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Although plucking a pheasant is not extremely difficult, this task should be done very carefully to avoid marring the skin. To make this task easier, some hunters prefer to hang pheasants for a few days or submerge them in nearly boiling water for several seconds. Feathers can be removed by grasping them firmly and pulling. Some fine feathers may need to be removed with tweezers, while some large feathers may need to be removed with the help of pliers.
A pheasant is a popular type of game bird that is hunted both for sport and for food. Before a pheasant can be eaten, however, its feathers must first be removed. While this task is not necessarily difficult, it often takes a long time. Pheasant skin is generally much thinner than the skin of other birds, and it can be torn much more easily, especially if the feathers are removed improperly.
Plucking a pheasant is usually easier when the bird is hung up by the neck or feet for a few days. When doing this, it is important to hang it in a cool place where it will not freeze. A large refrigerator, garage, or basement is usually ideal for this.
Those who prefer not to let hang up their pheasants can wet pluck their birds. Using this method of plucking a pheasant usually requires a large pot of water to be heated on the stove or over a fire. The bird can then be dipped into the hot water a few times for several seconds each time. This method is often considered to be safer, since there is less of a chance that dangerous bacteria will reproduce in the meat.
Before plucking a pheasant, a person should also have something on the ground or floor to catch the feathers. Garbage cans, blankets, or even newspapers can be used to catch the feathers. Although this step is not absolutely necessary, it can make cleaning up much easier.
When plucking a pheasant, each feather should be removed by grasping it firmly and pulling in the same direction that it grows until it pulls out of the skin. A person should remove the large flight feathers located on the tail and wings of the pheasant first. These can be difficult to remove, and pliers may be needed. The rest of the feathers can then be removed afterward, including those on the back, chest, and thighs of the bird. Tweezers may need to be used to remove some of the very fine down feathers.
I've tried both the hanging and the boiling method myself, and I think I prefer the hanging method. Boiling does soften the feathers, but it also softens the pheasant skin, too. If I had to pluck a lot of fowl in a hurry, I'd go with boiling. However, the hanging method doesn't required additional equipment like large pots. I can just start plucking as soon as I pull the bird down from the hook.
I volunteered to work at a wildlife benefit one time, and they sent me to the kitchen to pluck ducks and pheasant for the public dinner. I'd never plucked any kind of bird before, but one of the more experienced workers showed me what to do. She did use pliers for the first rows of large feathers, but then she started pulling the middle feathers out with her fingers. She didn't slow down until that bird was almost completely naked.
What I noticed was that she got into a rhythm and stayed with it. She didn't stop very often to dispose of the feathers she plucked. She just let them fall out of her hand while she started on another row. My tip to pheasant pluckers would be to keep going at a steady pace no matter what you encounter. If you try to look for easier areas to pluck, you'll lose a lot of time and momentum.
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