We killed six ducks on Saturday. It was a beautiful and sunny day for December, thank god, because it took us rookies a long time to figure out what we were doing. Chris’ sister in law raised and spoiled these ducks and it was a sad day to see them go. She had been avoiding killing them because like any pet, you fall in love with it. They were so soft and cute and they’d waddle around the yard, quacking away. But, such is life.
Chris and his brother did the actual killing and I stood by, gauging whether or not I was going to faint, or cry, or both. Thankfully it’s a quick death for them, after they lived a great life. I’m okay knowing they were treated well, didn’t suffer and none of their meat will be wasted.
We plucked them by hand, which I don’t think we’ll be doing again. It was very labour intensive and time consuming. They have beautiful down under their feathers to keep them warm in the water, so I kept a whole bag of duck down to use for an upcoming project.
The kids came out to help and they gave each duck a pat and said goodbye and thank you to it. The girls will have a much better grip on life and death than I do, being raised on the farm and seeing all sorts of animals come and go.
After they were plucked, we torched off the remaining little hairs and small feathers you can’t get with your fingers. Then they were cut open, the guts removed and fed to the very happy dogs, and we saved the necks and hearts. I’ve read that bird hearts are very good eating, I’ll have to try a bite of one from these ducks.
We rinsed them and bagged them and they are successfully in the freezer. It took us about 5 hours total, but we learnt a lot along the way. We’ll be much quicker next year.
“I could feel the weight of what I was about to do – take life from a healthy, sentient creature that would much prefer to stay alive, if it had a choice – and I felt grateful, sincerely grateful. Jana yanked a chicken out of the coop by its feet, and before she laid it down on a tree stump and chopped its head off with a hatchet, she cradled it in her arms like a baby. “Thank you, Chicken.” She intoned. “Thank you for giving us your meat to feed our families. We are grateful. You nourish us. Now let your spirit fly up, up to Father Sun.” Whack.” – The Dirty Life, Kristin Kimball