ducks Extras

How to Process Pekin Ducks

Recently I shared when to cull roosters and Pekin ducks. And I also covered how to process roosters. So now you may be wondering how to process Pekin ducks. In the last post about ducks, I mentioned that in our backyard, it’s similar to processing chickens, which basically means we don’t keep the skin on.

raw chicken breasts on white ceramic plate
Photo by alleksana on

We don’t bother de-feathering either our chickens or our ducks, because it’s a lot harder than just skinning them. Yes, the skin does taste great. But when I buy chicken from the grocery store, I usually just buy it skinless anyway, so this isn’t any different. Except we’re doing the work.

Supplies to process Pekin ducks

box of disposable nitrile gloves
  • A folding table or work table
  • Disposable gloves- you’ll go through plenty
  • Sharp knife
  • Duck size kill cone
  • 5 gallon bucket
  • Metal bowl
  • Bleach spray or Clorox Clean-up and paper towels

If possible, remove the feed from the duck you’ve selected ~12-18 hours before you plan on processing it. However you can still allow it to have water.

Instructions to process Pekin ducks

sycamore tree with outbuilding and houses in distance
  • Hang the duck upside down in the kill cone

Hanging it upside down, with the blood rushing to its head, ironically calms it down. Also, our kill cone is attached to the designated ‘killing’ tree, one that’s out of view of our backyard animals.

Because our chickens fit nicely into the kill cone, they don’t necessarily need to be tied to the tree. Although the duck is bigger, so securely attach the duck’s legs with twine, rope, or wire. We used rope.

  • Cull the duck

Some people shoot their ducks, break their necks, use a hatchet, etc. But it’s important that you have everything you need before starting, because, once again, ducks are bigger and tougher than chickens.

After you’ve done the deed, let the blood drain out for a few minutes, knowing that the body will convulse, but it truly is dead. And when the duck has stopped moving, take it out of the cone and cut off the head, assuming you didn’t use a hatchet to do the deed.

hatchet in a block of wood outside
Photo by Matthew DeVries on
  • Wearing gloves, lay the duck on your work table

Periodically change your gloves as they get soiled and covered in duck juices.

  • Pluck the feathers off of the breasts and legs, giving you access to the skin
  • Once the feathers are off, starting at the breast bone, with your sharp knife, fillet breasts off of bones until you get to the drumsticks
  • Then slice around the hip, exposing the pelvic joint; and cut through the pelvic joint, which will detach the drumsticks from the carcass
  • Also, there isn’t enough meat on the wings; they’re scrawny, so leave them alone
  • Next, cut bottom part of the legs off
  • And finally, cut the legs off at the hip joint

Finishing up

raw duck in metal bowl
  • Put everything you’re not keeping into the 5 gallon bucket to bury when you’re finished
  • Then rinse the meat off with a hose before putting it in the metal bowl
  • And with clean gloves on, bring the bowl to your kitchen and package the meat

This doesn’t have to be elaborate freezer packaging; you can just wrap it in plastic wrap for now

  • Then refrigerate or chill the meat

Chilling the duck meat for ~24 hours will help the muscles relax and tenderize; after 24 hours, you can decide on whether you’ll cook it or freeze it

  • Next, return outside to clean up

Bring the knife inside; lay it in the sink and spray with a bleach spray. And once you’re back outside, rinse all of the blood off of the work table, and then thoroughly spray it with your bleach spray. Leave it like that for ~ 10 mins before rinsing.

Detach the kill cone and bring it inside to run it under hot water. After 10 mins, rinse the bleach spray from your table and clean the knife as directed by the manufacturer. Clean the cone with dish soap and hot water.

So that’s how you process Pekin ducks. But if you prefer trying to keep the duck whole, rather than in pieces, then try this site. And here are some alternative instructions in the event you want to keep the skin.

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