Washing pheasant and quail

Submitted by Rick Scheerer on 4/7/02. ( allison_s@hotmail.com )

Is it possible to wash pheasanat and quail before mounting? If so, is the method the same as for ducks and geese? Thanks. Rick

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rub a dub

This response submitted by woodchick on 4/7/02. ( )

Rick , I always wash my birds. After defatting a bird whether it is an upland bird or duck, (I follow the same process for both) I wash the bird in dawn dish soap( this also covers the degreasing part) I usually wash the bird 2-3 times rinsing in between,until the water is clean when rinsing. After the final rinse I put the bird in mineral spirits to displace the water( some people use white gas) then I squeeze the excess out of the bird and put it into the tumbler. Now I am ready to mount the bird. Good Luck


This response submitted by Tony Finazzo on 4/7/02. ( finazducks@aol.com )

Not only should you wash them the same, but you should use a wheel or other means to defat. If you don't open up the feather tracts, the skin will worp and distort as it dries. Wash twice with Dawn and rinse three times. After that the choice is yours. Tumble and dry or put into a solvent and tumble and dry. It just takes a little longer to dry without a solvent. Cur uses the dryer on spin cycle. I'm married and don't have that option. My wife has extra sensory perseption and senses anytime I touch anything of hers.

Bir Washing

This response submitted by Roy Kelley on 4/8/02. ( royk@usiavionics.com )

I would like to share with you what has been working for me. I don't tumble my birds or use gas etc. What I do after skinning and defating is was the bird first in the Kemsol degreaser the dawn dish soap. In the dawn I follow Nancy M's. recommenditions of washing twice and rinising until every bit of the soap is gone and the feathers are floating like clouds. I then hang my bird infront of the fan for several hours(in cool place), when the feathers are dry I turn the skin inside out and apply borax, sew up any holes, and mount. After I mount the bird I just finish the drying and fluff up the feathers with my hair dryer.


This response submitted by cur on 4/8/02. ( wildart@prodigy.net )

Maybe that is why I ain't married. When my ex complained about feathers in the washer, she said, "get another one to use"....I thought she meant woman.......LOL!

A top loading washer's spin cycle is the fastest method I have found for zipping the water out of of bird skins, especially turkeys and geese, even peacocks and ostrich if need be. The bird pretty much stays where you put it. Never put two birds in the washer at once, or one will end up in the same black hole that hides socks! (KIDDING)

Joe Gately used to put duck skins in an old top loading washer with a center agitator and run them all night long in Tide or some other serious detergent to degrease and condition the skin. He rinsed them well and his ducks were things of beauty.......and, I guess they smelled springtime fresh, or whatever the catch-word was back then.

I would avoid Tide.

This response submitted by The Taxidermologist on 4/8/02. ( stephen.rogers@attbi.com )

I realize I have stepped into the land of Oz in questioning Mr. Gaither, and shall surely get chastised for it, but I have never been known for keeping my mouth shut.

I personally feel that tide is a bit harsh of a detergent to use for washing birds for two basic reasons. The first is that being much more harsh it has a higher risk in un-zipping the barbules of the feathers. This is most notable in feathers lacking melanin, but I feel there is a higher risk, especially for an all night soak.

The second reason is that it is too efficient. I am not an expert on fatty acids, (though I know some that are - unfortunately they are chemists who don't wash birds), but I have noticed that when tide is used it leaves the birds a bit more "dull". My postulation for the observance is that the fatty acids composing the "coating" of the feathers, primarily dispensed by the Uro-pygial gland, are more resistant to washing than the fats on the inside of the skin which are loosened by wire wheeling and such. I feel that dawn or Ivory diswashing soap does not remove the almost waxy coating of the feathers but does wonders on removing the loose fat on the inside of the skin. Unfortunately I don't have rigourous empiracle evidence, though in test washes the "sheen" on feathers were reduced with tide. I have noticed that dishwahing detergent will work for removing ordinary fat from my hands, but if the grime is bad I have to resort to tide or boraxo. These latter materials leave my hands much drier because it extracts the oils naturally coating my hands. I have thought about setting experiments in coating feathers with fresh extracts of the gland or of the powder-downs of Ciconiformes but don't have the time to devote to it. Besides, there might be some interaction with sunlight or UV which "sets" the wax. Twenty years ago there were tests at the Milwaukee Public Museum to try and add fat back on the surface feathers to get the sheen but a suitable material was not found. There are too many imponderables in the equation. There really should be a devoted arm of the Taxidermy Industry attempting to find answers to these relevant questions, but most are too busy trying to feed their family and don't have time for altruistic research. Oh well, such is life.

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