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Removing feathers from game birds  RSS feed

 
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Different recipes call for different ways of preparing game birds. Preparing them whole also yields a little more meat. One of the techniques of hunting that has been lost among many new and not so new hunters is the use of wax to remove feathers. Although this is more useful for waterfowl, which have down feathers, it is also used for other game birds that do not have down. For your convenience, there are links to purchase a few items needed. I hope this helpful or useful.
Waxing Birds- Ducks, Geese, and other birds
 
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Waxing is a good technique but it also is a two step process since you have to pluck the bird of all the main feathers prior to dunking in the wax.

I've always found it easier to just pluck my birds and save waxing for birds that I don't get plucked clean.

I'm a fly tyer so when I pluck a duck I separate the feathers by which use they will have at my tying bench.

 
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My Uncle, who was raised during The Depression, did a lot of shooting to supplement homegrown stuff, and died a couple of years ago at 93, was a cunning coot who taught some young local lads how to think laterally: they just shot a mixed bag of wild ducks and water hens and were neck deep in feathers.

Said 93 year old had already finished and had his share gutted and cut up ready for cooking. They asked how the hell did he manage to get it done so quick - he simply skinned the birds!
 
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Another technique that helps (usually) is to dip the birds in boiling water for about 30 seconds then scrape the feathers off with a spoon. Grandma was smart.
 
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F Agricola wrote:My Uncle, who was raised during The Depression, did a lot of shooting to supplement homegrown stuff, and died a couple of years ago at 93, was a cunning coot who taught some young local lads how to think laterally: they just shot a mixed bag of wild ducks and water hens and were neck deep in feathers.

Said 93 year old had already finished and had his share gutted and cut up ready for cooking. They asked how the hell did he manage to get it done so quick - he simply skinned the birds!



If you want the skin, though, which the OP clearly does, that won't work.  Now, if you're in a rush, and can't afford the time or effort to pluck then skinning them is a quick way to git-er-done.  


Mike Barkley wrote:Another technique that helps (usually) is to dip the birds in boiling water for about 30 seconds then scrape the feathers off with a spoon. Grandma was smart.



AKA scalding.  Though boiling is too hot.  145-150F should be about as hot as you'd ever want.  For waterfowl it's probably best to rough pluck first at least some of the feathers so the hot water can more easily get to the skin.  

Another option if you don't want to wax the birds is to use a propane or butane torch to singe off whatever you can't easily remove by plucking.  Just be careful (as with scalding) not to start actually cooking the skin.
 
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