How I process Quail... My 6yr old helped... WARNING: Graphic Pics


11 Years
Nov 7, 2008
Southern Ohio
Well today my daughter wanted to learn how to process quail... She is 6... She also is in love with this site and loves everybody's pictures and loves learning! She wanted me to post pics of how I process quail so other kids like her can learn too... LOL So I told her if she would take pictures I would make a post for her...

WARNING: Some pictures below are graphic and may take a while to load on dial-up... I am a very visual person and need to see something to understand how to do it... So I had Lexi take a picture of every step... Also This is just a post to show how I process quail... There are other ways probably better than mine but this is how I found it easiest to do... and hope someone else may benefit from it as well...

So here is Lexi she will be the photographer today since mommy's hands will be working... And here is our birdie “Chicken Nugget” (She insisted on giving him a name so she will be able to remember him when he is gone!) He is a Texas A&M coturnix quail.


First I get my things together... I usually sit outside since it's calming and this is always nerve racking for me... I take a cutting board, a sharp knife, a couple of baggies to contain the mess (I use grocery store plastic bags), and a sharp pair of gardening pruners...


I open up a bag and set it out on top of the cutting board... then I hold the quail until he is fully calm... I thank him for being a good boy and providing us with dinner...


Then I take the gardening pruners and put the sharp edge to the front of his throat under his chin and the blunt end to the back of his neck... This is so the blunt end crushes his spinal cord breaking his neck so he feels no pain while the sharp edge cuts the skin in front so he can bleed out at the same time...


Then I count to three and sqeeze the handle then twist forward... this crushes the neck and bends it back to break and cut so the blood can drain...


Then release the handles... make sure his head is down so it drains in the bag... Otherwise it may spray out and make a mess... Most of the time it just drips slowly...


Then take your knife and finish cutting the head off...


Then let him drain for about 30 seconds... They don't have much blood maybe a spoonful or two and that's it.


Then take the bird and pull out the wing... Then take your pruners right next to his body where the wing and body connect and cut off the wing... Do this on both sides...


Then feel for the join on the legs right where the feathers begin... hold the bird up and cut below that joint...


Then I pluck the feathers... Most of the time I only pluck a few toward the bottom where I want to make my cut... But so you can have a better view I pluck almost all... I tend to only pluck towards the bottom because I plan on skinning the bird... but if you want to leave the skin on then you can go ahead and pluck all the feathers... With quail the feathers come off pretty easy when the bird is still warm so no need to scald in water like with chickens!



Then pulling back the legs feel the bird for the bottom of it's ribcage... it will be a V shape from the top of each leg going down to it's middle... you want to cut the skin here right along the line where my knife is...


Don't cut deep just knick the skin with your knife right in the middle of the bird under it's rib cage at the bottom of the V... then insert the blade and cut along up to the top of each leg...


Pulling the skin away you can then see a fatty membrain... Shown right here...


Cut along that membrane on both sides this will open up the birds bottom... be careful not to go too deep again just cut the membrane... Right below it is the birds intestines...



Then I pull the skin up and off the bird... Or you can skip this step and leave the skin on if you prefer...


Then as pulling the skin away from the neck you will find the crop... I fed my bird some bird seed as a treat right before we processed so you can see his crop is big and full...


Here is the crop highlighted you can see it's full of seeds... be careful not to pull it open or cut it if it's full...


I then make sure the crop is pulled up and take my pruners and cut the neck and crop off near the base of the bird...


Next comes the full part (notice I put my gloves on for this one) Now you want to take one finger and stick it inside the bird where you made the cut before... you are going to slowly scoop the sides out... they come out pretty easy so be gentle not to squish something... I just reach up hook and pull with my finger...



As you can see most came out with the first swoop... just keep doing this until you get everything out...


Then I make sure everything is pulled down and then I cut off the birds tail vent and insides with one snip this also removes the scent gland on the tail...


And that's it... Now to finish I just take it inside rinse it off with cold water then put it in a bowl of cold water with a touch of salt and put it in the fridge and leave it for a day... This pulls out any extra blood and leaves a nice clean bird to cook or freeze...




Thanks for letting me and Lexi share our day... Hope this is useful!


11 Years
Nov 7, 2008
Southern Ohio
You just witnessed the worlds biggest weenie processing a bird... You know I didn't think I had what it took to do it either... Even my hubby was shocked the first time I finally did it... (I didn't tell him I cried like a baby) But the first time I had a few hurt birds that was in a lot of pain and needed to be culled... So it had to be done and hubby was at work and wouldn't be home for hours... I didn't want the poor dears to suffer any more... And I also didn't want them to go to waist so After I culled them I fumbled my way through processing them...

It still is hard... today was the first time I didn't cry... LMBO I had to be strong for my little girl... But she turned out being stronger than me... LOL She is so brave...

I do feel good about knowing that the birds where happy and that my kids will have some really great food and not have to worry about what's in it... This thought helps put me at ease at the end of the day...


11 Years
Mar 25, 2008
Clarksville, North Florida
You are very right about knowing about where the food is coming from--I've sometimes considered raising quail and chickens for that myself--plus I think we all need to be able to fend for ourselves if something bad were to happen in the economy(spooky)! I don't know what the difference is--You buy a whole fryer in the store and it's still a dead chicken with it's insides in a bag--I guess it's just taking the animal with your own hand. Anyways I am now inspired to maybe try it one day.


11 Years
Jan 4, 2009
very interesting. around how many do you process at one time? and roughly how long will they last you? i mean i would imagine that for their size 2 could easily be eaten by one person for a meal?


10 Years
Feb 23, 2009
Just curious - do you think the same process could be used to process a chicken? I'd really like to do this myself too and I think the first two or three times would be the hardest.

I just about threw up the first time I incubated eggs and culled an egg I thought was no good and when I cracked it to look at it there was a tiny completely formed chick inside

This last time though, I thought I would not be able to open my eggs that did not hatch but when I did realize they were dead, I was curious to look and see them and it was a complete learning experience for me.

Nice job, btw - your daughter took phenomenol pictures for a six year old

Chicken Fruit

10 Years
Feb 25, 2009
Echo Homestead
I had wanted to get quail for eating, but i thought... theres no way i could handle processing it...

And here is a 6 year old doing it.

Okay okay okay. Time to get over myself.

I loved this post, I'll be sticking it in my favorites. I wish there was a similar post with pictures and step by step process for processing chickens.

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