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Thread: Fresh pheasant roadkill - advice wanted - and a few pics

  1. #1

    Default Fresh pheasant roadkill - advice wanted - and a few pics

    Hi folks.
    Today I was given a roadkill pheasant (a cock) and I'm looking for advice on what to do with it.

    As far as I know it was picked off the road very soon after being hit, the blood was still runny and when I took it out of the carrier bag it'd been put in, it was still slightly warm, so "fresh".
    His wingspan is about 30 inches. (Roughly 13 inches from shoulder to wingtip).

    Now, I've never eaten pheasant, and this will be the first animal I butcher.

    I've seen Kill it, Cook it, Eat it... but that's about all the experience I have. (That'd be "none" then)


    I've got a few questions.

    I understand younger birds have a "bursa" just above the anal vent and older ones don't, but I've no idea what either are meant to look like. It's a fairly big bird though so I'm guessing it's an older one.
    Is there something that can show me how to find the bursa to see if it's young or old?

    Whether it is young or old, what's a good way to cook it for a first time taste?
    (For the record, I'm not going to be hanging it for ages. I know it's meant to "improve" the meat in some way, but I've not quite squared away the idea of eating part rotten meat yet so will probably have it quite fresh)

    When I paunch it, what am I looking for to check it's not got anything nasty that should stop me eating it?
    Other than being dead, it looks like a healthy animal from the outside, bright colours and lovely plumage.

    In a PM exchange with Toddy, she said it'd be worth checking the bowel hasn't burst in the impact (I imagine a ton of 60mph steel would do a fair bit of damage - poor thing) - is it really obvious what's what in there? Having never seen inside an animal in person before I'm not entirely sure what to look for, though I remember a fair bit from GCSE biology.

    When I gut it, is there any part worth keeping for any other use (food or otherwise)?

    The crop feels like there's something in there (though I've never felt one before so I'm only going on what I expect, not experience). How much does the bird's diet matter? I don't expect to see the kind of muck an urban pigeon would have eaten, but is there anything that should be off-putting in there?


    Here follow some pictures to help you age the bird and just share in the beauty of it. It's always such a shame to see such lovely creatures killed on the roads - it was a pretty fast road though, and being found so fresh in the middle of the road probably suggests a quick death, which is a plus.

    I didn't get around to taking shots in daylight so it's all with flash, the full colour of the feathers hasn't come out, but it looks lovely in the sunlight.













    Not the best shots I've ever taken, but I couldn't get him to pose on command so I had to use one hand while trying to shoot what I wanted, not the easiest thing to do.

    If you have any suggestions on non-food use for other bits of the bird please let me know.

    Cheers folks.

  2. #2
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    Most meat that you buy from the butchers has been hung. For beef it should be for at least 21 day's if I remember right. For the pheasant though I'd take some of the guy's that shoot's advice, they'll be way more up on the subject than me.


    As for the other parts of the bird:

    Feathers can be used for fishing flies equalling more food

    Bones could be turned into needles (I think)
    Last edited by alpha_centaur; 04-05-2009 at 11:04.
    Not all who wander are lost

  3. #3
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    Smile

    you have the best thing to cook it in right behind it red wine.
    go out into the garden, lay the bird on its back feet in the air, so that the wings fall back stand on the wings with your feet as close to the body as you can get them, grabbing both legs pull hard and slow, the main body, feathers, guts etc will come away leaving you with nice skinned breast meat chop wings off.
    place onions and garlic in a pan with some salt and pepper, fry till onions are soft, add breasts and brown on both sides adding a drop red wine, let simmer for about 5 mins ready.

  4. #4
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    hanging a bird is fine. I myself was a bit queasy about the idea first time and left it for a day before the thought of eating "Rotten" meat had me ripping the carcass down and getting it cooked! The next two I got off of Bernie and left them up for ten days, it was meant to be a week as I was making them for my 'rents but they didn't come round so they stayed up a bit longer. The meat is not rotting per se, and does not smell bad when you draw and skin it any worse than a freshly killed bird would.

    Preparing a bird isn't all too difficult, but the problems you'll come across are different to me as I only ever prepared a shot bird. In essence, what you do is chop the wings off at the 'shoulder' as there isn't much meat on there. You could stock them down, but it's more efort than it's worth IMO! Chop the feet off, then rip the skin off, feathers and all. If you try plucking the bird, it will rip. Pheasant skin is really fragile, save yourself the hassle and mess and take the skin off in one go.

