There are, I suppose, three primary ways to breed a female. 1) Put a female in heat and a male together and just let Mother Nature run it's course. This works pretty well for strays, I am assuming here, and many "backyard breeders". 2) The Old School way: put them together on days 10, 12, and 14. This too has worked for many breeders for many years, but not all females ovulate at this point in their cycle and using this method can result in small litters or missed breedings all together. 3) Use progesterone testing. This is the only method which scientifically quantifies when and what is actually happening in the female's body, which tells the breeder what to expect and when to expect it. As you may have guessed, we use option three: Progesterone Testing.
Why is this important? We have two main factors involved. Egg and Sperm viability. Some females "run fast" and ovulate before day 10. Some "run slow" and ovulate well after day 10. The canine egg takes forty-eight to sixty hours after ovulation to be ready for conception, and remains viable for up to three days. In total from ovulation you have about five days to get the job done. So knowing when the window of opportunity is open is absolutely key. In particular, when you know it takes Sperm time to capacitate and they too have a finite window of viability. Generally, sperm can be expected to be viable in the female up to seven days for a live mating. For chilled and frozen semen the timeline is much tighter with sperm viability being around 24 hours for chilled and only 12 hours for frozen.
Like two ships at sea wishing to exchange passengers while remaining in motion, there is an optimal time for this to happen, the further we get away from the optimal window of opportunity the lower the odds of success. As you might imagine, just like the passenger exchange. Too early, not all of them will make it, too late you get the same effect, but for different reasons. In the sweet spot as many that could make it will. So having everything in place at the right time really matters.
Finally its Game On! Tule surprised us by coming into heat this past Monday and Powder followed suit today :) So we will be VERY busy this summer with hopefully 2 healthy litters of puppies. These due dates are approximate, but both litters should be here the first week in June. For more information, just give us a ring.
When you shoot lots of game birds, you get to eat lots of game birds. This is a twist on a New Mexican staple, Posole, a hearty and comforting soup which is a personal favorite. I am guessing it will become a favorite of yours as well.
SERVINGS: 4 - 8
- 4 cups canned whole hominy (from three 15-ounce cans); may use 1 1/2 cups dried hominy, soaked in water overnight
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (or use fat renderings from 3 or 4 strips of bacon which you use to make bacon bits)
- 1 1/4 pounds quail (pheasant or chicken)
- 1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
- 4 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 4 teaspoons)
- 1 Chipotle medium/fine chop (1-4 spoons of adobo sauce to taste)
- 1 cup Hatch (New Mexico green) chili peppers, stemmed, seeded and coarsely chopped
- 4 cups homemade or no-salt-added chicken broth
- Kosher salt to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Garnish with some shredded cheddar blend, Monterrey Jack, crumbled Queso Fresco, a few chopped green onions and some freshly made bacon bits and maybe some pork carnitas if you happen so have some...
If using canned hominy, pour it into a colander, rinse it with water and allow it to drain. If using dried hominy, place it in a 6-quart pot and cover with water by 3 inches. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat and cook for about 2 hours, adjusting the heat to keep the water barely bubbling around the edges and adding water as needed. The hominy is done when the kernels have softened and begun to burst.
Heat the peppercorns, cumin seeds and coriander seeds in a small skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently and watching carefully to prevent burning. When the mixture is fragrant and lightly browned, after 1 to 2 minutes, transfer it to a spice grinder and grind into a coarse powder. If you must, use pre-ground spices and toast with care.
Make some homemade bacon bits using 3 or 4 strips of bacon chopped and carefully rendered. Reserve a few tablespoons of the fat, or heat the oil in a large stock pot over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the quail pieces in batches and cook on all sides until browned, transferring the finished pieces to a plate or bowl as you go.
When all of the quail has browned, add the onion, garlic and chilies to the stock pot. Cook until the vegetables are softened and begin to brown slightly, about 5 minutes. Add the ground spices and the chicken pieces (along with any accumulated juices); cook for 1 minute, to heat through and to make the spices fragrant.
Add the cooked posole and broth. Bring the broth to a boil, then reduce the heat so that the liquid is barely bubbling around the edges. If using canned hominy, cook for 10 to 15 minutes; if using dried hominy, cook for about 1 hour. The soup is done when the hominy is completely cooked through. Taste, and season with salt and pepper as needed. Garnish with shredded cheese.
