How to wax ducks

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I know some of you pluck your ducks and some of you breast them but here is a method that was used at my friends club that I have started using at home that works awesome. It takes half the time and it gets all the feathers.

Here is what you will need:

A cheap big pot.
Camp stove or you can do it on the barbeque.
parafin wax (I bought mine on e-bay but you can use canning wax or buy it at Michaels)
5 gallon bucket filled with cold water and a little ice.

First set up the camp stove and put the pot on it. Fill the pot about 2/3 full of water then add some chunks of wax until it is about 3/4 full. You do not need a lot of wax in the water, when melted there should be 1/2-1 inch of wax floating on the water. Turn it on high and let the wax melt and bring it just to a boil. Once boiling elt it cool for a little bit (about 10 minutes). I do not suggest doing this on the home stove as you may spill wax while you are transferring birds and the wife will not be happy if you get wax all over her nice stove.

While the water is coming to a boil here is how I prepare the birds. I cut the legs off at the knees, pull out the tertiary feathers by the armpits and then cut the wings off at the shoulder joints. You then need to do a little bit of plucking on the breast and the back. Do not go crazy and pluck a lot. You only want to pull out some of the feathers to help the wax penetrate to the breast. I didn't take any pictures of this but I will update the post after cleaning birds this weekend.

Once you have the water and wax boiling turn it off you are now ready to wax the birds. Hold them by the head and dip them so they get coated in the wax up to the neck. You do not want to swish them around or dunk them more than once or you will get way too much wax on the bird. a quick dip is all you need. As you are pulling them out use a stick or in my case a chopstick to "squeege" off as much wax as possible. Transfer from here to the bucket of cold water.

Repeat until you are done with the ducks. You may need more than one bucket if you have all big ducks or are doing more than one limit. Let them cool until they are hard, I like to leave them for 10-15 minutes. More than enough time for a beer or two.........

Once they have cooled take them out. You are now ready to pluck them. Place them on a hard surface and push down on them and kind of roll them as you push down. This will crack the wax and make it so you can pull the wax and feathers off. Find a small section that has cracked and pull it off, I'm usually careful with the first piece to keep the skin from tearing. Once you get that first piece off its like peeling an orange. A good trick is to seperate the skin from the wax by working your fingers in between the wax and skin as you peel back the wax. Think of peeling the skin away from the wax and not peeling the wax away from the bird and you will have less issues. Keep doing this until you have all the wax off the ducks. Be careful around where you cut the wings off as the skin is apt to tear here because of cutting of the wings. If the skin should start to tear while you are removing the wax, try working on a different area and getting to the part that is tearing from the other direction. Sometimes there is nothing you can do to keep the skin from tearing whether it would be a really thin skinned duck or you blasted the crap out of it and it looks like a pin cushion.

Once done you will have lots of pieces of wax that look like this:

But the nice thing is you will have birds that look like this:

If you have any questions feel free to ask. This method takes from start to finish (including getting the wax boiling) about 45 minutes but it is faster than plucking ducks, you get a cleaner product and you aren't wasting any of the duck meat like breasting them does. Once you get the wax going you can knock out a ton of ducks in a really short time. This way is also much less labor intensive than plucking.

Once the wax has hardened in the pot, poke some holes in it and drain the water out. All you need to do for the next time is add water and a little more wax.

Some people also melt the wax with the feathers in and strain the feathers out but personally I find that to be too much work.

I haven't been able to find the wax cheap down here yet but if you are anywhere out in the central valley or in most somewhat rural towns you can buy the wax (canning wax) in 10lb blocks for about $10. this amount should last you about a half a season depending on how many ducks you shoot.



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Didn't let the wax cool down enough??????? :smiley-bag-on-head:

That's why you ALWAYS take the warden out to dinner.... get a good bottle of wine......... and practice on her first!!!!!!

Just ask the guys at Disneyland that cut them hedges into dolphins and girrafes and such..............
Hot dawm!! Sign chaum up for a lifetime membership!!!

The wax method works! The gadwall I just did worked out awesome.

Have you ever tried it on other game birds like quail or chukar?
I used his method on 7 Teal. Now I know you are thinking "DumbSH*T should breast 'em". But this was my first hunt and the wife had an image of "Duck a la Orange". I worked my a** off between trying to find the Parafin Wax on the way home from the Duck Club and then getting the system ready. It worked good but I had as many as 50 quills broken off and a bunch of small black pinfeathers on the top rear. The feathers just peeled off. Next time I am going to leave them in the hot water for around 45-60 seconds as I remeber as a kid grandpa doing that before he had us pluck the chickens.

So then on to the oven with the wife telling me how to cook them. She is thinking of the kind of duck you get in the frozen section. These Teals were around the size of a Cornish Game Hen. I took hemostats to the one I was going to serve her as she has a rule of "All fish and game has to be ready to cook before I bring it home". ie: no feathers, fur or guts!

She took one bite that I had to get off the ducks breast for her and said "I don't like it" All that work! I will never pluck a teal again. But I will be doing a Green head just as soon as I hit one. I had at least 3-4 tries on Mallards this weekend...
Esteban you find canning wax at almost any grocery store, its kept with canning supplies. I had to deal with a few pin feathers, but overall I think the method works well.
Teal dry pick then singe the pin feathers over an open flame from on top of a gas oven or in the field from the campfire goes pretty fast . Divers are real hard to deal with thicker down waxing works works with them put Pins , Gads . Wigeon relative easy but time consuming to dry pick and singe..
If the bird has a lot of pinfeathers then there is not much you can do to get them out other than handpick them. 90% of the time all the quills will come out sometimes there are a couple left in the bird.

One of the things I have found is this process works a lot better it the bird is dry. The wax adheres to the feathers much better. If the bird is really wet then you will have more problems getting the wwax to penetrate and adhere to the feathers.

I have a friend in the central valley get the wax for me. It is usually about $10 a block. You can also get the same wax at Michael's (Craft store) but it will run you about $25.

I cleaned well over 70 birds last year and went through about 20lbs of wax.
................. I still like um with the landing strip........... call me crazy!!!!!!!!!!!! :thumbs-up-ani:
Esteban you find canning wax at almost any grocery store, its kept with canning supplies.

Thanks! I found some at the Jo-Anns Fabric and Crafts on the way home in Moreno Valley. 10 # Block was $20. I will use this method on the bigger birds. Guess I will be eating them alone at home along with the Elk,Venison, Quail, Dove etc... that my wife won't eat! :thumbs-up-ani:
.............. I can help in the eatin' dept................

I only have a 34" waist.......................... :thumbs-up-ani:
Est try a few diffrent ways to cook them don't make her eat them entail you have tryed them, I am sure you can tell if she will like them :banana-man-yeah:

and ESS your ugly :afraid_face:
Welcome aboard..another familar face from Ghandi's? Great post unforntunately Cacciatori's and wax don't mix....although there was a time AGC73 waxed his chest because he forgot he was half Italian/Greek, and was determined to be a body builder! :huh: :huh:
If you shoot a lot of ducks, and need to do a lot of ducks at once, this works with an old electric water heater for a trailer. You set it on low before you go and when you come home the wax is hot. If you need to remove the hair, use a blow torch and singe the hair off, a butane lighter works well too.
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