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Old November 22, 2018, 11:50 AM   #1
AL45
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Here's an odd question

I have a friend who has some land next to the city's run-off lake from the city sewer. The water has been through all the treatment but is still not considered safe for human consumption. It often has ducks on it and my friend has quail on this land which I enjoy hunting. I assume that these quail drink from this lake and was wondering if the water could effect their taste. Several years ago, some friends killed some Pheasants near a Dairy and when they cooked the birds, they stunk so bad they threw them away.
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Old November 22, 2018, 12:34 PM   #2
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The adage, "You are what you eat." applies to game just like it does to people. Mind you, how the critter was handled in the field matters too.
However, 'not safe for human consumption' has a lot of meanings. Bacteria counts, e coli, et al. There are acceptable amounts of contamination in processed food too. Rat hair, insect parts, etc. And there are sewage treatment plants and storm drain treatment plants. Ain't the same things.
Still don't think I'd eat those itty bitty, wee, small birds.
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Old November 22, 2018, 12:59 PM   #3
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The water coming from the local sewage treatment plants are clean enough to drink. They won't put it into the drinking system because there is a possibility that the systems that clean the water could malfunction and contaminated water could make it in the system. The pond you speak of is probably cleaner than any other water the birds have elsewhere.
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Old November 22, 2018, 01:43 PM   #4
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A lot off guys I now hunt in the wastewater. Nothing too it.
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Old November 22, 2018, 02:50 PM   #5
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I’d eat them
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Old November 22, 2018, 06:36 PM   #6
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Very high odds that it's had secondary treatment, which can be used for irrigation of grains. (Not recommended for root crops, mostly from conservative caution.) Typically, this water goes into the local watershed.

A taste test answers the basic question, of course.
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Old November 22, 2018, 11:12 PM   #7
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A taste test answers the basic question, of course.
Instructions unclear...My buddy pulled me away from pond just in time before I stuck drinking straw into the water...Yelled something about an amoeba that consumes brains? Or something like that?

LOL just joking, and yes there is a brain-invading amoeba out there so be careful about swimming or wading in bodies of freshwater. (Don't let water get into your nostrils) As a long time hog hunter who eats every hog he shoots, I have always wondered about the fact that hogs eat almost everything and I could have eaten a hog that has recently consumed carrion or feces or anything else. I have never let that thought affect my appetite, as I have yet to come upon wild-harvested pork that tasted funny or suspicious.

My Mom told me that when she was in kindergarten, there was a certain school bully who would tell the other kids in the cafeteria that all of the vegetables that they are eating at the moment are fertilized by "someone pouring doodoo all over them every single day". Of course, that would cause some of the kids to start looking at their food with hesitation, and that is when the bully would offer to "get rid of it" for them, and she would then have a couple of extra servings to herself. Pretty mean huh? But very innovative and cunning as all hell. That girl is probably an entrepreneur now...Or a politician...
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Old November 23, 2018, 01:22 AM   #8
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Cook it.
Eat it.
Make your own call.
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Old November 23, 2018, 09:20 AM   #9
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The lettuce recall/do not eat for the Romaine lettuce could be caused from treated waste water used to irrigate the fields it was grown in. I don't know where anyone got the idea that treated waste water was safe to drink, but it's not. However, it's still a free country. If anyone wants to drink treated sewer water...be my guest. You might be the next winner of the Darwin Award.
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Old November 23, 2018, 10:07 AM   #10
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The original question was about the taste of the quail. So, taste test.

Crops such as lettuce, beets, potatoes and such should not be irrigated with waste water which has had secondary treatment. To repeat, grain crops such as corn or wheat are okay. Tertiary treatment results in potable water.

Many golf courses are irrigated via secondary waste water.

