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My First Duck!!!

Discussion in 'Bird Taxidermy' started by Mad Dawg Taxidermy, Feb 13, 2019.

  1. Ok guys. This is my first ever duck. I wrapped the body and used the actual skull, trying to keep my practice costs down :). I need some criticism, but please don't murder me lol. This was a gifted duck and Im really tickled about how it turned out. Other than the gap in the wing and the messed up feathers, what are some things I need to work on?

  2. Jim McNamara

    Jim McNamara Well-Known Member

    Did you degrease the skin and wash it well and rinse it ? If so then you need to get the plumage completely dry underneath the feathers. That would go a long way towards having a better looking bird. The drying should have groomed the feather ends too.
    BrookeSFD16 likes this.

  3. Yes I washed and rinsed him. I did have big issues trying to get all the feathers completely dry. Is it normal to have to blow-dry the feathers for like 2 hours?
  4. lee grimes

    lee grimes New Member

    should only take 10 min or so
  5. My friend, at least you got from start to finish without stomping on it and trash canning it. Thats a plus.
    The ducks feathers are greased up. You didn’t wash and rinse near good enough. ( soap residue will do the same thing) Wash it in dawn, drain water do it again, let it soak in the dawn water 30 min. Then rinse it, change water, rinse again, change water, keep rinsing until the water stays clear!!!!!!!
    As far as the bird its self, yes it has a lot of issues, but to be expected on the first attempt at one. My first dozen suxed too.
    If the bird was clean it would look a lot better even with the issues.
    Keep at it, you can only inprove with ever one you do.
  6. Ok! I rinsed it but I never soaked it. Im sure thats its probably stilll greasy.
  7. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    How many rinses did you do? It can be three up seven times. Free floating feathers and no soap bubbles left in the rinse bath is what you are looking for.

    Do you have any DVDs on mounting ducks?
  8. Making sure we’re on the same page. The soak is in the dawn wash , not the rinse.
    Remember rinse , rinse rinse rinse In new water each time , Until the water is CLEAR !!!!!!

    I’m sure you dont have a tumbler, no problem. Buy some corncob grit ( most suppliers). Put it in a trash bag , put duck in it after the last rinse and shake, the piss out of it. Go as long as your arms will allow. This will get most of the moisture out of the feathers. Cutting the blow drying time in half.
    Good luck!
    BrookeSFD16 likes this.
  9. Wildthings

    Wildthings Well-Known Member

    I think everbodies answers and suggestions are great but let's step back a little. How did you clean this duck? By hand with scissors, by a fleshing wheel? or?? Mallards are notorious for have pretty thin skins at places and most newbie (and lots of vets) cuss and moan about tearing it while cleaning. I'm thinking there is lots of grease left on this bird. After fleshing/degreasing the bird, it should be washed WELL in dawn and the warmest water you can get to remove all the residual grease left in the feathers and on the skin. I usually do a few rounds of washing. Working on a Greater Canada right now I know I have washed it 10 times and still got some to go.

    Once you accomplished the washing cycle then you need to get all the dawn/soap out of the feathers. This is accomplished by multiply rounds of washing and agitating in clear water. Then comes the drying. 10 minutes!! I wish!! Here in my humidity a mallard size bird usually takes me 40 minutes with a shop vac on reverse and hair dryer.

    After saying all this I wanna say congrats on getting that first bird together and a puddle duck to boot!!
    BrookeSFD16 and Trapper2016 like this.
  10. I only rinsed him a couple times and yes I have a dvd
  11. Yep I understand. Im working on a pintail now and I have soaked him and rinsed him multiple times, maybe he'll turn out better...

    Ill have to get some corncob grit!

  12. I used scissors. That might be my problem, I've been washing in cold water. I need to try warm instead. Thanks!
  13. Thank you all so much for all the criticism! Im loving it!
  14. BrookeSFD16

    BrookeSFD16 Well-Known Member

    Remind yourself throughout the process that if you don't get the skin and feathers clean then your never going to have a nice looking mount. I'm sure you're pumped, ready to put it together (as we all were when we started) but if you don't get it clean inside and out then you won't be satisfied with the final product. You CAN clean a bird skin with just scizzor....but it will take a long time. Once you've scizzored then scrub the skin with HOT water. As hot as your hands can stand. Duck fat melts around 126°. Your skin should be blue....not white or yellow when it's clean.

    At ANY POINT up to the time you borax the skin to mount you can stop and put the skin in the freezer. Don't try and do it all at one time. Get tired of scizzored, got somewhere to go, lay some wet paper towels in the skin and stuff a little bit in the head and throw it in the freezer. It can stay there for at least a few days. Take it out and let it thaw or you can run water over it to speed thaw it.

    You've gottten all the way through the process now. So my suggestion is to concentrate on each step and get each step correct before moving on to the next. Not as much fun.. but it will make your finished mount much better.
  15. pir^2h

    pir^2h Retrievers give you the bird

    A lot of good advice here to help you along (and I actually picked up a thing or two to work on myself). This may sound crazy but keep that mount forever! Each mount will improve a little more. Then about ten years from now compare your work to the first ones and see how far you have come. My first mounts were horrible and I eventually discarded them. I have always kicked myself for not keeping them. I have photos but it isn't the same thing.
    rigbobby and Mad Dawg Taxidermy like this.
  16. Wildthings

    Wildthings Well-Known Member


    I'm gonna add a little to their advice -- even after boraxing you can put it in the freezer. Sometimes I borax and dry the feathers completely, wire the bird, sew it up and then it goes into the freezer. So at any point it can be refroze. I do quite often

    I still have my first duck mount from 1976 and deer mount from 1980. "pir^2h" is right on the money!!
    Mad Dawg Taxidermy likes this.
  17. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    Something that I have done is to learn to enjoy the fleshing and cleaning process more than the mounting process. If time is taken to ensure that all the pre mounting processes are meticulously done, the actual mounting process is quick and easy. I'm that way with all species of critters.
    GotHonks and Mad Dawg Taxidermy like this.
  18. Fallenscale

    Fallenscale Active Member

    This is one great tread. Happy mad dawg started the post and everyone stepped up to help.
  19. Exterminater

    Exterminater Member

    Heres what the bird should look like when it's done being washed. That's after being washed 5 or 6 times then rinsed till the waters clear. My buddy who thought me birds always said if it looks good in the water it will look good on the wall. 20190214_123533.jpg 20190214_123456.jpg
  20. Wildthings

    Wildthings Well-Known Member

    I'll match your wet teal with a wet gadwall and raise you a dried one