Tina Paxton wrote:
1) I know that muscovy meat is delicious and it is a favorite with gourmet chefs. But, after trying to dispatch by myself, I have concluded they are not a duck for a lone person to dispatch. I
Burra Maluca wrote:
This is my set up for single-handed dispatch of muscovies.
I have a small hand-axe, chosen so that it is very sharp, sturdy, and of a size that I can easily manage it with one hand.
I have a block of oak, cut along the grain so that it doesn't split.
I have a piece of baler-twine tied around the base of that tree with a 'noose' tied in the end to place around the neck of the bird so that the head is held in the correct position - they tend to lift their heads up and stare lovingly at you as you swing the axe. This is not only off-putting but means that it's impossible to do the job with one clean swipe. When I fist started I'd also put a sock over their head as I found the eyes were too distracting and I like to do the job with one clean swipe before they've figured out that their heads are restrained. These days I just get on with it as putting the sock on was by far the worst part of the operation from the duck's point of view. After the head is off, I hand them from the tree while I dispose of the head and clean the axe.
I manage that single handed as a not-very-strong middle aged female. It helps if the ducks are used to being handled and think you are just cuddling them, and you need to carry them in such a way that they don't scrabble around and claw you - their claws are very sharp!
As for numbers, we keep one breeding drake plus a spare, penned separately 'just in case'. As soon as the young drakes are big enough we start to dispatch them for the freezer. Keeping too many drakes around does eventually result in endless fighting.
Amy Woodhouse wrote:Muscovy meat is amazing and I would stick with them. Pekin is more common and hard to get a premium price for. You could find a niche market for the Muscovy meat. We butchered about 50 last year for personal consumption. If you are going to sell eggs Khaki Cambells are the way to go. 5 dollars a dozen is cheap for organic or free range duck eggs though. You are producing a premium product, don't sell at commodity prices. Whole foods is getting $7 for pasture raised chicken eggs and they don't compare to duck eggs. I know people that get a dollar an egg for duck eggs. As far as making money, its tough on a half acre because you don't have enough forage for a lot of ducks (as you stated) so you are going to have to supplement a fair amount of food. Do the math with the feed before you jump into this and make sure it pencils out as your the only one who knows the feeding habits of ducks on your property. Good Luck!
Kris schulenburg wrote:on You-Tube, Kelly Klober mentioned ethnic markets loved muscovy's, might be an avenue to try
Tina Paxton wrote:
Okay, so you have the noose for restraining the head...how do you restrain the feet? If I'm understanding your description correctly, you are not putting them in the cone until after you chop their head off, correct?
Yes, having them look at you while you are about to kill them is very disconcerting. But, what bothered me the most in the way I did it was that it took several minutes for them to bleed out (I cut the juggler) and so it was several minutes of watching them gasp and look at me for help. So, yes, I definitely need to be able to quickly chop their neck in two so neither they nor I suffer. Your system seems like a good one...all I need now is to figure out how you deal with the back end of the duck after putting the head in the noose. ...are you holding the feet..which is why you swing one-handed with the axe?
Burra Maluca wrote:
Yes - I'm holding the feet in the other hand. I basically cradle the duck in my arms, pop the noose over (not tight), take the feet gently in my left hand, lay the duck down on the block of wood in as close as I can get to the right place, hold the feet out to one side enough so that the neck is in the right place and at the right angle then take the head off with one clean swipe if at all possible.
The cone is for chickens - I should have taken it down before taking that photo. I did try cutting the jugular on a duck once but it took forever to bleed out and I really, really didn't like it. One swipe with the axe is much better.