By the time Thanksgiving rolls around, mallard drakes are sporting green heads and storing fat for the migration south. Early October is when to start paying attention to the ducks you harvest and select the best ones for plucking and roasting.
If the breastbone is well-defined, the bird is lean. When you feel plump pockets of fat around the bone, you know the bird is prime for plucking. Quickly check that the bird isn’t badly shot up in the breast. If you are taking the time to pluck birds, be selective to ensure the best quality table fare for a day of giving thanks.
For the Duck:
For the Stuffing: