When thinking about rearing ducks, there are a few things to consider, one of which may be how much meat a duck yields.
Generally, a whole adult duck should be able to produce between 3 to 5 pounds of meat. The specific amount of meat you can get from a duck has to do with various factors. The weight at butchering and the primary purpose of raising the duck will influence the amount of meat you can get from it.
This article discusses everything you need to know about the meat-producing abilities of ducks. Which breed produces more meat? What is the meat-to-bone ratio for ducks? Which breed has the tastiest meat? Get everything here!
How Much Meat Do You Get From a Duck?
Studies show that ducks produce meat quantity that weighs between 60-65% of their total size. Thus, if a live duck carries 7 pounds, you can expect its total meat quantity to weigh around 4 pounds.Learn how to raise your own quail and have an unlimited supply of eggs and meat.
You can’t say for sure how much meat you can derive from a duck. Various factors affect the quantity you can get, and they include the purposes for raising the duck, the breed, and then weight.
By comparison, ducks generally produce less meat than chickens.
What is the Meat-to-bone Ratio of Ducks?
Generally, the bones of ducks take up 28% of their total body weight, leaving 72% for the more fleshy parts. Note that this is after you remove the feathers and non-edible organs.
This gives a meat-to-bone ratio of 2.6:1.
Nonetheless, there are specific parts that are bonier or fleshier than others. For example, estimates show that bones take up 50% of the weight of the neck and head, 60% of the foot, and 15% of the breast.
What is the Butchering Weight of Ducks?
Before butchering a duck, it is essential to pay attention to its weight. This is because there are specific weight measurements at which the principal organs of the duck should have become fully developed.
If you butcher the ducks before they attain these weight standards, you may get barely mature and poorly developed meat. This may affect the meat’s quality, appearance, texture, taste, and flavor.
For these reasons, experts generally recommend that you wait for a duck to reach between 6 to 8 pounds before taking them to the butcher slabs.
However, considering only the weight is not ideal and can give you false signals. For example, some ducks grow pretty fast and gain lots of weight in shorter periods. Yet, their meat and other body parts have not achieved maturity.
Similarly, some ducks typically grow more slowly but would have achieved decent maturity in the meat and body organs. To be on the safer side, you should consider a range of factors before slaughtering the duck.
Factors that Determine the Time to Butcher a Duck
We can say this is the most important of all the indicators. Even if the other factors, such as weight, are not yet right, you can slaughter your duck if the age is suitable for butchering. Some birds may not weigh much but may have developed mature organs due to age.
Experts recommend that you wait for between 7 to 8 weeks before slaughtering a high-growth duck. Often, “high-growth” ducks are those that breeders raise for meat-producing purposes.
So, if you give your duck lots of meat-enhancing feed or treatment, you can butcher them at 8 weeks of age.
You can enhance your ducks to focus on particular purposes. Essentially, you develop them to produce more of one thing than the other, based on your needs.
For instance, you can raise them to produce meat mainly. On the other hand, if you want to grow poultry or sell ducklings or eggs, improving your duck to produce mostly eggs is a way to achieve this.
The primary way to do this enhancement is via the feeds and treatment you give them.
If you’re focused on meat production, your ducks tend to grow in size rapidly and develop mature body parts that can be consumed. However, if it is an egg-producing duck, don’t expect them to produce meat early.
The duck’s gender also influences how much weight it will reach at certain times and how mature the meet will be. Males generally grow faster than their female counterparts. A male duck can reach between 7.5 and 9 pounds by the time they are 8 weeks old. On the other hand, females average 7.1 to 7.7 pounds.
Breed or Species
Some duck breeds, such as Muscovy and Pekin, can attain processing weight in a short period. So, when rearing them, you can expect to get meat from them faster.
Can You Eat the Meat of a Duck that You Keep for Eggs?
As earlier mentioned, you tailor your duck breeding for a specific purpose – whether for eggs, meat, or other goals. However, you may wonder if the duck you raised for a specific aim can perform other functions. For instance, if you raise a duck for eggs, is their meat good enough for you to eat?
You can eat the meat of ducks that you raise for their eggs. Their meat will still turn out fine. Nonetheless, you shouldn’t expect them to be as good as those you breed, mainly for meat.
However, you can get the best of both worlds if you balance both. The best way to do this is to raise breeds or species that produce lots of eggs while also yielding large quantities of meat, which will still turn out delicious!
