Crow Skull Help
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Taxidermy.Net Forum  |  Taxidermy Discussion Categories  |  Skulls and Skeletons  |  Topic: Crow Skull Help « previous next »
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Rahnshen
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« on: April 27, 2017, 11:54:41 AM »

So I have a adult crow head fully intact and I need to macerate it as I want the skull preferably with beak sheath intact but I've never done anything like this and have no access to beetles and only typical household things to do this. Do I just pluck out the eyes and cut away the flesh? I just don't want to mess up this skull so I want to have a good plan in place. Any help or advice is much appreciated
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AKYetiMan
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« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2017, 04:42:57 PM »

I did a goose skull just a couple days ago. I removed the eyes and carefully got off as much flesh as possible. You also will need to remove the brain. I put it in a bucket with warm water in it. I put a lid on it to keep the smell down and then set it in my garage. After about 2 weeks (It will take less time the warmer the water is) it was clean. Next you degrease it. I know a lot of people soak it in ammonia but i just simmered mine in dawn dish soap for awhile. I would probably go with degreasing in ammonia as simmering the skull in Dawn can cause some damage to the skull.

Ideally you would put it in a small bucket with an aquarium heater in it and set it, covered, outside somewhere. Keep the water around 80-90 degrees. You might have to replace the water after a couple days depending on how much flesh falls off. Prepare yourself for some nasty scents  :o When you said you wanted to keep the beak sheath on you mean the skin covering the beak? I have no experience with preserving that if it can be preserved but again I'm really just a beginner when it comes to taxidermy.
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Rahnshen
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« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2017, 06:25:35 PM »

How would I remove the brain? Also I'm in Florida so could I just just put it in water outside in the sun?
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AKYetiMan
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« Reply #3 on: April 28, 2017, 01:02:32 AM »

For the brain removal, use a thin screw driver or stick and stick it up the hole in the back of the skull where the spinal chord runs. You should be able to see the brain up inside there. Just beat it up with the screw driver until its all mushed up. 
Then see if you can somehow use a hose with an attachment and get some water in there. If the brain is really mashed up good and you are able to knock some of it out then the rest should come out easy. It is pretty difficult to remove the brains from small skulls but you just gotta do your best. Some people have tried using a compressor and a straw and blasting it out. You could try that but just don't spray yourself in the face lol. Its really unpleasant.

You should be able to just put it outside. Maybe if you put it in a clear container it would get even hotter. I live in Alaska so it is only like 40 degrees outside. Thats why I did mine in a garage. Good luck!
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Sea Wolf
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« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2017, 07:39:31 AM »

Break up the skull with a small stick and flush it out using a thin stream of water from the sink faucet. You said it was a crow .. not a cow so don't even think of using a compressor. :)  Put the skull in a container of water, only water, and wrap the container with black paper of some type. Tar paper would even do. Set it up on your roof if you can on the black shingles to generate heat. In three days, take it out and pull off the outer beak and put in alcohol to keep it until the skull is done. Let the rest of the skull rot clean.  The archives hold a ton of information on this. Use the Advanced Search and use good search terms. Bird skull cleaning, bird skull maceration .. and the like.
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Rahnshen
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« Reply #5 on: April 29, 2017, 11:00:03 PM »

Well I finally just went for it and I did mix up the brain real good but couldn't get much out, and I noticed a fracture near the front of the eye socket it's small so I think I can probably just glue it later, I have it in just water for now in my garage.

Should I try to get more of the brain out? What happens if I don't get most of it?
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Sea Wolf
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« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2017, 09:58:23 AM »

You keep poking at it and flushing it until it is out. You are going to rot it clean and it makes less of a mess and stink. If the water isn't warm, then it's going to take a long time if it works at all correctly. Get it into the sun and on black material to generate heat. It should be clean in a week if you do it right.
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Rahnshen
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« Reply #7 on: April 30, 2017, 03:14:44 PM »

Being in Florida heat shouldn't be a problem, can I use super to repair the small fracture? He must have got it when he hit the ground I think
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AKYetiMan
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« Reply #8 on: May 02, 2017, 02:01:21 PM »

You should be able to. Use whatever stuff that is invisible and glues stuff together. As long as you are very careful when you apply it you should be fine.
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Rahnshen
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« Reply #9 on: May 17, 2017, 08:15:17 PM »

An Update: I haven't seen any change in two weeks in the skull, up until now it been soaking in just plain water, how should proceed from here?





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AKYetiMan
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« Reply #10 on: May 18, 2017, 04:51:01 AM »

I'm not a pro at this but I would just put it back outside in the sun. Make sure the water is warm enough. I would say you could replace the water, but that might kill some of the bacteria that are eating all the gunk off. Sea Wolf is the one who is really good at this kind of stuff!
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Sea Wolf
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« Reply #11 on: May 18, 2017, 05:18:13 AM »

You need to heat the water and keep it heated for this to work. 80 degrees 24/7. If the water had been warm enough it should have been completely cleaned in a week. Research maceration in the archives. There are many, many posts on it.
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