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first timer duck kill and prepare.

by rexy
Well I am pleased to say that my first experience of killing a duck for the table has gone very well

I had been warned that killing a duck raised from the egg is no easy task as they are more endearing than chickens and you get attached easier, especially as we had made the mistake of naming these ones! This time the task was made easier by this particular duck starting to bully the others and generally making a pain of himself

I chose a day when my older son was away and my youngest was in bed.
I used a method described in a poultry magazine which I have to say was so easy I couldn't stop telling people how easy it was

The plucking was an enjoyable experience as I sat on the back step ankle deep in duck down lol. and the drawing alot easier than the 2 cockerels I did the same DAY.

I am now sat smelling honey roast duck coming from the oven and feeling quite proud of myself
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last edited on
by hermit
We have raised ducks to kill this time ,they are Aylesbury x Swedish Blue. They have come out the most beautiful silver/ white chest that we are keeping the females for eggs and just killing the males( If the totally blackest of black is a male we will keep him as well as he has a perfect white priests dog collar and is a talking point for visitors).We have never killed a duck but intend on doing it just as a chicken. Hermit
Berkshire boy
by Berkshire boy
Hi Rexy
What was the killing method you used.I haven't had to do a duck yet but will soon.
Lois Fraser
by Lois Fraser
I admire you for being able to kill anything. I just can not do it, it is absolutely unthinkable. I recently got to the stage where I had 17 bantam roosters and 30 hens. It was so unfair on the hens as there were gang rapes so I got the gardener to knock off 8 roosters. Feel in a way that I am simply passing the buck, is he doing it as humanely as is possible, for all I know he is making a real hash of the job. Feel as though I am being irresponsible. How did you do the dirty deed?
by jimcrow
You are infact being irresponsible,if you cannot cull birds that need culling for the sake of the others,then you should`nt be keeping poultry.
by rexy
Thanks everyone for your comments,

The deed was done by the following method which I also use now for surplus cockerels for the pot. It was described in a poultry magazine for killing a goose so a good allround method for all poultry and suitable for people of slight build like me who haven't got the arm strength for neck pulling.

Equipment needed:

- 1 canvas bag for life or similar or a second willing person to restrain bird
- 1 piece of baler twine
- 1 strong broom handle (I used my husbands scythe as it has a very thick pole)
- hard flat area of ground
- very sharp knife
- newspaper

It did suggest using 2 people, 1 to hold the bird and 1 to kill but I did not have the help of a second person and prefer to do these jobs alone as I become self-conscious and more likely to make a hash of it. Therefore I adapted it for a single person. Rather than have some one hold the bird to prevent flapping I tie the feet together with a piece of baler twine as I am calmly walking them down to the house, I then pop the bird into a canvas co-op bag for life, it has lovely long handles which can be tied together over the birds back leaving the head and neck free creating a replica 'swan sack'. You now have a calm, restrained bird and have your hands free ready to complete the job.
Lying the bird down on the hard ground, take you broom handle and lie it across the birds neck, then place 1 foot on the pole to one side of the birds neck and swiftly stamp on the pole with the other foot on the opposite side of the bird. ( I did actually practice on a thick branch of Buddleia before having the confidence to do it on an animal)
If unsure if it has broken the neck then a second stamp can be performed quickly but the first time should have broken the neck. There will be some flapping but this will be minimised by the restraining bag although you might find it necessary to place a hand on the bird to keep it from rolling about. To check the bird is dead touch the corner of the eye to see if the bird blinks - there should be no reaction.
Once flapping has calmed lay the bird on the newspaper, take your sharp knife and slit the throat and hold the bird up to allow it to bleed out. Hang it there for a few minutes then start to pluck whilst still warm starting with the difficult wing feathers.

My mum found me a really useful carabiner type clip which I use to hang the bird from the swing frame to pluck them

Sorry if its a bit hard to follow I tend waffle
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by rexy
To be fair Lois did get someone else to do the job.
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by rexy
Ps make sure you have a sturdy pair of boots on otherwise you might end up with a broken foot instead
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sally m
by sally m
I am not sure from your description, if you pulled the neck - the idea of the broom handle method is not to crush the neck, but to use the handle to hold the neck so you can pull and dislocate the neck. Crushing does not kill immediately, so you have to dislocate the neck of a humane,instant death.

We teach the broom handle method on our poultry courses - birds neck under handle, stand either side on handle, pull body of bird, so that the neck is dislocated. The key to this method is a firm steady pull so that you can feel the neck give way, pull too hard and the head comes off, which is a bit messy. Then we place the bird in an upturned cone with end cut off off, to restrain the wings so no flapping and bruising, then bleed.
Usually I kill the birds with our electric stunner, so the people on the course can practice with a dead bird - that way they don't panic with a live bird in their hands, they can take their time and get the method right. - organic Somerset farm with rare breed poultry and pigs, courses on keeping chickens, pigs and butchery
by rexy
Well as we all know there are more than one way to kill a bird

Firstly this method was described with pictures in a well known poultry magazine and believe me it breaks the neck in two with a clean break, it would only crush if done on soft ground or with not enough force. All three birds I have done with this method so far have been killed instantly with dull eyes that do not react when touched. I feel this method is much easier than having to pull the bird which is going to take a second or two longer to achieve the same ending and still requires upper body strength to perform. 'Pulling the neck' is breaking the neck and severing the spinal cord - breaking the neck using the method I described does the same thing.

Correct me if I'm wrong but I thought an electric stunner is not designed to kill, otherwise neck dislocation would not be required.
Personally I still have my doubts about how humane stunning is.

Please be assured that if followed correctly the method I described breaks the neck instantly therefore giving a very quick humane death without having to electrocute them first. I will probably now get a description and terms of correct usage of the word electrocution

I knew of the other broom handle method before but it has never really appealed to me.
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sally m
by sally m
I was only commenting on the fact that the neck was crushed, not dislocated - if you read the Humane Slaughter Society's booklet (essential reading), you will see that they do not recommend crushing ( as you describe, or indeed with the pliers that can still be bought). As a Soil Association producer, the only approved method for the commercial dispatch of poultry is the electric stunner followed by bleeding, a method that requires the operator to be licenced. On the course I stun and bled the birds through the mouth so they can be used to practice dislocation.

HSA : Neck dislocation
Dislocating the neck of the bird may cause rupturing of the spine and concussion. When done correctly, this results in the bird losing consciousness immediately and irrecoverably. However, it is difficult to achieve concussion consistently using neck dislocation therefore this method is not suitable for routine commercial harvest. It may however be appropriate for small numbers of birds or for emergency killing. A humane alternative is electrical stunning followed immediately by neck dislocation. Methods that crush the neck (e.g. pliers) do not cause concussion and are therefore unlikely to cause painless or immediate loss of consciousness. Their use is therefore NOT recommended. It is important that a technician applying neck dislocation is mentally prepared to carry through the whole procedure. Practice on dead birds may improve the confidence in application of this method. The various means of achieving neck dislocation are detailed in the HSA publication, Practical Slaughter of Poultry A Guide for Small Producers 2nd Edition (pages 17-20). - organic Somerset farm with rare breed poultry and pigs, courses on keeping chickens, pigs and butchery
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