Now I think most folks can see that with the different new duck recipes appearing on the blog lately that I am doing a little of my fall bird butcher out, now its worth noting that for those that are wanting to make some for those recipes, that I am making my recipes with Muscovy’s, as I find them to be one of the best birds for small farms, high production rates and one of the finest duck meat available, however I had it pointed out to me that I should comment that as Muscovy’s are a duck, they are not from the same ” mallard” breeding line, and that their meat is a touch different then regular ducks. I think Poultry for small farms says it perfectly..
“If you’ve never eaten Muscovy, you should know that it’s really something. Muscovy is not at all greasy like other duck meat, it’s more like extra-special veal, with a fine texture, very little fat, and a unique and delicious flavour. It’s the finest duck there is, and maybe one of the finest of all meats.
Muscovies are unique, the only domestic ducks that aren’t derived from mallards. They come from South America and they’re tree birds rather than water birds. So they don’t need a pond to swim in (they do need water, but a large basin will do). And they fly. They’re bigger and heavier than other ducks, and flying gives them large and powerful breast muscles, and strong, meaty legs. Muscovy breast looks like a fair-sized steak, you wouldn’t guess it was duck.
More Muscovy information can be found at the Muscovy Ducks
Now moving on they also produce a fine yeild of down and soft small feathers, I have been carefully pucking the feathers from under the arms, the belly and chest and saving the best, depending on the birds age, and sex it can range from half and half , but the small fine feathers are wonderful filler, but off course the down will provide even more warmth.
I am sure that most folks have seen the ultra pure white feathers and down that you see in the stores, well let me tell you, my Black/White and Chocolate/White Ducks feathers when plucked sure don’t look like this LOL but they still get the job done, on average a ten pd bird will have about 4.5 to 6 oz of usable small feathers and usable down, so some of my hens give a little less, some of my drakes give me more.
You have a couple different choices in regards to how to use the down/small feathers, I am hoping that when I am finished with my butchering out, that I will have enough from this year to create a small Farmgal down lap blanket, I will continue to post on how this is going over the next while as each part of the projects is underway..
Here are examples from one of my lovely chocolate guys, the middle one is the perfect and amazingly warm down itself, with examples of the small feathers/down combo’s, I consider the small feather on the right to be about perfect an the one on left to be very useable but its about as big as I would like to hold back on.
Anyone else plucking down for their own use this fall while sending their non-keepback birds to freezer camp? Just to be clear, these were dry picked by hand, and you would not get this type of quality if you were wet picking or using a auto plucker.
This is a part of the Homestead Revival Preparedness Challange under the Sustainable living part, I think that using all part of the critters we raise is very valuble and second, if you are looking at living as close to the land as possable, in alot of N.A. having warmth is very important.