We finally began the process of culling the flock! The weather and events of the days have just not cooperated. Finally, we decided we had to get started and we had a perfect day to start the job.
The emotions played out like this:
Me -- I was adamant that I would not do the killing, but I would do anything else that needed to be done. I was ready for this, but I have to admit that I was a bit heartbroken especially over our only Pekin male, I never let it show. I was trying to set the tone for the kids and remind them that this was the purpose that these ducks were raised for. I ended up having to get involved in the killing as these ducks were not dying.
Cody -- He was ready, but bossy due to his apprehension of killing what was somewhat of a pet to us. He kept barking out, "Okay, get me another one. Come on." and I finally had to call him out on it. He did not realize he had a bit of a grouchy tone because he was trying to focus on getting the job done.
Savannah -- She was disturbed by the whole thing and brokenhearted that the ducks had to lose their lives and that we intend to eat them. She insists she will not be eating them. I kept reminder her that I knew this was hard, but this was the real purpose that we had raised these birds for. Later in the day, she said that if they were cooked in barbeque sauce like a barbeque sandwich she would eat it. I know she will come around. It will take time. She did help catch them and pluck them. She worked hard, but at one point she said, "I just can't do this anymore." It was a rough day for her and next time will be better I am certain.
Sierra -- She was ready. She liked the duck gumbo from the first duck we harvested earlier after it was attacked by a raccoon. She understood this was going to happen. She helped with the catching and the plucking some. Deep down I know it was a hard day for her, but she was "big" about it.
Caden -- Hid inside to avoid most of it. He was totally not happy when the chopping of the first head happened. It did not help that it took like 4 whacks to chop it. Daddy might have needed to sharpen that ax. Horrid moment! I think he helped chase down a couple of ducks, but my softy of a little man had to go inside and hide.
Sahara -- Not happy with it, but seemed okay. She's a hard one to figure out sometimes. She stuck around, but I am sure that she would have rather the ducks lived.
Sienna -- 22 months old.... TRAUMA-tized. I really was not sure she would "get" it, but she was yelling in a sad way, "Duck die! Duck die!" and these ducks were not dying like we thought, so that made it worse. First one... axed and it took 4 times. Second one... Cody decided to show us how to wring it's neck... and again... 3 times and it did not work.... that duck got up and ran off. Third one... axed and it got up headless and started running and flapping it's wings running right into little Sienna with blood spurting out of it's neck all over her legs and feet... Yeah, traumatized. Her little eyes were bugging out and she was screaming. We were all shocked. Really, these ducks were not dying and I ran for the loppers and put one out of it's misery with a snip of the lopper (which also did not do too well)... fun times. Poor Sienna!
In the end we killed six ducks. We focused on killing the males first since we are not wanting to hatch more eggs. We dunked them in hot water. Some were dunked a bit too long and the skin tears easier, so not to self... I need to get a cooking thermometer. We began hand plucking, then we stopped and Cody made a homemade plucker that you attach to your drill. It takes a bit of practice to get the feathers flying, but once you get it down it is like a fuzzy snow storm. After Cody finished the plucking I showed him how to dress them out (fancy way to say get the guts out). At some point I went in to do something and he cut his finger open pretty deep and I played nurse. I dressed out the ducks and put them in the kitchen sink full of water for a rinse. Later, I had Sierra dump a bunch of ice in the water to keep the cold. While they were taking their little "swim" we went out to eat as our reward for our traumatizing day and we had a grand time. When we came home I drained the sink and put the ducks in bags in the freezer. My reasoning for the putting the ducks in the water is to let the blood out and it changes the meat to soak in water. The same is true for wild game. Also, I am wondering if it would have been wise to age the meat a bit. The first duck we did I let age (because I could not bring myself to be in the mood to eat it after processing it.... I aged it in the refrigerator for about a week... secretly hoping it would be bad when I took it out... LOL... it was not... and it made an awesome gumbo).
Sahara & Cody preparing to kill the first of the ducks, our male Pekin. Our little puppy, Tiny, is checking out the situation. She learned to help us chase ducks (ooops!).
No pics of the actual killing... and your welcome. ;)