We decided to butcher one of our male ducklings while it was going through its juvenile molt. The bird was about 12 weeks old and the molt had been going on for a couple of weeks already. Basically, I was curious to see what pinfeathers actually look like and how hard it would be to pluck these.
Here are some photos I took while plucking the bird. And yes, emerging pinfeathers are a pain to pluck because there is hardly any feather surface to grasp. Also, blood may appear if very small pinfeathers are picked.
The first two photos were taken of the bird when dry. I am willing to experiment with making pillows out of duck down and small feathers, so I wanted to get these when dry.
The photo below was taken after we had processed the bird in hot water (a bit higher than 60 degrees Celsius), in order to be able to pluck the large feathers faster. As you can see the pinfeathers have become even more hard to grasp.
Well, finally we decided to take the skin off the bird before preparing it for the oven. A side effect of roasting a skinless duck is that the food will turn out less fatty – too much fat especially under the skin seems to be a reason why many people refuse to eat duck.