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Turkey Tail Cleaning

Discussion in 'Bird Taxidermy' started by dwimberly, Oct 9, 2017.

  1. dwimberly

    dwimberly Member

    133
    4
    MS
    When washing my tails, it seems like the after I dry my tail each feather wants to get a crusty feel in spots. I understand that the feather will need some TLC to smooth it back out but how to you get around the feathers wanting to stick together. I have tried everything that I know to try. Here are some things I am doing and maybe some of you can add or take away from my process.

    Please note that I am talking about all the small feathers that make up on large feather.

    I have tried

    Tons of dawn
    gas
    no gas
    tumble
    no tumble
    wash as many as 3 times

    same results on all
     
  2. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

    6,253
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    MN
    What about your rinse?
     

  3. dwimberly

    dwimberly Member

    133
    4
    MS
    warm rinse under the tap. I have even rinsed with a sprayer / cold water
     
  4. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

    6,253
    2,127
    MN
    I have found that just about every time I have issues with feathers, it is because I didn't get the feathers rinsed good enough. Soap residue will make feathers clump together. I wash my birds in as hot of water as I can stand to put my hands in, except for the first wash, which happens before I skin typically, there I use warm water to wash out blood and as much dirt as I can. I wash several times skin side out and then several more feathers out. Rinsing between each wash, when I feel I have the feathers clean enough, I rinse until no more soap bubbles are visible and then I rinse it a tad more. I then proceed on.
     
  5. dwimberly

    dwimberly Member

    133
    4
    MS
    I will try to rinse better. That is the only thing I was thinking it could be was soap residue. The last tail I did yesterday was better and I rinsed it twice and used a sprayer the third time. I will see what happens on my next one with a lot more rinsing. I have a lot of knowledge with birds but these tails have always gotten me...thanks for the help 3Bears
     
  6. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

    6,253
    2,127
    MN
    You're welcome.
     
  7. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    I had the same problems as you described. How I overcame them was to do this:
    1) Rinse with running water.
    2) Fill the sink with water and submerge the feathers in the water and swish around.
    3) Empty the sink and rinse in running water.
    4) Fill the sink with water and submerge feathers and swish around.
    5) Rinse under running water.

    Do this as many times as it takes to get to where the rinse bath has no soap bubbles after the feathers are submerged. The 5 steps I listed are my minimum rinse procedures. Sometimes it takes more, but usually what I wrote is all it takes.
     
  8. dwimberly

    dwimberly Member

    133
    4
    MS
    Are you using soap (dawn) to wash or are you strictly washing with water?
     
  9. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    I rub Dawn into the tail feathers and butts while I fill the sink with Dawn and hot water. I submerge the tail into the water and let it soak for a few minutes and then using my fingers, gently rub the the feathers in the direction as to not damage the feathers for several minutes. I remove the tail, drain the sink and rinse under hot water. Then I fill the sink with just a little Dawn and water and wash again. Then I go into my rinses. The first is hot water, then progressively cooler water.
     
  10. Mudbat

    Mudbat Well-Known Member

    723
    1,337
    Could it be that your using to much dawn?
     
  11. spurhunter

    spurhunter Active Member

    150
    193
    SC
    I use a squirt of dawn into cold tap water in a plastic a tub in the drive way to hand wash and then rinse fans and wings with a garden hose. I'll lay each rinsed fan out to sun dry as I wash the next fan, then pat them all dry with a towel and finally blow dry to finish, pin out with borax to dry. Only issue I've ever had was fibers curling a little from using too much heat when drying. Maybe back it down to medium or no heat if using a hair dryer.

    From your post it sounds like you are talking about individual fibers too.
    "Please note that I am talking about all the small feathers that make up on large feather."
     
  12. dwimberly

    dwimberly Member

    133
    4
    MS
    I believe I am using to much dawn too. After reading things I am going to cut back to amount that I use and see what that brings. I am using quite a bit.
     
  13. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

    6,253
    2,127
    MN
    As long as you are getting all of the soap rinsed out, it doesn't matter how much you use. Granted you may be able to cut it back some and still get them clean.
     
  14. It almost always seems like "too much dawn" if you aren't used to it. Feathers require an obnoxious amount of rinsing. When you thinks it's done, you probably aren't halfway there. Cheers.
     
  15. Tom Maul

    Tom Maul Active Member

    X2 3bears
     
  16. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    Really think that it is a rinsing problem rather than a soap problem. Rinse baths are as important as rinsing under running water in my experience.
     
  17. spurhunter

    spurhunter Active Member

    150
    193
    SC
    Not to beat a dead horse but are you cleaning all the fat off the quills well enough, cutting and brushing it out? Perhaps you are getting some residue and it is causing the crusting. All the dawn in the world won't break it all loose, IMO.
     
  18. dwimberly

    dwimberly Member

    133
    4
    MS
    I am cutting as much as possible off the quills as well and the remaining portion of the tail bone and then wire wheeling the quills. Then I wash the base of the tail with dawn making sure the scrub the quills and rinse thoroughly. Once that is done I then proceed to wash the rest of the tail. I try and make sure the grease from the base never gets on the rest of the tail.
     
  19. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    That sounds good to me.
     
  20. joeym

    joeym Old Murphey

    I learned a long time ago that birds must be immersed...they are Baptists, not Methodists! Rinsing under running water or spraying will not do. I lay them out on my driveway and flood with water inside and out using a garden hose til the heavy soap is removed, Then, I have 2 wash tubs. I fill each with lukewarm water and iimmerse, drain, then move to the other. Swish it around whale draining and filling the first tub. On turkeys, a minimum of 6 water change outs is required. I do not use gas on birds anymore...I'm trying to make it to full social security age!