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Thinking of raising quail for meat, but...

Discussion in 'Quail' started by DelBlueHen, Dec 3, 2013.

  1. DelBlueHen

    DelBlueHen Chirping

    Sep 25, 2013
    ...for those of you who eat them, did you have the "creeps" or qualms about actually harvesting and dressing them out? I'm such a critter lover and am wondering how anyone in my shoes handled it.

  2. owlett5

    owlett5 In the Brooder

    Aug 15, 2007
    Turner, Maine
    I just recently had to thin a few males out of my flock for the first time myself. At first I was a little nervous, I mean no one wants to hurt them. There's a good forum post on BYC about how to process a quail.

    Some people use sharp kitchen shears and cut the head off, some bonk them on the counter top to stun them before cutting. I found the fastest way to do it was to hold the bird, supporting the body with one hand, and hold the head with another. Then I quickly let go of the hand holding the bird and give the hand holding the quail's head a quick flick. It breaks their neck instantly, and I'm sure they
    don't feel it.

    It's normal to be nervous. I was shaky after the first time. I just remind myself that my birds had a really good life, better than if they'd been raised on a factory farm. And they didn't feel any pain. Something has to die so something else can live. The least we can do is give our birds the best life possible and be thankful for the sacrifice they made so we could eat another day.
    1 person likes this.
  3. 1000yearoldeggs

    1000yearoldeggs Chirping

    Sep 13, 2013
    western pa
    I'm going through the same problem. I just recently realized I probably have 4 males out of 5 of my quail. I'm not sure on the youngest one yet. I didn't name them, so I figure that will make it easier. I highly doubt anyone around my area would want just a few males, so I'll probably have to process them at some point. I never really killed anything before, so this will be a new and maybe sad experience for me.

    They're starting to get a little aggressive around each other, so that helps my decision a lot. Good luck to you, I'm still not 100% sure I can do it.
  4. DelBlueHen

    DelBlueHen Chirping

    Sep 25, 2013
    Thanks for your advice. It does make me feel better.
  5. DelBlueHen

    DelBlueHen Chirping

    Sep 25, 2013
    Thank you; you are exactly where I am (except I don't actually have any quail yet). Good luck to you, too. Maybe reading other posts on this thread will help you, as well as me.
  6. teradragon

    teradragon Chirping

    This is my plan and I have watched videos and read threads and I think I would do the hands on way - everyone else says I won't be able to do it... only time will tell. My eggs might not even hatch yet! [​IMG]

    Here is the video I found useful... Please be warned - it contains graphic material!
  7. dc3085

    dc3085 Crowing

    I grew up processing all manner of animals on the farm so maybe I'm a little detached on the subject, but a couple of suggestions that might save your feelings from getting scuffed up.

    Wring their necks your first few goes, this method has been working for thousands of years. Feeling the scissors go through the spine isn't for the faint of heart and it has to be done swiftly.

    In your mind you must be totally committed to the act. It makes it easier on you and the animal. Firm grip, don't let it slip out of your hand or your going to feel bad.

    It is very likely the head will come off in your hand. Try to pick the bird up immediately so as to avoid bruising of the meat. Grab it by the feet. There isn't much blood in a quail but this is a good time to let what there is drain.

    It's ok to be nervous, I'd be more worried if you weren't. However you can and should feel good about what you are doing. There is no better food than that produced with your own labor, you know everything that went into that meat and today that is something to value.

    Processing an animal is not something that is ever going to stop being unpleasant but you will come to tolerate it.

    Unless you are very patient or have a plucker I would suggest just cutting the wing and legs off, peeling the skin by hand and cutting the spine down both sides with a pair of scissors. Its very quick and you lose no meat at all. It's great to leave the skin but time consuming.

  8. James the Bald

    James the Bald Songster

    Jan 6, 2013
    Here is my take on the subject. I am a "hunter"; I've been hunting for about 23 years or so. I have no antlers on display in my home; I usually put the antlers on a fence or in a tree so squirrels can chew them for minerals (and to give them something other than my telephone line to chew on). I will not kill something that I am no going to consume. Before I take my shot, I ensure that I make a clean kill, so as not to allow the animal to suffer. When I collect the animal, weather it is a rabbit, squirrel or deer, I thank it for providing for my family. I won't hunt birds as I know any birds (dove, duck, goose, etc) not killed cleanly will eventually scurry off and suffer a horrible death. I think about the same thing with quail. I will not disrespect the quail by allowing it to suffer when I prepare to process it for the table. My 16yo daughter and 7yo son each have a quail that I allow to keep as pets, and neither of them will be processed for the table (the quail, not the kids[​IMG]). All quail are kept 6 to a cage (24" X 36") with the exception of the 2 pets, who enjoy their own 24 x 24 cage. With the exception of the 2 pets, I will not allow any one in the family to name any of the quail. Naming a quail just makes the processing a little tougher. So far, I've dispatched 4 roos and 1 very agressive hen. This hen could not be penned with another other hen without a fight that resulted in an injury, so I had no choice but to put her down. Tomorrow, I will be dispatching several roos to make room for some quail that hatched on Veterans day.

    I hope this helps. Here is a link to one of our members processing quail with her 6 year old daughter helping.
    1 person likes this.
  9. PinkBee

    PinkBee In the Brooder

    Apr 23, 2012
    Southwest Florida
    Del, I'm in the same spot. I'm determined to raise quail for eggs and meat. I have 29 eggs in the incubator atm and, if more males than a small handful (that's about 4 for quail babies, right?) hatch, I know I'll have to process some. Which is part of my plan. I've been reading everything. Psyching myself into it ("I KNOW I can do this" kind of thing.) Talking with my kids (one is perfectly fine with trying this, she's my junior naturalist and has been working with eagles and hawks since she was 13 so has handled a lot of dead food animals, meanwhile the other is threatening to become a vegetarian.) I think that's just the best way to go about it. I've yet to decide what way to actually do the deed (I'd only thought scissors were the option until I just read about twisting their neck), but I'm not keen on the idea of rapping their heads first as I'll bet I'd mess that one up and hurt them more. So, anyway, know you're not alone and that this is something others struggle with. Otoh, I do believe that a moment of discomfort for me is better than continuing to support an industry that provides a lifetime in horrible, inhumane conditions for other birds.
  10. flg8r

    flg8r Chirping

    Jul 30, 2013
    I feel the same way as all of you. I had help processing my first four. (I could clean but not kill.) I felt like I needed to in order to be okay selling them for meat. I didn't want to have someone come to pick them up and then freak out that I couldn't do it. I still don't know if I can kill them myself. I'm trying to become okay with it. I'm up to about 23 quail now. If I hatch more, I will have to dispatch the males so I'll have to psych myself up before I incubate again. When they start crowing and fighting, it's a little easier to know they have to go.

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