Once the bird has been hung as long as you desired, see hanging pages for further details, the plucking can begin. Each game bird is slightly different – we will start be giving you instructions for the pheasant, and then at the end will describe the differences in the other bird.
1. If a beginner start with the back, were the feathers are larger. Only take a couple of feathers at a time and yank them forward against the way that they lay. Using your wrist you should pluck the feathers not pull.
2. The skin of the pheasant is one of the softest and can therefore rip easily. To help with the process place your other hand around the feathers about to be plucked and secure the skin down.
3. Take your time with the first few birds and with practice our plucking skills will improve, so do not be put off by it at first.
Pigeon is the easiest to pluck and a very good bird to practice on. They should not take that long and have comparatively thick skin so you can be tougher on them.
Partridge is similar to the pheasant and so you should be careful when plucking as not to tear the skin.
Ducks and Geese are easy to start with, however all the species have two layers of feathers with the second, called down, is extremely fiddly to get off (and gets everywhere). Once nearly done and bored out of your brain you can burn the remaining down feathers off with a lighter or even a candle. Once again practice will make perfect. Be warned geese are very large and it will take you sometime to pluck the whole bird, patience is key – it will be worth it.