How to Defeather Waterfowl: Instructions From blog: How to Defeather Waterfowl: Instructions From

After a long day of hunting waterfowl, the last thing you want to do is spend all evening attempting to remove its feathers. Luckily for you, the experts at have compiled all the information you need to remove a waterfowl’s feathers with ease. Keep the following directions in mind the next time you pluck a duck or goose.

Dry Plucking

When it comes to depluming, the team at recommends dry plucking as the ideal method to use. Although it may seem daunting at first, practice makes perfect, and with a bit of practice, you will be able to deplume a small bird such as a duck in less than 20 minutes. Waterfowl have very tough skin, so when depluming, don’t be overly concerned about using too much force.

Most professional chefs and game enthusiasts recommend starting at the top of the breast area. More than likely, you will need to pull the feathers in a downward motion as you go down the bird’s body. Once you remove all the feathers from the bird’s breast and midsection, you can move on to the wings and legs, which are more time-consuming. Finally, deplume the bird’s back. In most cases, the feathers should come out with relative ease, but if you find yourself struggling, the team at recommends passing a cooking torch over the body of the bird to loosen the feathers and shorten your task.

Wet Plucking (Two Methods)

To wet pluck your game bird, you will need a very large pot of water. Heat the water to 135 degrees Fahrenheit, and add one to three drops of dish liquid to the water (this will remove any natural oils from the feathers of the bird). When you are ready, place the bird into the pot headfirst, ensuring that the undersides of its feathers are coated with soap and water. Dunk the bird for approximately 45 seconds, and then place it on a dry, flat surface. While the bird is still soaked, carefully begin the depluming process, starting with the breast and moving to the feathers on the tail and wings. If you encounter any particularly stubborn feathers, simply apply a bit of the water to the skin and pluck.

Another prominent form of wet plucking involves using paraffin wax instead of dish detergent. This is an older, yet equally effective method, and if done correctly, all of the feathers will come off the bird with ease. Like the method above, start with a large pot of water, and heat it to steaming (not boiling) temperature. Add your wax (two to three blocks for a small bird or four to five blocks for a larger bird), and dunk the bird for roughly 45 seconds. Once you are done, place your game bird in a container of ice-cold water until it is cool enough to pluck by hand. The team at recommends using this method to pluck birds with tougher skin.