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Author Topic: Game Birds - Need Help Please  (Read 1914 times)


  • Joined Apr 2014
Game Birds - Need Help Please
« on: November 29, 2017, 10:41:57 am »
Morning all, been offered a selection of game birds from a friend for nothing – only trouble is they are full birds and need plucking/gutting/hanging or whatever they need doing to turn them into a nice oven/freezer ready bit of meat. Due to a forthcoming holiday and lack of space at home, preparing them is not an option – anybody recommend anywhere what to do with these so we can take advantage of the offer and not waste them?

We are in West Yorkshire.

Game available for collection tomorrow so need to move quickly if anybody can help?


I have posted this in 2 forums, please let me know if not allowed.

Steph Hen

  • Joined Jul 2013
  • Angus Scotland.
Re: Game Birds - Need Help Please
« Reply #1 on: November 29, 2017, 10:33:45 pm »
Worst case, could you just cut out breasts for your freezer? I have done this with geese, pigeons and pheasant, etc. It wastes a lot compared with fully prepping each bird, but takes only minutes to do (you'll get very quick), is compact for freezer compared to whole birds and easy to cook with at later date. Saves all the plucking, gutting, mess, etc.


  • Joined Jun 2016
Re: Game Birds - Need Help Please
« Reply #2 on: October 07, 2018, 10:48:42 pm »
With the start of a new game season I thought I would add a simple guide to this post in case it helps anyone else is offered a few birds for free.

Firstly be aware few game dealers are offering anything for Pheasant these days - some won’t even take them for free from shoots - go beating for a day and you may find you gets as many as you want at the end.

Hanging birds - everybody has an opinion it is down to taste. Never hang a bird that is badly damaged just process straight away. Put simply hanging makes the meat more tender and imparts the game flavour. Hang by the by neck (as a brace is easier) in a cool dry fly free area. If warm hang for a shorter time if freezing cold longer is fine. I only like a light to moderate game taste so these are my preferred times.

Pigeon zero to 2 days
Partridge 1 to 3 days
Pheasant 1 to 4 days
Duck no more than 2 days (bacteria in gut are different to other birds)
Goose (lucky you) 2 to 4 days.

Plucking is a pain by hand so I just breast birds and use the rest for stock etc.

Lie bird on its back grab a pinch of skin just above the vent and cut through to make a hole big enough to get 2 fingers in.

Put fingers in and pull skin and feathers back towards neck. Easy with Pheasant harder with duck.

You now have something that looks familiar  like a skinned on the bone chicken. With a sharp knife follow the breast bone down and cut each one off.

With practice you can get to this stage in a minute a bird. Next bit is optional and can take 5 mins but I like to make as much use of an animal as possible.

Cut off wings, legs above knee and neck as low as poss with sharp secateurs

Undress bird of remaining skin and feathers with your hands - should just pull off with a bit of wriggling around legs.

Put your hand or fingers inside the cavity and grab the windpipe and pull - all the gut should come out as one. Cut out heart liver lungs with scissors if you want, either add to stock pot or if doing a few birds use for terrine/pate.

Chop up carcass and add to stock pot - don’t bother with trimming off legs - as a rule they are not worth it if it is truly a wild bird.

There is no mystery to doing a game bird - just crack on you can’t really go wrong. Pheasant is the easiest and any chicken recipe will work.

Hope this helps someone have the confidence to have a go - if you shoot game you should eat it!


  • Joined Jun 2013
  • South Wales .Carmarthenshire. SA18
Re: Game Birds - Need Help Please
« Reply #3 on: October 09, 2018, 02:33:07 am »
Hang the birds in a place where dogs, cats & rats cannot get to the bird.

 One Sunday morning after a Saturdays  walk up shooting day I found a brace of cock pheasants in the shed swinging about that had rather strange legs & breasts and  loads of feathers all over the floor . 
What was making the breasts & legs look so strange were our two farm moggies , "Norton & Harley "  hanging on to them whilst having a quick snack .
Strong belief , triggers the mind to find the way ... Dyslexia just makes it that bit more amusing & interesting


  • Joined Oct 2010
Re: Game Birds - Need Help Please
« Reply #4 on: November 02, 2018, 08:09:02 pm »
I've been there also!
Had a pheasant hung up in the garage and went in one day to find just the legs hanging there. My collie dog had beaten me to it.

However, on the subject of plucking and gutting - just look it up on U tube! All information is there and it's much easier to watch something being done than to try and follow a written account. Especially with hands covered in goo. 
Rules are made:
  for the guidance of wise men
  and the obedience of fools.


  • Joined Jun 2016
Re: Game Birds - Need Help Please
« Reply #5 on: November 02, 2018, 08:42:33 pm »
To be fair the effort expended in writing it was to hopefully inspire someone to accept the offer of game birds and demystify what to do with them. Sure watch YouTube there are plenty of videos out there, or just print out the post - no goo on phone pausing and restarting a video!

If anyone is in Cumbria/Lancs and wants a hands on demo I’m more than happy to show them. No need to have birds, providing you are flexible on dates I can provide those and you can take away some nicely vac packed game for the freezer.

All about getting folks away from supermarket chicken and trying game birds which can be free if you search around or do a favour in return.


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