Serve with warmed, lightly toasted, fresh tortillas on the side.
When you spend fifty to eighty days afield hunting upland birds, your freezer will eventually be filled with the delicious and tender meat of wild game birds. You can substitute any kind of game bird for this recipe, but I prefer to use quail, Mearns Quail to be exact. Their breasts require only a light thump from the heal of your hand to ensure perfect and uniform thickness throughout.
- About about 1 pound of game bird meat (preferably breast fillets)
- All-purpose flour, for dredging
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 ounces prosciutto, thinly sliced
- 8 ounces crimini or porcini mushrooms, stemmed and halved
- 1/2 cup sweet Marsala wine
- 1/2 cup chicken stock
- 2 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
- Fettuccine noodles (optional)
1. Over a sheet of plastic wrap, place the breast meat side by side then lay a second piece of plastic wrap over them; gently "pound" quail meat with the heal of your hand, do not "pound out" quail tenderloins at all. Pheasant and chicken will likely need the use of the flat side of a meat mallet, until they are uniform in thickness (about 1/4-inch thick for chicken or Phez).
2. Cut your prosciutto slices into narrow strips, cutting from short side to short side.
3. Prepare your chicken stock, it is perfectly okay to have extra stock on hand, in particular if you would like to have some extra sauce.
4. Now might be a good time to put your fettuccine noodles on so they are ready if you are so inclined to serve your Marsala on a bed of noodles.
5. Put some flour in a shallow platter and season with a fair amount of salt and pepper; mix with a fork to distribute evenly.
6. Heat your oil over medium-high flame in a large skillet. When the oil is nice and hot, dredge both sides of the cutlets in the seasoned flour, shaking off the excess. Slip the cutlets into the pan and fry on each side until golden about 2 or 3 minutes per side, turning once – do this in batches if the pieces don't fit comfortably in the pan. Remove the cutlets to a large platter in a single layer to keep warm.
7. Lower the heat to medium and add the prosciutto to the drippings in the pan, saute for 1 minute to render out some of the fat. Then, add the mushrooms and saute until they are nicely browned and their moisture has evaporated, this will take about 5 minutes; season with salt and pepper.
8. Carefully pour the Marsala in the pan, it can flame up, and boil down for a few seconds to cook out the alcohol. Add the chicken stock and simmer to reduce the sauce slightly.
9. Once reduced, stir in the butter and return your cutlets to the pan; simmer gently for 1 minute to heat the cutlet through.
10. Serve over a bed of al dente fettuccine. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with chopped parsley before serving.
Need to clear out your fridge? Or just want to feed a group of people some quail? Look no further, but beware, you’ll never want to look at a chicken nugget again and you may not be able to look at a quail without thinking of your deep fryer...
- A limit of quail, breasted, cleaned and with the tenderloin separated.
- 1 egg beaten
- 1 cup of buttermilk
- 1-1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
- 1/2 to 1 cup of all purpose flour (to your liking)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 quart of oil for frying / whatever your deep fat fryer needs
- 2 Large resealable bags
Trim your quail breasts so that your nuggets are roughly bite and equally sized. This will ensure they all fry at the same rate, and ensure maximum tenderness. Place your prepared quail into a large resealable bag. In a bowl mix the egg, buttermilk, and garlic powder. Pour the mixture in with the quail, seal and refrigerate an hour or so. In a second resealable bag mix the flour, bread crumbs, salt, and baking powder. When you are ready to go, drain the quail, discarding the wet mixture, then place the quail into the dry ingredient mixture bag. Shake. Find your quail nugget and fry until GB&D (Golden Brown and Delicious).
Still not good enough for you? Then pick up some Idaho fry sauce for dipping. So your corner store doesn't carry the stuff, then whip up a batch of your own, I don’t think you’ll regret it.
Kick butt dipping sauce:
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- 1/8 cup ketchup
- ¼ TB (Tablespoon) plus ¼ TS (Teaspoon) Worcestershire sauce
- ¼ TS garlic powder
- Pinch of salt
- ¼ TS black pepper
For the sauce: Gather ingredients and mix them in a small bowl.
P.S. Beware: this recipe may cause you to become a compulsive quail hunter!
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