Monday, October 21, 2013

Harvesting Ducks

We're moving forward with getting the house built, and the house will be going up right behind where we currently live.  That space is where we have the duck yard.

Since the duck yard will need to come down over this winter to prepare for house building and we didn't have anywhere else to move the ducks, we decided to go ahead and butcher them.

We have these ducks as a source of eggs.  We've had them for several years and their egg laying has really declined this year, but in the future we'll opt to add a few younger ducks to bump up egg production and let the older ducks be on insect control duty in the garden instead of culling them.

We've really gotten to know these ducks and their personalities, so while it was the most logical solution it was still hard.

We butchered them last Thursday, and let them age in the fridge over the weekend.  Today I broke down the whole birds into thighs and breasts (duck wings have no meat, and aren't worth keeping).  After that I took the carcasses and am in the process of making duck stock, which I anticipate being really delicious.

We'll have to see how the thighs and breasts are... these are older birds.  The meat will be flavorful, but tougher then we're used to.

For the duck stock, I'm loosely following directions I found here and here.  I put 4 carcasses in my largest pot, 2 in my next largest pot, and I'm roasting the remaining 4 carcasses which I'll split up evenly between the 2 pots.  I plan to just let the pots gently simmer for about 6 hours, and then chill overnight so I can separate the fat.

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