we arrived at the class, I was both relieved and dismayed to find that there were actual live animals that we'd need to slaughter. I was kind of hoping/worried that we'd only have dead chickens to pluck/clean. It ended up being 4 hens and 3 drakes that had a date with the freezer. So we slaughtered the birds by placing them in the cones and cutting their throats. Then we scalded them in some water with a little detergent and tossed them into the plucker! The liquid was a little too hot, so we ended up needing to finish up the duck plucking by hand. Then we learned how to properly eviscerate a chicken/duck, including removing its head and feet with pruning shears. We got to see the yolks of eggs that the hens had developing inside of them. All of those little yellow balls are yolks. And here they are chilling in a salted ice bath. Overall, I have no problem with the scalding, plucking and eviscerating, but the actual slitting of the throat thing makes me a little nervous, and I think that I would have some serious trouble doing it to an animal that I had raised from a duckling. If someone were to help out with the slitting, I'd be happy to handle the rest of it.