This is our first time butchering quails despite homesteading for more than six years. This is How to Butcher Quail!
I had an excellent explanation, though it's almost too embarrassing to share with everyone.
Because Prairie Husband has a terrible allergy to all poultry flesh, despite the fact that we have raised laying hens for a very long time. Therefore, since he couldn't eat quails, we didn't need to raise any for meat (and I never felt like cooking two separate meals). Therefore, it was beef and pork. a long, long time.
On the recommendation of a few close friends, he sought out NAET treatment last year, and the acupuncture method genuinely helped him overcome his quails allergy. (Yes, I am aware that if I hadn't seen it with my own two eyes, I also would not have believed it... That is crazy.) However, we'll cover that in a another post.
So there we were: homesteaders with some experience but total novices in the realm of meat birds.
You ask, "What did we do?"
So we made a 5-year plan to learn about meat birds, then take courses in raising meat birds, then a few courses on home-butchering, with the goal of raising our first batch of birds on the homestead within the following 5 to 10 years.
Hold on a moment. You didn't really think that, though, did you? You must understand me better than that.
No, instead we hurried out to the feed store, selected a variety of meat chicks, and made the decision to figure this baby out by trial and error.
I decided it was time to tell you guys some of our journey now that butchering day was done. I make no claims to How to Butcher Quail expertise, but I thought you might be interested in seeing some of our approach and some of the areas we want to focus on for the future.
Update: We've been slaughtering quails for a few years, and our procedure is effective. Check out our video if you want to see how our setup looks (caution: this is a slaughtering quails video, so there are shots of animals being processed for the freezer):
Is Killing Something You've Raised Simple?
Is it simple to kill a creature you've raised or How to Butcher Quail? No, it isn't. And I don't enjoy taking lives. But if we have made the decision to eat meat (for a variety of reasons), I think I should be willing to help with the production of it.
Anyone who consumes meat ought to participate in the process at least once, in my opinion.
Too many people consume meat without ever giving it a second thought, believing that the nicely packaged styrofoam packages at the shop would somehow magically conceal the reality that the meat was once consumed by a breathing, alive being.
If you're still struggling with the idea, I've gone into great detail about ethical meat consumption and production over here.
Furthermore, we don't keep death from the Prairie Kids a secret.
They are fully aware that the meat we consume was once alive and that the hamburger, pork chops, and other items on the table were from red steers, for example.
Because of the way we behave, they don't view butchering as disgusting or frightening.
They watched for a long and inquired while we killed these birds while they were present (Prairie Girl was especially interested in the anatomy part–it was a great homeschool science lesson).
They were both ecstatic to learn that the first bird we roasted from our crop was one of "our" quails, as well.
Best Tools How to Butcher Quail and
If we were going to have a meat bird enterprise, Christian was fairly keen that we would do it properly. We therefore decided to spend our money on some high-quality tools that would last us through a great number of butchering days:
(There are affiliate links in this post.)
- a lethal cone (a calmer, more humane alternative to the ax method)
- Lots of buckets for the blood, guts, feathers, etc.
- rinse the workplace and the birds using a hose or other water source.
- razor-sharp knives (we like this one)
- Avian shears (to remove head)
- fryer for turkey (to scald the birds and make plucking easier)
- tables made of stainless steel or another spotlessly clean and hygienic material
- heat shrink bags (reduces freezer burn and gives you a professional end result)
- a big cooler containing ice (to cool the birds before you bag them)
- Plucking machine (optional): We recently purchased one of these after finding a fantastic deal on Amazon. Although we haven't utilized them yet, I've heard they are game-changers.
Of course, you don't *really* need all of this to butcher a quail, and you could potentially do it with just an ax.
However, we wanted it to be as humane to use How to Butcher Quail(and effective) as possible, so we felt the expense of purchasing the right processing tools was worthwhile.
How to Butcher A Quails
1. Get the birds and processing area ready.
Keep the birds' food from them the night before to make sure they have an empty crop when you start.
