Butchering Coturnix Quail

EmmaRainboe

🙄🤚💙Ameraucana Enthusiast💜
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Jul 30, 2020
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I think I'm going to butcher my excess males next Thursday- they will be just over 7 weeks.

What's the easiest fastest method? I plan to cut off their heads, but what is the best tool? Small hand loppers? Sharp kitchen scissors? PVC cutters? (Not the slow rising ones.) I want the most user-error proof method. I see most people saying kitchen scissors, but I get worried that there won't be enough power.

Also, one of the males has severe scoliosis, how would I go about cutting off his head? His neck is like a rollercoaster. I can attempt to get some pictures tomorrow if that helps.

Also do I make a small kill cone so I can use both hands to make a precise cut?

Finally, do I cut their heads, then hang them upside-down and let them bleed out for a bit? For how long?

Then dip them in hot water, and pluck them?

After that can they go straight in the freezer and go through rigor-mortis there?
 

Floof

Songster
6 Years
Sep 28, 2015
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So when I did quail, I did them one at a time at my kitchen sink with a trash bag on one side and use the other side for rinsing. I would select my male, grasp it firmly in my left hand and hold it over the side that had the trash bag, clip its head off using kitchen sheers (the strong kind that they use for breaking down chicken but you can also use garden pruning sheers), hold it firmly until the spasms stopped, and then did a brief dunk in hot water and pulled the feathers out into the trash bag side of the sink. I would then cut them in half to remove the innards. If you put them directly in the freezer that will stop rigor and you will need to give it extra time after defrosting them.
 

EmmaRainboe

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If you put them directly in the freezer that will stop rigor and you will need to give it extra time after defrosting them.
Oh all right. So where/how long should I put them before putting them in the freezer?
 

Floof

Songster
6 Years
Sep 28, 2015
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You can keep them in the fridge for a day or 2 (wiggle the legs to see if rigor has passed) or you can put them right in the freezer and just let them sit for an extra day or 2 after they thaw (in the fridge). It takes a little bit of planning if you just put them right in the freezer. However you choose to do it, be consistent or label your bags.
 

raingarden

Songster
Apr 12, 2021
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Windward Oahu
I just drop the bird into the bag after severing the head and let if flop around in there to bleed out.

I grew up dry plucking hunted doves and quail and still do it that way. It only takes a minute longer and you don't have to worry about the scalded skin. But, sometimes, they are just skinned even though it is sacrelige.

After plucking or skinning, I cut up both sides of the backbone (spathcock), and evicerate. Plucked birds are for brazing or broiling, skinned birds for slow cooking.

You can butcher and cook immediately in a hot oven before they go into rigor. In Puerto Rico they do that with chickens too.
 
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vall

DIY
Premium Feather Member
Oct 5, 2020
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If you have a meat cleaver, use that - it only requires one hand. I consider it error proof. Your male - well, you'll have to pick a spot. Closer to the head is better.
 

Alaskan

The Frosted Flake
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Jul 26, 2008
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I hold the top of the body and the head in my left hand, slide a sharp knife between my fingers, and cut away from me through the bird's neck taking off the head.

My #2 son prefers the cleaver method. He just puts the bird down on a cutting board, whack goes the head.
 

NY Coturnix

Songster
May 12, 2020
391
546
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New York
I use a scissors and remove the head while holding the bird in my left hand. Just make sure you have the scissors where you want them and then make a quick deliberate cut to remove the head. Don't use dull scissors or it could slip causing several needed cuts. I do outside and hold over a garbage bag and let bleed out. You'll feel what seems like hard heavy breathing for about 20 seconds and then slowly stop. At that point I remove the wings and legs below then knee and skin. It literally takes about 4 min from start to finish. I have seen videos on plucking but I haven't tried that. I try to have a table with a garden hose and a bowl of ice set up before I start.
 

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