    Remove the neck and crop, make sure you get it all out. Then, take a slim, sharp knife and open the vent at the rear, grab a hold of what's inside and pull it out. This is where you may need to take a good look at the innards, but to be honest if you wash it out then you'll have no problems.

    Trust your nose, if something really smells bad then discard it straight away. I did a pigeon that Bernie brought to a British Blades meet last year and it smelt absolutely vile to me. I was convinced it was bad but Bernie took the mickey until he had a good whiff of it and agreed. It went over the hedge for the fox!

    There is another, quicker method to do pheasant. Splay its' wings on the floor and step on each one, get your foot right up into the shoulder. Grab a hold of it by the feet (watch those spurs!) and pull as hard as you can. From what I am told, this method leaves a pile of guts, neck and wings on the floor, and the feet and body in your hands.

    Anyway, here's a vid!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U79T2ILCakQ

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    When I paunch it, what am I looking for to check it's not got anything nasty that should stop me eating it?

    No 1 check is the liver, Check that it is clean shiny and smooth surfaced. If its knobbly, has cauliflower like lumps or has white spots or blotches then bin the whole animal.
    AH..... The Great Outdoors......Its for everyone you know, even those who want to stay indoors and look at it through the window.

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    Here yo go Big Shot - a step by step tutorial

    http://foodwaterandfire.ludlowsurviv...anddpheas.html

    Red
    Quote Originally Posted by Macaroon
    There are too many people with a mouth full of much obliged and a hand full of gimme who bang on about rights but have no clue as to responsibilities

  8. #8

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    Somehow I knew you guys would come up with the goods here.


    Just to make sure I've got it right...
    When hanging a bird you do leave the guts in don't you? I know rabbits and other mammals (deer for example) are paunched in the field, but don't recall seeing anything about doing the same for fowl.
    Without wanting to stray too far off-topic, why the difference?


    Barney
    That's exactly the kind of information I was looking for.
    I went to that BodyWorks exhibition in Dublin a couple of months ago (you know, the real human bodies and parts on display - pretty controversial) and was amazed that despite never having seen the bits before, i could tell which ones were diseased even without seeing a healthy example or reading the text.
    Might I ask what the cauliflower like lumps, white splotches or blotches mean? Obviously some sort of illness, but what exactly?


    Alpha Centaur
    You've persuaded me to hang it a tad longer then. I've read about people hanging birds by the neck until the head comes off and the meat is a bit slimy - the thought of that almost makes me feel like a bit of dry-heaving for effect.
    It's spent a day in a warm-ish house, a night in the garden shed and I'll either dress it this evening or some time tomorrow I think.
    I'm still not leaving it too long for now (especially having been indoors for a while) but will leave it a tad longer than I was going to.

    Is there any way to treat or prepare the bones before using/storing them to use as needles or other things?
    I'll probably have a go at making some flies too. My brother does a fair bit of bait fishing


    Adderrustler
    Sounds like a nice recipe. Any suggestion what to do with the other non-breast meat? Seems a shame to only use the breast. I'm not exactly the world's biggest fan of leg meat on a chicken, much preferring the breast, but I'd like to try a few bits of this while I've got the chance.


    Spamel
    Thanks for the videos and the answer about hanging.
    The stand-on-wings method is amazing. I don't think I'll try it this time around as I'd like to use as much as possible - feathers included - so will probably pluck it before the insides start coming out so I can keep them clean.
    Good point on the smell. I've never smelled a pheasant before, so the aroma is strange to me anyway, but if I get any wiff of something being rotten or otherwise not right I'll be chucking it for sure.


    British Red
    That step by step is incredibly clear. I always respond well to really clear steps like that as I'm a rather visual learner. I can follow text reasonably well, but if I can see it, draw it or something it goes from "will probably remember" to "not going to forget".


    Thanks all.

  9. #9

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    Just remembered - I had another look at the pheasant when I was hanging it up out in the shed last night...
    One eye was open (it must have opened after I took the above photos... maybe he's waking up?) and despite being "dead" (you know, the dead look they take on, very very different from a healthy, living bird's eye - I don't really know how to explain it or the difference) it looks shiny and good. Another good sign I think.

  10. #10
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    Hey Bigshot I am not a vet or trained in any way whatsoever. I posted those post mortem observation cautions based on anecdotal Information gathered over a number of years from different people, one of whom was my Nan when I was kid watching her clean rabbits. (I don't know where she will have got the info from either). Over the years this has been confirmed by a couple of people, mostly wildfowlers, who have been far more prolific hunters than I will ever be. I think they are just general guides to health and wellbeing of the animal rather than indicative of any particular malaise. If they are indicative of particular diseases I am not in a position to offer advice or guidance on what they may be.