What Parts of Ducks are Edible? Can You Eat a Whole Duck? Are All Organs Edible?
Typically, for most animals, you can’t consume a lot of their parts. However, ducks are slightly different as they feature several edible body organs. You can eat almost everything on a duck, but some parts are particularly interesting. However, you should remove impurities such as the cloaca.
The most popular section is the breast, as it can combine protein with fats and contains more calories and vitamins than what you get from chicken breast. Furthermore, it has fewer amounts of undesirable materials such as cholesterol. Experts say it is also better than conventional beef.
Every other part is equally good. You can chew the legs, fats and skins, and beak. The bones are also suitable for you, and you can roast and spice them for a splendid finish.
Then, there are the non-conventional parts, such as the heart and kidney. So long as you wash them thoroughly before cooking, you’ll be fine with them.
Finally, the liver is a delicacy popularly called foie gras. Apart from being delicious, the liver is quite versatile, and you can add it to several meals. For instance, it can be a snack or a part of salads. But, then, it does excellently well on the nutrients side, being one of the richest sources of copper and iron.
Then, deeply cook the duck before eating to avoid campylobacter poisoning.
Which Breeds Will Yield the Most Meat?
Here is the list of top breeds that are best known for their meat.
Pekin is probably the most popular duck breed and for good reasons. It achieves maturity faster than other duck groups, reaching an average of 6 pounds by its 6th week. So by the 8th week, you should have a bird weighing around 8-9 pounds.
At this 8-9 pounds total weight, you should get 5-6 pounds after cleaning. This translates to 70% of the total weight, one of the highest quantities of meat you can get out of any butchered duck.
One of their biggest strengths is excellent feed conversion, as every calorie you put in generates impressive results. However, while the Pekin grows quickly, the meat quality isn’t as good as other ducks.
If you’re concerned about meat quality, then look towards Muscovy. This is because the Muscovy prioritizes quality meat over fast growth.
You should be ready to deal with their much slower development. Another downside is that they’re not good as dual-purpose ducks, as they produce poor eggs.
The Muscovy may just be maturing by the time it is 12 weeks old. But, then, its meat doesn’t grow as large as the Pekin.
This means it produces less fat than Pekin, making experts consider it healthier.
If you need lots of fat, you can get them with the Rouen. However, you may have to wait considerably longer to get your fat supply.
Rouen is one of the slowest growing duck species reaching maturity at about 10 weeks or more. They also don’t grow very large.
The Moulard should come next only to the Pekin in terms of popularity. It has less fat than the Pekin but produces more quantity than the Muscovy.
One of its leading features is its red meat, arguably more nutritious than the others combined. This is why many refer to it as the most delicious duck meat existing.
Duck meat is not the most tender meat, but if you need a duck breed that produces very soft meat, Aylesbury is the answer. However, you shouldn’t expect much quantity from this duck, even though they grow decently fast.
By their 7th week, they may weigh as much as 8 pounds. Nonetheless, much of it doesn’t translate to consumable meat when you’re done with dressing the duck.
They also lay good eggs.
Which Breed Has Particularly Tasty Meat?
Selecting which breed has the tastiest meat can be tricky since the taste can be subjective.
However, based on research and personal experience, the Moulard and Pekin share the tie, with the Moulard coming tops most of the time.
Moulard is a somewhat hybrid bird, sharing the traits and staying in between Pekin and Muscovy. It takes the unrivaled meat quality of the Muscovy and the tastefulness of the Pekin, giving it a superior taste. People commonly make steaks and other dishes out of the Moulard.
The Pekin is also commendable, as it is naturally delicious but can contain lots of fat.
Which Breed of Duck Reaches Butchering Age Fastest?
The Pekin is the fastest-growing of all the discussed species. It can achieve decent maturity by the 6th week, growing as much as 6-7 pounds. By the 7th or 8th week, it is fully ready for slaughter.
Hacks on Growing Ducks for Meat
To help your ducks achieve faster growth for meat production, take note of the following:
- Provide them with pellets
- Select the right breed
Don’t entirely leave them to forage around. Access to quality feed through pellets with at least 22% protein is a way to fast-track their growth.
No matter your efforts to boost your ducks’ growth, if it’s not the right breed, you may not achieve much in a considerable period. For the fastest growth, consider quickly-maturing species such as the Pekin and Aylesbury.
The meat-producing capacity of your duck should be one of your top considerations when starting to breed them. You will need to take into account your timeline, the gender, the species and other factors. Happy breeding!