Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Valentine's Day Massacre

Wednesday 14th February 2018
Valentine's Day
What more romantic activity for Valentine's Day can there be than killing and plucking five Muscovy Ducks!
Dispatch complete, now just hanging around waiting to be plucked.
These were this year's birds which survived the last cull as they had a bit more growing to do. I wasn't looking forward to the job, as ducks are the most difficult to dispatch. They have strong necks and a strong will to live!

The weather was pretty foul again. A strong southerly wind at this time of year does not bring warm winds. We caught the ducks one at a time while they were still in their houses and the dispatch went very smoothly indeed, which was a relief.

We took a break while the birds hung around for a bit. This lets the blood drain into the neck cavity. Then it was time for plucking. Sue heated up a large cauldron of hot water and dipped each bird for 220 seconds at 163 degrees F. This proved perfect for loosening the feathers without damaging the skin. Ducks need a lot more soaking time to penetrate the three layers of feathers. They are after all designed to keep out water!

We managed to get five ducks plucked remarkable quickly, in half the time we usually take. We must be getting good at this now. It only took just over an hour for five.

Plucked in record time. As we will be jointed them rather than roasting whole,
some bits can be left unplucked.

Boris gets a shock
With no change in the weather, we huddled up in the warm house. Late afternoon I went to feed the chickens and collect eggs. Seven eggs today which is an upturn.
Then a quick yomp around the perimeter walk with the dogs. It was on the way back that Boris and Arthur raced ahead and not long after this I heard a yelp and saw Boris heading off toward the house. The strong winds had blown some dead weed stems across the path and Boris had come into contact with the electric fence as he skirted round them. Arthur had a very close call too.
Boris spent the next couple of hours literally in shock, his back legs shaking and panting. We were worried for him, but he eventually calmed down after receiving huge doses of attention.
Our dogs are lovely, but they are not the bravest.

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