    A quick Google search on diseases affecting pheasants shows up a remarkable number of afflictions that are signposted in an abnormal liver, some of which are botulism, TB and many others.

    Try this link for further Photographic guidance.
    http://www.nwhc.usgs.gov/publication...chapter_12.pdf.

    I have seen the liver spots only this year so its not impossible to come across infected animals and like I said earlier my experience of dead animals on no account can be considered prolific.

    Hope this helps
    AH..... The Great Outdoors......Its for everyone you know, even those who want to stay indoors and look at it through the window.

  11. #11

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    Thanks for the response Barney.
    As for Botulism and TB - I think I'd rather not get those. They sound like the sort of things that could really ruin your day.

    Anyway, I'm going out to get on with it now. I'll probably go with the method shown in the page British Red linked, http://foodwaterandfire.ludlowsurviv...anddpheas.html as it'll give the most complete bird to try this time around. Next time I get a bird (hopefully there'll be plenty of chances) I'll try some of the other methods.

    Now I just need to decide how to cook it. Tough one that.

    I've got it down to adderrustler's suggestion, roast and pot-roast. The three recipes all look REALLY nice - so hard to choose.

  12. #12
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    You've probably cooked it by now, but don't cook it in too fierce a heat. It'll dry out and be a bit of a chore to eat! I find that coking it in a covered stoneware pot and taking it out five minutes before it's ready but leaving it in the stone pot covered leaves the pheasant cooked to perfection yet moist and very tasty.

    i hope you enjoy it, it's a great tasting bird.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigShot View Post
    Somehow I knew you guys would come up with the goods here.


    Alpha Centaur
    You've persuaded me to hang it a tad longer then. I've read about people hanging birds by the neck until the head comes off and the meat is a bit slimy - the thought of that almost makes me feel like a bit of dry-heaving for effect.
    It's spent a day in a warm-ish house, a night in the garden shed and I'll either dress it this evening or some time tomorrow I think.
    I'm still not leaving it too long for now (especially having been indoors for a while) but will leave it a tad longer than I was going to.

    Is there any way to treat or prepare the bones before using/storing them to use as needles or other things?
    I'll probably have a go at making some flies too. My brother does a fair bit of bait fishing
    Hope you've enjoyed your pheasant. I'm guessing that it'll have made its way to the pot by now. Concerning the bones I really don't know. I know more about flies than primative skills . I'd maybe take a look at paleo planet or post another thread on here somebody will know what to do with the bones.

    But hazarding a guess as to what to do with the bones prior to storing them I would think clean any meat fluids off them and then give them a scrub with salt water, then air dry. This is purely guesswork though.
    Not all who wander are lost

  14. #14

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    Hey folks.
    I've not eaten it yet, no. It's in the fridge all plucked, gutted and butchered waiting for me to cook it.
    Chances are I'll do it tomorrow evening.

    Spamel
    What kind of heat would you suggest? (Gas mark preferred but I can convert from degrees if that's what you know.)
    Also, how long would you expect it to take? Having never roasted one before it's hard to know how long it'll take before it's just right, or 5 minutes before that too.
    I've decided I'm probably going to roast it this time, I'll save the more fancy recipes until my next taste of pheasant, but I'd quite like to see what the bird itself tastes like without too many frills.


    alpha_centaur
    I'm sure I'll enjoy it after today's adventure to clean it out.
    I'd gladly take any advice or links you have about flies (links I suppose, I expect there's going to be a lot of info to get across, probably a bit much for a single forum post)



    Well, today was quite an experience. I suddenly have much warmer feelings towards some of the vegetarians on Kill it, Cook it, Eat it. Having now experienced the whole process (bar the kill) for myself I can fully understand why anyone would find it rather grim, and more so appreciate how it would distrub a moral vegetarian (I still don't forgive the disrespectful remarks and dry wretching, but apart from that...).
    I'm glad I had the chance to butcher an animal without the responsibility of the kill, as if I hadn't been able to do this I can't see how I could justify making the kill myself either. As it stands I did ok and now feel I would be able to do it to my own kill when the time comes.

    Thanks a lot to all of you who've responded in here and by PM, your replies really made the whole process much easier.

    Cheers.

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