Urban Duck Hunting/Butchering

Things I learned about Ducks today:

1. They enjoy crackers.

2. They will hop out of the water to get to my crackers.

3. They will come within ten inches of me to have first priority with crackers.

4. When I wave my hand to shoo them, they will move their necks back, but not flinch.

5. I do not know how many pounds of pressure it will take to break their neck.

6. The average grip of a female human aged 16-19 is 25-30lbs. Or 57-66lbs.

6.5. The Internet is as reliable as town gossip.

7. The best way to kill the duck is by breaking the neck. This can be done if the bird is held properly. Hold the legs of the duck firmly by the fingers of the left hand. Extend the neck fully so there is no looseness or slack felt in the right hand. The fingers of the right hand are held around the head in such a way that the head can be bent backwards by fingers held under the bill. To kill the bird, the head is bent far back, all the looseness is taken up, and the neck is broken by a strong pull downwards. If this is done properly, you can feel the break in the neck bones.

8. Most articles about butchering fowl agree that you should get a good grip on the legs and the neck, pull the neck back toward the feet and slice the throat.

9. The most specific technique I have found for killing a duck is: “pick up the duck and hang him from a clothesline by the feet and jam a regular boning knife up under the neck towards the back of the head. The idea was to sever the spine and not actually kill the duck.”

10. Another description of note that I wouldn’t have anticipated is: “After decapitation is when I really had to hold on tight, because there was lots of wing flapping which didn’t let up for a minute or so.”

11. Consensus among chefs say that breaking a duck’s neck with your hands is really difficult.

I also learned about bio-mass concentration. If humans put pesticides on the lawn, then the bugs eat the grass, then the fish eat the bugs, then the ducks eat the fish. The ducks still have pesticides in their system that weakens them. Even though there is a skip in their step, a shimmer in their feather, and a wiggle in their butt, they might still have eggs that crack as soon as mama-duck sits on them. All that poison has already killed them from an evolutionary standpoint even though they behave normally.

I thought it would be neat to have captured and killed an aggressive duck all by myself. I would have liked to have held it’s curving neck in my hand like the top of a cane, while its limp body gently bounced against my leg. I would have liked to have people question, “What the hell is that?”

“A duck.”

“Why do you have a dead duck?”

“Because I’m going to eat it.”

Oh well. I’m terribly sorry, Aggressive-Starving-from-The-Fountain-at-the- University-Ducks, your link in the food chain has been erased with no help from me. Good luck to you.



2 thoughts on “Urban Duck Hunting/Butchering

  1. marfisk

    One wonders what prompted this, but yes, that’s one of the real consequences of DDT and why there are so many attempts to recover the big predator birds. Their eggs were weakened to the point of near extinction, and most of the recovery efforts actually create hybrids with other similar types. Have no idea if they do this with ducks, but the UC Santa Cruz California Condor program did, I believe.

  2. Setsu Post author

    As to the prompt, it’s difficult to write so many stories about adventurers traipsing through the wilderness and having to hunt and not wonder about the experience and related logistics.


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