Spend some time setting up your workspace the way you want it on slaughtering day; you'll thank yourself later for it.
Even though we only conducted a small batch this time, we were able to make the process considerably more efficient by creating an assembly line (death cone > scald > plucking table > evisceration table > chiller with ice).
Start boiling the water right away if you plan to scald (which I do advise). It should be between 150 and 160 degrees, which is hot enough to facilitate the easy extraction of the feathers without really cooking the bird.
2. Delivering the quails
After you've finished setting everything up, get a quail and put it in the cone with a bucket underneath to catch the blood.
The bird was facing the wall with its belly exposed (inside the cone). Grab the bird's head and quickly cut the side of its jaw with a (sharp!) knife (jugular).
To ensure that all of the blood drains into the bucket, hold the head in place. Await the bird's cessation of motion.
3. Scald the Bird
Immediately plunge the bird into the scalding water after the blood has been drawn out (this will take a minute or two). You can use a hook to swirl the bird about, or you can simply hold it by its feet.
The bird will usually require 3–4 minutes to be ready, depending on the temperature of the water.
When the skin on the foot's shank comes off with ease when you pinch it, you'll know it's ready.
Or you can grab a few feathers; if they pull out easily, you're ready to pluck. (I can't image trying to pluck without first scorching the bird; that makes it so much simpler.)
4. Remove the quail.
Placed the burned bird on the plucking table after removing it. The procedure is straightforward: just grab feathers and pull them out if you don't have a motorized quail plucker (we didn't at first).
As glamorous as it sounds, it really is. Once the majority of the larger feathers had been removed, we discovered that donning rubber gloves and swiping up and down the skin helped to capture some of the smaller, more obstinate feathers.
5. Clean the quail
After removing the legs, trim the head (we did this with shears). To avoid the bones and receive a clean cut, cut at the "valley" of the joint. Your knife will become dull if you strike a bone with it. The feet may also be cleaned and kept for use in quail stock.
You'll want to remove the oil gland on the bird's back because if it ruptures, the flavor of the meat will be affected. In order to remove it, cut down behind it and then "scoop" it out with your knife as shown here:
6. Remove quail's Guts (Evisceration)
Cut the skin with your knife at the base of the neck, just above the breastbone.
Find the throat, windpipe, and esophagus by placing your thumb down.
There will be a plentiful crop if you forget to deny the birds food.
A rupture should be avoided. (If by chance you do, simply rinse off the partially digested meal before continuing.) Separate the esophagus and windpipe from the neck cavity before rupturing the connective tissue surrounding the crop. The assembly should be left in place; do not remove it entirely.
Flip the bird over so you can work on the back end while it is still lying on its back. With both hands, rip open the carcass just above the vent.
Put your hand inside the corpse, remove the gizzard's fat, and then hook your finger around the esophagus from underneath.
You ought to now have a number of related inside organs after pulling this out. To pull out the entire intestines in one motion, cut down both sides of the vent and underneath.
Reenter now to take out the lungs, windpipe, or anything else that wasn't completely expelled at the initial exit.
To create a cute little package, cut a hole in the extra skin that is protruding from the back cavity. Next, tuck the legs up through the opening.
7. Cool the quails completely
Once finished, put each bird in an ice-filled cooler. (Alternatively, if your fridge has room, you could chill them there.) The birds must be kept cool and should be chilled as soon as feasible.
Some advise chilling for 16 to 24 hours before wrapping and freezing.
However, we only froze ours for 6 hours because we didn't have enough ice to accomplish this.
8. Prepare the quails for freezing in bags or wraps.
You should now wrap the food, label it, and put it in the freezer.
Heat shrink bags provide an extremely attractive end product and helped us avoid freezer burn.
The general procedure How to Butcher Quail is to put the chicken in the bag, submerge it briefly in boiling water, and then tie it tightly.
You'll want to follow the instructions on the bags you purchase. After placing in the freezer, you're done!