My Muscovy ducks have grown out to the appropriate size, so it’s time to start harvesting. If you’ve seen my post, Muscovy Ducks – Yard to Table, you saw just how long it took me to pluck one…over 45 minutes! Mind you, it was the first bird I’d plucked in over 20 years, but even with a LOT of improvement, I’m guessing I’d be 15 minutes or more, once I had a LOT of practice. Not something I want to invest time in.
So I started looking at plucking machines. The high end models cost well over $1000. Building a drum unit seems doable, but I only plan on a couple dozen ducks a year, not really a cost affective idea, plus I’d need to store the plucker as well.
Then I ran into the drill mounted rotary pluckers. Simple design, low cost to build, and seemed to work as well as I needed. Off to the store I went!
- For about $8, I bought a 4 inch schedule PVC cap (don’t use a drain cap, the walls are too thin, in my opinion) (Lowes)
- A 3/8 bolt and appropriate lock nut coast around $2.00. (Lowes)
- Rubber bungee straps, 20 for $6 (Harbor Freight)
- Getting BlueTang to help $One Favor (DOH!)
- Find the center of the top of the cap. We did this by using a 4 inch hole saw. We had it, it worked. You could eyeball this, but you really should find the exact center.
- Mark the edge of the cap in 8 spots evenly spaced.
- We opted for alternating rows of one and two fingers. Adjust as you see fit.
- Using a 1/4 inch drill, drill out two holes, not quite touching each other at each of the eight marks. Again, space them according to how many fingers you want at each spot.
- Once the holes are drilled, using the bit, widen the hols until they touch, becoming one hole.
- Cut the rubber ties downs in half, making the cut diagonally, making the rubber fingers.
- Pull a rubber finger through each of the slots using needle nose pliers.
- Trim off the fingers to square the ends, making each between 3 and 4 inches long. Longer is better at this point. You can shorten them later, if needed.
- Chuck it up and give it a test run!
I’ve tried it once with mixed results. I’ve got to test it some more, I’ve got ducks to harvest!