I did my first ducks today with the help if a new friend who has done her own meat chickens and turkeys many times.
I forgot the dawn in he water for the first one. . Dipping it again cooked it partially so the skin ripped. The duck wax went well, but it was temperamental.
One we ended up skinning, and it was like skinning a deer; it didn't pull off like a chicken, but needed to be cut. My friends husband did that, and it took quite a bit of time.
Is there a better way?
Is there something we should do before dipping in the hot water?
Also, please share your most humane killing technique. We did the throat slit, like the chickens, but without the brain stab first. It was tough for the two of us to hold the duck down; they didnt fit in the cone. doing a brain stab did not seem like the wise thing to do with all the thrashing. (I did fillet my own finger when one jumped unexpectedly!) Cutting through the neck was almost impossible. I was horrified at how long it seemed to take. Even when we broke the neck it still seemed to take much longer than chickens. There must be a better, more humane way. After all, we do this because we want to do it right and take responsibility- for the animal from start to finish.
I've never butchered ducks so no advice except for the killing cone issue. I use a couple of 5 gal buckets with a hole cut in the bottom for big birds. Works great. I've also cut the corner out of a feed bag (not paper) to hold a bigger bird (bag nailed to board). It works, just not as good as the bucket.
We broomstick the birds.
It is extra important in Muscovies.
Breaking the neck that way 'releases' the feathers and cutting the neck tightens the skin down.
I have tried other ways in the past, but have never found anything as humane as breaking the neck. It is instant.
We dip the bird and them wrap it in an old towel to sit for a few minutes.
That lets the heat sink into the skin and makes the feathers pull easier. Huge difference!
And lots of washing liquid.
You have my sympathies, LOL. We have just began harvesting our ducks, and it took us all afternoon just to get two plucked. This autumn we have 5 geese and several turkeys to harvest, and we are dreading it. Chickens are so easy compared to ducks, and I imagine plucking those geese will be a nightmare. Sure makes a person realize how easy it is to just go to a store and buy one (hormones, antibiotics, and other poisons included free). Sitting at our kitchen table working on those ducks gave us time to do some dreaming about someday owning a plucking machine.
Queen of the double wide trailer (got rid of the polyester curtains but still have the redwood deck) on rural acreage in Illinois.
I tend to skin them as I'm after the breast meat mainly with what's left being cooked for sandwich meat. The breast meat goes into a food processer and becomes the base for either burgers or chili usually.