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First raw sheep skulls!

Discussion in 'Skulls and Skeletons' started by Ginger2000, Mar 16, 2017.

  1. Usually when I get a sheep skull, Mother Nature has done pretty much all the work and I just make like the school Janitor and clean up whats left.

    The other day my dad surprised me with two raw Sheep heads! Story was he spoke to a guy who recently had to euthanise a number of his flock when they were stricken with pneumonia, he gave dad these two, a Ram and a Ewe. I'm pretty sure, guessing by the size of the head (not the horns) that the one with the complete horns is the Ewe. The other looks too big and bulky to be a ewe.

    I've got them skinned down, tongue & eyes removed, brain... sorta removed, it was really difficult to budge. I'm ready to macerate them but I remember sheep horns being a different level to cow (or in my case, buffalo) horns?

    Since I don't want to damage them I tried searching for a method here to deal with them, but many of the threats didn't discuss sheep particularly (unless they were restoring colour/reattaching horns?). What I did find suggests the bag method.

    Can I pop these into maceration anyway at a lower temp and monitor closely or should I try and sweat the horns off first??

    Attached Files:

  2. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Nah, macerate away. Make sure the water is a good 80 degrees+. After about 3 days or so, see if you can pull the horns off. Hint.. before you toss them in the water, take a THIN knife and run it up underneath the horn bases and all the way around to cut that membrane holding them on. So much better to do it while fresh than when all nasty. After several days they should loosen up enough to pull off. Pull them off with a twist to roll it off the core in the direction it wants to go. Macerating is best due to the grease in these things. When you go to degrease them, use a 120 degree temp as the fat they have is like heavy tallow and needs a high temp to move it.

    Too bad one has cut horns. I have a few rams heads where the horn grew right into the side of it's face or into an eye.

  3. Thanks SeaWolf!

    Also, I did not think that the horns being cut was to prevent them growing into the eyes... I thought it was due to them getting pointy? xD
    I should've noted that with the direction they were growing!
  4. Update! The horns are off!


    The horns on this skull were practically off when I pulled it from the bag!


    This one...

    Took some effort, and help from my dad.


    Both skulls are back in maceration. The horns, I scrubbed down (outside and in) with an old tooth brush, and are currently drying. I think the insides are pretty clear? When they're dried, I'll fill the insides with Methylated spirits for a couple of days then borax them. Once the insides of the skulls are finished I'll restore the outside!
  5. rim runner

    rim runner New Member

    For me this is a very timely post. I just acquired 3 sheep heads unexpectedly. :) I hope you keep us up to date on how this goes as I will be following with interest.
  6. akeenz1

    akeenz1 New Member

    I'm jealous! I've been fighting with my own sheep skull for a month now. It seems to be a bit more stubborn than your two. :) Looks nice to see the sheaths popped off.
  7. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Also very nice to know that your Dad is actually helping. I personally give him extra points for that. Especially when it's stinky.
  8. @Rim-Runner. Just as well this thread was born then! HAha, I hope it helps you! And I'll keep updating it as much as I can! :)

    @Akeenzl. Was it fresh when you got it? I think the temperature of my maceration system is what helped on one hand (my dad being on the other!) - I've been meaning to get a water thermometer to read the temp of the water. The maceration bucket itself is kept inside a wooden box which is insulated, and that box is inside my dead shed, which is also insulated! The aquatic heater I use has an external thermostat which I've got set at 90 (it can go up to 91+ tho..)

    @Sea-Wolf. Doubt my dad enjoyed it honestly. I was unmasked working around these raw macerating heads but my dad had to cover his mouth/nose because the smell was too much for him. He persevered tho. I don't know what I'd do without him because I don't have the physical strength to get these horns off on my own! So far dad has helped with these sheep, my buffalo and my waterbuck!