Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Butchering the Ducks *Caution: Graphic Pictures*

So we did it! The weekend of the 18th we slaughtered the ducks. We did not save any, quite frankly they are gross and I didn't want to deal with their mess any longer. Selfish as that sounds, that's farming. Animals are not pets in the barn. Our ducks had a good life with pool time and food and fresh grass but they were intended for food. So anyway, I will get on with the post!

Below is the first duck that went. I guess I will explain how we did the killing seeing as most people are concerned with how 'humane' you do it. We thought it out carefully and decided that a good old fashioned stump chopping block and a very sharp machete were the way to go. After I retrieved a duck and brought it out of sight of the others Montana Man would quickly slip a small noose around the neck, I would gently let the duck down and he held its head up on the block and swung fast and hard. If you are wondering if the rope strangled the duck the answer is no. By the time I let the duck down it's head was already in striking position and it was really just to keep MM's other hand out of the way so he could swing hard without risk of chopping a finger off. It all happened in about 10 seconds.
As soon as the head was off it was my job to grab the now wildly flapping body and hold it upside down over a tub to let it bleed out properly. When it would "calm" we tied it by the feet up on a little stand and let it finish and relax.

By the time we got to the fourth duck to be dispatched, the first was ready to come down (there was only room for 3 on our stand) and we just kept going until all six were done. All this took about 20 minutes start to finish.

I did not take pictures of the plucking because ducks are hard to do by hand and I was on the clock to get them prepped and cooled down in a timely manner. I will say that I probably will send them to our local butcher next time or only do one or two in the same day because of the time it takes to pluck, even with proper scalding. It sucks. Gutting was the easy part, although stinky if you nick a bowel (I did it on only one). I would encourage anyone who has not butchered before to search out a more detailed blog post about it or get a book. I would try to explain but you really need pictures!

I did choose to vacuum seal my ducks and freeze all of them the next day. I borrowed a friend's vacuum sealer and bought bags (thank you friend!). Because we only raised 6 and ducks are kind of a long process to cook, they are for special occasions. I will be curious of the taste of homegrown though when the time comes!

There you have it! First animals we have raised for meat and many more to come.

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