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Problems Preserving Small Bird Legs

Discussion in 'Beginners' started by Obscura, Jul 13, 2019.

  1. Obscura

    Obscura New Member


    I am attempting to preserve just the legs and feet of a small song bird in standing and perching pose. Eventually I will be 3D scanning and / or using them to make a silicon mold from.

    So far, my internet research has led me to do the following:
    1. Remove the legs from the fresh body, just above the joint.
    2. Pose them in a standing position using wire to attach them to a small piece of cardboard for support.
    3. Completely cover them in Kosher salt for 4 days in a sealed container.
    4. Swap the Kosher salt out for iodized table salt and let sit for 3 more days for a total of a week in salt (I swapped because I read on one post that it must be iodized salt... but later on another thread I read that iodized salt is the worst thing you can do... so I'm very confused.)
    5. Remove them from the salt today.

    Overall they seem to have dried out well and have no moisture left. However, they seem to have lost their volume (Which to be honest makes sense since I've sucked all the moisture out of them). Additionally, the loss of volume has also caused a lot of the details such a foot pads and creases on legs to diminish, which is what I was hoping to preserve for the purpose of 3D scanning and mold making.

    I feel like I'm missing a step or three. Are the feet considered preserved now? Is there something I do to help restore the volume to the piece after drying out? Have I ruined them?

    I'm hoping to figure this out before I start on the feet of a chicken that are currently in my freezer waiting for me to figure this out. Doing justice to the creature that is so graciously letting me use their legs in my art is important to me.

    Thanks in advance for any advice you can provide. I really appreciate it.
  2. BrookeSFD16

    BrookeSFD16 Well-Known Member

    Technically you have preserved them, meaning they will not rot. In order to keep the volume, you need to inject something into the legs while they are fresh, then pose them. There are many products on the market. Bird foot injection fluid, formaldehyde, Masters Blend. Something has to be put into the legs to take the place of the fluid and tissue that will dry up.

  3. Obscura

    Obscura New Member

    Thanks Brooks. This is very good info. Since I've already dried these, is there a way to salvage them? Perhaps soak them in something to restore volume, inject them, then dry them again? Or are they a lost cause?
  4. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    I would say they are a lost cause.
  5. BrookeSFD16

    BrookeSFD16 Well-Known Member

    Probably a lost cause. But if you'd like to try you can put them in a cup of Windex for a day or so and if they become a little pliable you can try and inject Windex into them with a small needle.
  6. Song birds are protected are they not?
  7. BrookeSFD16

    BrookeSFD16 Well-Known Member

    Yes, in the States. I'm assuming the OP is from the UK.