|My six original Muscovies|
I read that Muscovies are quite prolific and this turned out to be true - we ended up with 28 ducklings this past summer. That plus the six adults was a total of 34 ducks, way too many! Craigslist was flooded with pages and pages of Muscovies for sale, so I decided the prudent thing was to simply give a bunch of them away. Thoughts of overcrowding and higher feed bills made this idea worth it. I found a new home for my team moms and their 17 ducklings. Even so once the ducklings grew up and we still had too many ducks. I told Dan I thought the one drake and one duck would be plenty. We decided to harvest the rest for meat.
For our first go-round we pretty much treated them like chickens. I'd read that the down was a bit of a job to pluck, but I kinda figured it would be like pin feathers on a chicken - WRONG! After several hours of trying to get my first duck plucked clean, I suggested to Dan that we simply do the best we could and then discard the skin after roasting. This turned out to work pretty well, although said duck is very far from aesthetic both going into or coming out of the oven.
For our most recent batch, I found a video on how to use paraffin wax to pluck ducks. This looked a whole lot easier, so I bought a couple of large blocks of paraffin to give this technique a try.
|Video presenter recommended about a pound of wax for each large duck.|
|The wax is melted in a large pot of water. The wax floats on top.|
|The duck is rough plucked leaving the down on the bird.|
|First it's dunked in the hot wax, and then dunked into a second bucket of|
cold water. The cold solidifies the wax, which is then broken or cracked.
|The wax is peeled away, down and all. Definitely easier than hand pulling.|
It was a learning experience, so I can't say that they all turned out as neat and pretty as in the photo above. Still, they looked better than our first batch.
Another option would be a mechanical chicken plucker. We don't have one, but Mama and Papa Pea recently processed some of their ducks with one. You can read all about that on Mama Pea's post here.
Dan also watched a video about simply removing the breast meat and that's it. Breast is the main thing most people eat from duck, although there is good leg meat as well. Not much on the backs. Ordinarily I would want the bones and fat, but he really wanted to try this so I said, "why not?" He got the breasts, legs, and neck for soup.
|Muscovy breast meat is dark and red meat flavored.|
When we first got our Muscovies folks told me the meat tasted like good beef. Well, I didn't believe that anymore than I believe that so many things taste like chicken. But do you know what? It's true. Muscovy meat is very unduck like and truly more like beef.
So our freezer is full of duck and we now have only three in the yard. That should be more than enough.
Learning How To Pluck a Duck © February 2017