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Freezing Poultry & Game Birds


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Freezing Poultry & Game Birds



Poultry and Game Birds

Select only high quality, fresh poultry to freeze. The tender young bird is best for roasting, frying and broiling. Choose the more flavorful older birds for braising or stewing.

Package poultry in freezer paper or wrap using the drugstore or butcher wrap, or place in freezer bags. Storebought poultry needs to be over-wrapped before freezing because its clear wrap is not moisture-vapor resistant. When packaging pieces, arrange them to form a compact, square, flat package so they will stack better in the freezer. After packaging, seal and freeze immediately.

Quail, dove, duck, pheasant and other game birds should be dressed and gutted as soon as possible after shooting. Cool and clean properly. Remove excess fat on wild ducks and geese since it becomes rancid very quickly. Freeze as directed for poultry.

Do not stuff poultry or game birds before freezing them. During freezing or thawing times, bacteria that cause foodborne illness could easily grow in the stuffing. Commercially stuffed frozen poultry is prepared under special safety conditions that cannot be duplicated at home.

Headspace to Allow Between Packed Food and Closure


Type of Pack Container with
wide top opening
Container with
narrow top opening
Pint Quart Pint Quart
Liquid Pack* 1/2 inch 1 inch 3/4 inch 1-1/2 inch
Dry Pack** 1/2 inch 1/2 inch 1/2 inch 1/2 inch
Juices 1/2 inch 1 inch 1-1/2 inch 1-1/2 inch

*Fruit packed in juice, sugar, syrup or water; crushed or pureed fruit.

**Fruit or vegetable packed without added sugar or liquid.




General Information on Freezing * Blanching Vegetables * Apples * Apricots * Artichokes * Asparagus * Avocados * Bacon * Bananas * Beans: Green, Snap, or Wax *

Beans: Lima * Beans: Butter or Pinto * Beets * Blackberries or Dewberries * Blueberries or Huckleberries * Broccoli * Brussels Sprouts * Butter * Cabbage or Chinese Cabbage * Carrots * Cauliflower * Celery * Cheese *

Cherries: Sour * Cherries: Sweet * Citrus Fruits * Clams * Crab * Fresh Coconut * Corn * Cranberries * Currants * Dates * Eggplant *

Eggs * Figs * Fish * Gooseberries * Grapes * Grapes: Muscadine * Greens (including Spinach) * Garlic in Oil * Guavas * Fresh Herbs *

Ice Cream * Kohlrabi * Lemon Curd, Freezer * Lobster * Loquats * Mayhaw Juice * Meats * Mangos * Melons * Mushrooms * Okra *

Onions * Oysters * Edible Pea Pods * Blackeye or Field Peas * Green Peas * Peaches or Nectarines * Pears * Bell or Sweet Peppers * Hot Peppers * Persimmons * Pesto * Pimentos *

Pineapples * Poultry and Game Birds * Plums * Pomegranates * Prepared Foods * New Irish Potatoes * Sweet Potatoes * Pumpkin * Raspberries * Rhubarb * Rutabagas *

Scallops * Shrimp * Sour Cream * Spinach * Chayote Squash * Summer Squash * Winter Squash * Strawberries * Tomatoes *

Green Tomatoes * Turnips or Parsnips * Whipped Cream * Zucchini

These documents were adapted from the "Complete Guide to Home Canning," Agriculture Information Bulletin No. 539, USDA, revised 2009 &
From "So Easy to Preserve", 5th ed. 2006. Bulletin 989, Cooperative Extension Service, The University of Georgia, Athens. Revised by Elizabeth L. Andress. Ph.D. and Judy A. Harrison, Ph.D., Extension Foods Specialists.