FWIW: In sandy land, Ecoli do not survive beyond 100 feet from an outhouse. Faster and longer travel in fractured limestone.
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Old November 23, 2018, 02:08 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by AL45 View Post
Several years ago, some friends killed some Pheasants near a Dairy and when they cooked the birds, they stunk so bad they threw them away.
Pardon the pun.....but I have to call B.S. on that one. When I was a kid, we used to raise what yuppies now call "free range" chickens. Most of the grain they ate was picked/scratched outta cow pies in the pasture. They didn't smell nor taste like manure when cooked, even when having manure covered corn in their crops. Winter time around here, it's pretty common to see flocks of wild turkeys following the manure spreader from local dairy farmers. Have even shot a few of 'em off manure piles during late fall seasons with their crops full of manure covered corn. No different taste/smell when cooked than turkeys shot somewhere else. Funny, those turkey generally had more fat on them at that time of year than wild turkeys shot in areas where Ag grains were not available. Have you ever seen how domestic turkeys or commercial chicken operations work? Thousands of birds walking around on chicken/turkey manure, most all of their lives. Ain't no dairy farm I ever been on that smelled half as bad as the average chicken/turkey farm. Iffin the smell of a diary affected those pheasants so drastically, wouldn't it also affect the taste/smell of the milk from those cows on that stinky ol' Dairy farm?

Sometimes all one can do is shake their head..........
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Old November 23, 2018, 07:17 PM   #12
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A few points
* Treated waste water cannot be put into the water supply or used for contact irrigation (think sprinklers) of crops intended for human consumption. Federal law, goes back to the 1950s. Worries about viruses and failure of the wastewater treatment were primary concerns. I worked in a wastewater treatment plant in college, and the water that left the plant was cleaner than the river we put it into (measured TSS/BOD/PO4/NOx).

* Although to a certain extent "you are what you eat" (ducks who frequently eat from muddy water taste muddy, catfish from muddy water taste muddy while those from clear water do not), quail or pheasant eat seeds and such and I doubt they would acquire off flavors eating seeds grown in treated wastewater. I used to hunt by wastewater ponds and never noticed any problems with the ducks or quail I shot there.

* Free-range chickens feeding on seeds in cow pies would pretty much go hungry. Cows re-chew their food several times and digest it to a sloppy slurry. If the chickens were digging through cow pies, they were possibly after insect larvae. Horse droppings are a different story, they are full of all kinds of seeds and stuff. That's the story of how invasive house sparrows spread across the US.

* Commercial poultry operations used to routinely grind up carcasses and parts from slaughter operations and feed them back to the birds along with their feed. So if you think wild birds are somehow not as wholesome as commercially raised birds, just think of all the guts and feathers the domestic birds ate while growing up their whole short life.
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Old November 24, 2018, 11:11 AM   #13
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* Free-range chickens feeding on seeds in cow pies would pretty much go hungry. Cows re-chew their food several times and digest it to a sloppy slurry. If the chickens were digging through cow pies, they were possibly after insect larvae. Horse droppings are a different story, they are full of all kinds of seeds and stuff. That's the story of how invasive house sparrows spread across the US.
Over the years I have spread a lot of cow manure. Scraped a lot of it off the walks in the barn behind the stanchions. All contained a lot of undigested corn. More common in dairy cattle than beef as they are generally fed a much higher ration of grain in order to produce maximum milk production. When fed high amounts of corn, the cows only are able to digest a percentage of the starches....this is due to the fact that cows evolved eating grasses. They are not as effective at digesting whole grains as they are grasses. Beef cattle are generally "finished" with corn because it adds weight/fat to the meat, and most of us like a bit of fat on out meat. I guarantee you the reason one finds manure covered corn in the crops of chickens and turkeys is not because they like taste of poop. It's because there's a good amount of starch and protein left in it. Do chickens/turkeys get bugs from cow pies too? Sure, but not for several days as fresh poop only has the eggs in it, it takes several days for these eggs to hatch. This is why those birds go back to older cow pies.

Doesn't really matter tho.....those bugs are covered with manure too, so if there was a cause effect from eating manure, or being around manure, the flavor of those birds eating them would be affected, but they are not. BTW, as smelly as commercial chicken/turkey manure is, it is common for dairy/beef farmers to buy it and feed it to their cattle because of the high amount of protein in it. Even eating this manure does not affect the taste of the meat or the milk. So again, the idea that pheasants shot near a diary farm were inedible has nuttin' to do with the farm, but obviously all about the way the birds were handled after they were shot.
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Old November 24, 2018, 06:26 PM   #14
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Hmm. Learn something new all the time, I suppose. Only cattle I ever spent much time around were beef cattle. Friend ran a dairy, but I never did the boot-scoot-boogie through his manure pile.
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Old November 24, 2018, 08:29 PM   #15
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I guess I'll just shoot and eat then......maybe cook them first.

