Today, I learned how to eviscerate a duck. I worked with a duck that was lovingly raised on a farm, and one that I’d likely seen wandering around. When I encountered it today, it had just been killed and plucked, and it was still warm and soft. As I held its legs, I noticed how the bones and sinew moved under the skin, and I was surprised by how life-like it felt. Going in, I was concerned that I’d feel queasy, but it felt more like a cross between preparing a bird for cooking and a science class dissection. I’m hoping I’ll get the chance to actually slaughter a bird, but this was a good introduction to the process.
Anyway, here’s what I learned (or, at least what I think I learned). Starting with a plucked duck with its head removed:
- Remove wingtips and feet.
- Make a horizontal cut at the base of the neck, loosen the esophagus and trachea, then cut off both as close to (or in) the body cavity as possible.
- Continue the cut around the base of the neck, then peal of skin from the neck. Remove glands around the shoulders. Cut off neck at the base, and set aside.
- Flip the bird on its back, and make a wide horizontal cut an inch or so above the anus.
- Work your hand into the body and tear or otherwise loosen innards from the rib cage. Take particular care not to puncture the gallbladder. Leave intestines connected to the vent. Once loosened, most of the innards (other than the lungs) should just come out of the incision.
- Separate and set aside heart, liver (again, taking caution not to puncture the gallbladder) and gizzard.
- Take the gizzard and make a cut around the circumference, and slowly spread open. The inside will contain sand, gravel and possibly undigested food. Remove, and rinse off. Then peal off the yellow stomach lining (but leave the white layer underneath).
- Cut around the vent, taking care not to puncture the intestines or cloaca, then remove and discard the remaining innards.
- Reach into the body cavity and scrape out the lungs. They are soft, on the backside of the cavity close to the vertebra. Parts of the lungs will be between the ribs, so I found that scraping between ribs from the outside in with the back of my nails helped locate the lung tissue.
- Flip the bird on its belly, and locate two bulbous bumps (the oil glands) near the butt, and a hole where the oils are secreted. These are the oil glands. Remove the lumps and the opening.