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My first time raising and eating duck

Posts: 594
Location: West Yorkshire, UK
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Through a series of events, we ended up with a mixed flock of three drakes and three ducks.  After a year of two drakes to two ducks, getting two more ducks, losing one, adding a duckling...we had too many drakes and they were being very hard on the ducks.  One in particular was Not Allowed to mate--the ducks would run away from him (as a contrast, they would do the head bobbing dance with the alpha before willingly mating), and if he could catch a duck, the alpha drake would jump on top of him to try and get him off (which was always completely ineffectual and our small duck would just be squashed underneath the both of them).  This drake would even have a go at us humans, and if disciplined by us would immediately go and take it out on that poor little duck.  Yeah.  This drake was a jerk, and the youngest drake was starting to follow in his footsteps.  The flock was not in harmony whatsoever.  

So I took the decision to kill and cook both the youngest and the meanest of these drakes.  I'd always planned on eating excess drakes from any we'd hatched anyway so when that cute little duckling our broody hen hatched turned out to be male, I decided to kill two birds with one stone so to speak, and solve the problem of the jerk at the same time.  

I've killed quite a few cockerels for eating over the years (and have put down a very badly injured hen too) by using the broomstick method.  It's quick and clean, but I'd read that duck legs aren't sturdy enough to make this reliable, and I accidently popped a joint out of a socket while plucking a dead drake, so I completely believe it.  Instead I got myself a sharp hatchet and did it the time honored way.  It was even quicker, though not quite so clean, but I had no qualms and got it done.

Previous to this, I'd bought myself some parafin wax--after watching duck hunting videos on youtube--so that plucking wasn't too much of a trial.  It still took a good amount of time as I had to roughly pluck the outer feathers first, then dunk the whole carcass in hot water with melted wax and let it harden, but afterwards it was just a case of peeling it all off easily and almost completely cleanly.  I used 500 g for the two large drakes, and I probably could have done another one or even two more with that amount of wax.

Finally, and again on the advice of the duck hunters, I aged the two carcasses in the fridge;  five days for the younger and a week for the older.  The younger duck was about four months old and the older was around three years old, but both turned out very tender and not at all stringy like some of the cockerels we've raised;  the husband joked that he knew that jerk was just a big softy all along.  The younger one was slow roasted to make crispy duck (so so tasty), and the older was made into confit (which sort of ended up like duck bacon?  not sure if that's what it's supposed to taste like, but it was great anyway).

That's my first experience of raising and eating my own duck and I would definitely do it again.  And the flock of four is now cohesive;  no one chases anyone else and everyone gets to hang out.

duckling with mama hen

grown up

crispy duck
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