Fancy Feather Work - Tips on Plucking your Wild Fowl

There are numerous ways to pluck wild fowl, and nearly every experienced hunter has his or her own preferred method. One of the most popular methods of plucking wild fowl involves cleaning the wild turkey by plucking all the feathers off, and the gutting the bird afterwards. This method allows for the skin to remain on the turkey, which many preparers prefer because they say it gives the turkey more moisture and flavor when it is cooked. This method also allows you to save the giblets, the gizzard, heart and liver of the bird and use these to make a traditional turkey graver after it has been cooked.

Why it is Preferable to Pluck the Turkey Before Removing the Entrails

The main reason why you want to remove the feathers from the turkey before removing the entrails is that it helps to keep the inside of the bird cavity clean. In general, the entire process is cleaner if you do it this way. However, if you are accustomed to field dressing your wild fowl kill, you should not worry about plucking the feathers. Instead, be certain to rinse out the bird cavity in order to remove any feathers that may have gotten inside during the plucking process.

Tips and Hints for Plucking Your Wild Fowl

Did you know that wild turkeys have over 5,000 feathers on them? In general, wild fowls are often prized for their plumage. One of the easiest and most treasured ways of plucking wild fowl is to dip the bird in hot water. There are many thoughts on the ideal temperature for using this method. Many people swear that dipping the bird in water at a temperature of exactly 140 degrees is the most efficacious way to remove its plumage. Others believe that any level of boiling water will work just as well. Whatever method you choose, it has been proven that the bird's feathers will be removed much easier if you dip the bird in hot water. Wild fowl also becomes much easier to handle if the feathers are damp. Otherwise, plumage has been known to fly and drift around the room. The best method for dipping a bird in hot water is to use a large washtub where you can fit the entirety of the bird. There are certain areas of the bird where the plumage is more difficult to remove. The primary wing feathers, which are quite large, often pose a problem for people. Many people opt for removing the wing in order to avoid problems with those large feathers. You can remove the primary wing by moving it past the first joint at the shoulder.

Removing the Legs from the Bird

One of the most important steps in preparing wild fowl comes when it is time to remove the legs. The final step is to remove the entrails. You do this by gutting the bird after removing the feathers. This process is similar to what you would do while field dressing. However, this process is more complete as you often remove the head as well, using a hatchet, cleaver or large knife. However, some people follow tradition and save the neck, which can be cooked in a stockpot. Other parts that are often saved include the giblets, which include the heart, gizzard and liver. Most everyone knows what the heart and liver accomplish, but the gizzard is less well understood. The gizzard is the part of the bird that allows it to grind up its food. In order to use the gizzard, you will want to open it up and clean it out thoroughly. Once clean, you can cook or freeze your wild fowl.