when do they get to roasting size?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by secretquail, Jul 22, 2010.

  1. secretquail

    secretquail Songster

    Apr 11, 2010
    Chapel Hill
    I have 17 appleyard eggs 11 days into the incubation. I only ordered 8, and if they all hatch, I'm going to be overrun! I have some homes for a few of them, but I'm thinking about keeping the rest. I Only want to permanently keep about 2-3 of them, and send the rest to freezer camp when the time is right. Question is, when is the time right? How many months does it take for a duck to reach full stature? Could I have a nice Christmas duck?
  2. duckyfromoz

    duckyfromoz Quackaholic

    Jan 11, 2010
    You may have more luck getting a reply to this post in the Meat birds ETC area of the forum as the large majority of people posting or reading here keep ducks as pets for pleasure rather than eating.
  3. treldib

    treldib Songster

    Jul 5, 2010
    Southern California
  4. callducklover20

    callducklover20 Songster

    May 5, 2010
    Bonner Springs, KS
    Never lol;), oh but I will eat it when its served if I didnt know the duck, same with all the other critters
  5. honeydoll

    honeydoll Songster

    Jul 14, 2009
    Stark County, NE Ohio
    I have read 7 wks or 12 wks are the optimum processing ages because they are easier to pluck. Not sure why those ages are key though. Also I am not sure if certain breeds are different.
  6. chickboss

    chickboss Songster

    Mar 23, 2010
    Quote:I'm pretty sure I read 10 or 15 weeks, I can check if need be. The ages are key because of the timing between molts. You can process them at any time, but it is much harder to pluck them while molting because of all the pin feathers coming in. Storey's guide, if you have it, has all that information.
  7. honeydoll

    honeydoll Songster

    Jul 14, 2009
    Stark County, NE Ohio
    Quote:10-15 wks. I'll have to get Stoney's guide, sounds helpful. I am getting into ducks now so I still have alot to learn as well. That makes more sense than 7wks. that sounded kind of young to me.
  8. iamcuriositycat

    iamcuriositycat Songster

    Jul 30, 2009
    Charlotte, NC
    If you're getting into ducks, Storey's Guide (by Dave Holderread) is absolutely the resource to have. He has an entire chapter on butchering, including ages, how to do it, how to raise the birds for that purpose, and so on. Very very helpful.

    Here is his paragraph on age:

    "Depending on the breed and management, ducklings are normally in full feather for only 5 to 10 days sometime between the age of 7 to 10 weeks, except Muscovies, which require 14 to 16 weeks to feather out. Shortly after achieving full feather, young ducks go into a molt and begin replacing their juvenile garb with adult plumage. If ducklings are not dressed before this molt commences, butchering is best delayed for 6 to 10 weeks when their adult plumage will have been acquired." (Holderread, page 227)

    That would put the *second* butchering age at between 13 and 20 weeks, whenever they complete their molt; or they can be butchered between 7 and 10 weeks if you catch them before the molt.

    Enjoy. I wish I had the heart to butcher--duck is yummy--but I can't stand to eat those sweet little guys. I love them so much, even the drakes that I have too many of!
  9. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

    Jun 1, 2009
    • (I) Broiler duckling or fryer duckling.
    A broiler duckling or fryer duckling is a young duck (usually under 8 weeks of
    age), of either sex, that is tender-meated and has a soft bill and soft windpipe.

    • (II) Roaster duckling.
    A roaster duckling is a young duck (usually
    under 16 weeks of age), of either sex, that is tender-meated and has a
    bill that is not completely hardened and a windpipe that is easily

    • (III) Mature duck or old duck.
    A mature duck or an old duck is a
    duck (usually over 6 months of age), of either sex, with toughened
    flesh, hardened bill, and hardened windpipe.

    [Code of Federal Regulations]
    [Title 9, Volume 2]
    [Revised as of January 1, 2003]
    From the U.S. Government Printing Office via GPO Access
    [CITE: 9CFR381.170]
    [Page 510-512]

  10. secretquail

    secretquail Songster

    Apr 11, 2010
    Chapel Hill
    WOW! Thanks for all the imput! I have to get the Storey's guide.

    If it were only me hatching the ducks, they would be only pets. My DH is a hunter, and has no problem providing meat for the fam. We feel even better about raising our own. We know that the life they live, however short, is about a zillion times better that any chicken factory CAFO. If DH was not up for it, we wouldn't have started this adventure, but now the kids are learning where their food comes from. This has been valuable. We are teaching them healthy eating/healthy environmentalism. ...and, duck is fabulous!

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