Last edited by AL45; November 24, 2018 at 08:35 PM.
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Old November 24, 2018, 08:51 PM   #16
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^ probably more of a case of young bird tender old bird tuff.

I wouldn’t have any reservations about what small game eats because I doubt their bodies would hold much contamination and still be healthy.




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Old November 24, 2018, 11:07 PM   #17
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Given the mortality rate of quail, it would be low probability to kill one that's much over two years old.
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Old November 25, 2018, 05:35 AM   #18
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I don't know if they still do it, but if you google up your most local USDA office you can ask them if they can do a water and soil lab analysis. If the cost is agreeable to you (shouldn't be much), ask for a sample kit and send it in. Then you'll know what's in the water.
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Old November 25, 2018, 08:28 AM   #19
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County health departments do water-quality analyses.
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Old November 25, 2018, 01:31 PM   #20
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My daughter is a veterinarian. I asked her how animals can eat and drink stuff that would make us sick like dogs do. Their stomach acid is far stronger than in humans and destroys it. Not to say they won’t get sick as every pet owner knows but they can process a lot more than us and not get what we do. So unlikely your quail or ducks will pass anything along if cooked
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Old November 26, 2018, 09:17 PM   #21
big al hunter
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[The lettuce recall/do not eat for the Romaine lettuce could be caused from treated waste water used to irrigate the fields it was grown in.
Not possible. Not just because waste water is not allowed for crop watering. E. Coli 157 is the bacteria that caused the recall. E. Coli 157 is found in ruminants, deer, cattle and the like The recall was probably from deer feces that we're on the lettuce and made it into the processing plant. Got smeared into the mix. _ _it happens.

If it were a human waste issue it would have been something along the lines of hepatitis.
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Old November 27, 2018, 08:28 AM   #22
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Ewwwww
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Old November 27, 2018, 07:07 PM   #23
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Ugh, I had several dogs that ate deer poop like it was free forest raisins. I never knew it carried e coli, but it makes sense. I worked in food service for over a decade, I had e coli once. It was brutal, I'm pretty sure I got it from processing raw cantaloupe.

Wash your produce well, it's as dangerous as raw meat.
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Old November 28, 2018, 12:52 PM   #24
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I didn't catch whether that was sanitary or storm, I presume sanitary.

The good treatment plants remove most of the bacteria before releasing the water, and in the wash fields that lots of plants have, that bacteria breaks down. Quail don't drink that much water, not enough to make the whole bird poisonous just by long term consumption of slightly contaminated water.

You wouldn't eat the junk that a hog would eat, would you? but you'd eat the wild hog that had lived on toadstools, acorns, and even carrion, right?

A vet passed something on to me once. Animals have evolved living on dead stuff. Unsanitary, spoiled, fly infested garbage, and they still live that way. He said that two things help. The animals have much stronger digestive powers, and they have much shorter digestive duration. It's harder to get a roaring culture of some bacteria when the stuff is blown out of your colon in a few hours.

It's literally impossible to answer your question without knowing all of the facts. If you want to know the correct answer call the water treatment plant and ask whether birds or other wildlife have access to toxic water, and if there is plenty of non-toxic water available nearby.

Here's another tip. Go up to that lake and look for the frogs, minnows, turtles, etc... if a bullfrog can live in it, it should be safe.
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Old November 28, 2018, 12:58 PM   #25
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a lot of the food poisonings that occur in farmed goods are because of animals. There have been outbreaks caused by raw cider in the past, and now many states don't allow raw cider to be sold. If it isn't going to be pasteurized, the apples have to be hand picked. Any windfalls are going to possibly land in feces, no matter what orchard they are harvested from. Skunk, deer, possum, squirrel or rabbit, so many varmints go through open fruit orchards. Leaving a wet, bruised apple on a deer poopie will contaminate a batch and if someone is truly susceptible, a couple of contaminated apples can taint a fifty gallon squeezing strongly enough to introduce a sufficient number of bacteria.
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