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Tundra swan

Discussion in 'Bird Taxidermy' started by DogSoldierChick, Jan 16, 2015.

  1. I got 3 Tundra swans coming from NC. They were taken yesterday.... Any surprises I should expect? I'm sure blood on the feathers can be a huge issue to fix. Compared to turkeys, ducks, geese how do they flesh?
    This one will be hung from the ceiling... The other 2 will probably be gifted to me. Is that ok? They said they wasn't going to keep them if I didn't want them.

    What is a fair price? I charge 550 on turkeys to compare.
  2. ljones

    ljones 1994 wasco award winner

    You will have your work cut out for you for sure, they are huge birds that requie heavy wiring for support .. On top of that with them being white they can be hard to keep clean during the mounting process... Also hope you have a tumbler big enough to hold them... I am sure you can do it but you will definately need some help putting one of those birds together just because of the size

  3. Nancy C

    Nancy C Well-Known Member

    Don't take less than $700.

    They are a pain ITA.
  4. I charge 800 for them.
    They are way more work than a turkey ever thought about being.
  5. ljones

    ljones 1994 wasco award winner

    For me $700 would be a bottom line price also . But you will probley wished you had charged $1000 or more by the time you get it done ..swans are On my list with stinky skunks as far as least favorite things to work on ;D
  6. Sounds like a great challenge. What beautiful birds!

    IdBatman, thank you! I appreciate people on here who take the time to give detailed information. As a beginner I soak up tips on here like sunshine all the time. 8)
  7. Shawn73

    Shawn73 Active Member

    Idbatman. Isn't the fully threaded rod to brittle . I had a rod break in a turkey leg once and will never use that wire again.
  8. nina5150

    nina5150 Well-Known Member

    Thanks idbatman for you knowledge. And taking the time out to post it so others can benefit. When i just hear hear the word swan,my first thought it,kill me.you have takin the fear out and replaced it with confidence..kinda ;D....lol...thanks again..
  9. I did my 1st one this past spring. It was a lot harder to do than I expected. It hung from the ceiling too. Make sure you get enough weight in the rear of the bird to offset that big head & neck sticking out there. I'll say this, I charged $650 for that bird, but I went up to $950 the next day. I'm glad I got to do one but my feelings won't be hurt if I don't get another one for a long time.
  10. alan webfoot

    alan webfoot New Member

    sweep up all the feathers is right ,,you'll swear the skin will be bald!!! drying that big sucker was the most time consuming part
  11. Thank you all! I'm actually looking forward to the project. It'll be awhile but I got 4 in so I should get it figured out by the fourth one. Lol. I don't stress too much. I do however love all the advice and know it'll be a challenge.
  12. nate

    nate Active Member

    I did a trumpeter for a school and charged 1200 with just a very simple base!
  13. James Parrish

    James Parrish Tundra Swan...Its What's For Dinner!

    Some good suggestions have already been laid out, but I'll add my $0.02 anyway. I like to use a coarse wire wheel to flesh the birds. It does a much better, quicker job than using a fine wheel. Good measurements and tracings are very helpful. I measure the heads also because they can vary quite a bit. I have molds that I have made of several different size swan heads, so I usually just compare the head of the bird to my different artificial heads until I find the one that is the closest. If you are using commercial heads, make sure to get one that fits properly or you'll never get a nice looking head on the mount.

    When I make the neck, especially for a flying bird, I like to use several pieces of wire for support. I will start with the correct length of foam neck material in a slightly smaller diameter than I need and run 10ga wire through it. I shape the neck to the pose that I want. Anything heavier than 10ga is hard for me to get a "soft" bend in. Once I have the neck in the proper shape, I will use several other pieces of wire for support. I run them into the body and secure them to the foam with tape. This makes a very sturdy neck with a softer look.

    When I wire the wings on a flying bird, I start with 12ga wire sharpened and run the entire length on the wing into the wrist. I secure the wire to the ulna with zip ties and to the humerus with black electrical tape. I bend the wing into the pose/shape I want. Then, I use a 6 or 8ga wire that runs the length of the ulna and humerus with enough extra to secure to the body. I bend the heavy wire to follow my wing shape and secure it to the bones with electrical tape and zip ties. This allows you to get a sturdy wing with the heavy wire but allows you to pose the wings as you want without fighting that heavy wire.

    I like to set the eyes and sculpt eye rings ahead of time. I don't paint feet on swans, canada geese, brant, etc. unless there is a reason (repairs, etc). The natural color looks more realistic than painting them, IMO. Make sure to charge enough. Even with a pet dryer (master blaster), I still end up spending a couple hours blow drying these big birds. I charge $850 sitting/standing/dead mount and $1000 flying and should charge more.

    Lastly, one of my biggest pet peeves with swan mounts is when the neck looks too skinny. You can't fix that by making the neck diameter oversized. In fact, that will only make it worse. If anything, keep the neck diameter just a hair undersized. When you mount the bird, pull all that neck skin forward. I usually add 1" to the neck length as measured on the carcass to help with the skin "let-out". If you pull the skin forward and back groom the feathers, you should get a nice, full looking neck on your mount. Good luck.
    JustinNASBacon likes this.
  14. Thank you all so much! I appreciate it SO much! I kept them as clean as possible thru the skinning process which went alot easier than expected. I ended up getting 4 in. They were fairly fat birds so I'm sure fleshing will be fun.... It'll be awhile before I see them again but I look forward to the challenge.
  15. Shawn73

    Shawn73 Active Member

    I always wanted to get one to do but now it seems like a blessing I don't get them. But I do plan on going to Carolina s to get one some day
  16. srholmes30

    srholmes30 Living each and every day

    Old post but some great info thanks guys.