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Bird Skin Dissolving In Wash

Discussion in 'Bird Taxidermy' started by Vals Taxidermy, Sep 9, 2019.

  1. Hey guys.. I ran into a problem yesterday and was just wondering if this has happened to anyone else to see if I can pinpoint the culprit of my problem. While washing a mallard skin yesterday I noticed that the skin became very thin and delicate as the washing process went on. Lately I've been using the method on Matt Smith's DVD which is basically just a series of washing in cold/warm water with Dawn, then a wash with detergent (I used Oxi Clean), and then a final washing with hot water and Dawn for 5 minutes with many rinses in cold water. So far all my ducks have come out great using this method but this one something very weird happened. By the time I was done washing and starting to sew up any holes I noticed that the skin was very thin and even see through and holes were forming everywhere mostly around the heavily quilled breast and neck areas. Almost like it was dissolving or being eaten away.. I did wheel this one a bit thin but it was a normal skin before I washed it. I've been doing birds for many years now and have never run into a problem like this. Even when I used to soak them in solvent and now washing in just water with soap, never has anything like this happened. Does anyone have any ideas on what might have caused this? Could it be the Oxi Clean?
     
  2. bucksnort10

    bucksnort10 Well-Known Member

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    I have had the same happen off/on to some mallards and wood ducks too. Last time was with a woodcock. Perhaps a case of overwheeling? I posed the question on a different forum/media with a bunch of taxis on it, but really didn't get a response that nailed it down for me. I thought maybe it had something (?) to do with bird health, how it was handled in the field and prior to arriving at the taxi. ??? Overwheeling is my guess. But solely a guess. Trouble areas on a mallard usually arise in the crop area and around the tail. To me, wood ducks are hit or miss. Some have no issues - others are like toilet paper. I got the recommendation to salt the skin and refrigerate for an hour or two prior to wheeling. Good luck. Dan
     
    rogerswildlife likes this.

  3. Yes, overwheeling was my main guess too. I may end up using scissors on mallards and wood duck from now on just to be safe. It was a perfect specimen, no pin feathers, in prime condition. It only sat in the freezer for a couple months so there was no freezer damage. I purchased this bird for my own personal collection because of how nice it was so it must either be overwheeling or maybe over washing/using too harsh of detergent. Just happy it wasn't a customers!
     
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  4. byrdman

    byrdman Well-Known Member

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    oxi clean will disolve protien/ skin.... use it on your skulls not your birds and wash with dawn in the coldest water you can stand hot water will scauld the skin and cause slippage.... ever butcher chickens? trick is to keep grease off the skin before you wash it... plenty of borax while wheeling... siaks up the oils and you only pretty much need to wash the blood out
     
  5. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

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    I'll agree with you on the oxiclean, don't use it but, the water temp not so much. If you can put your hands in the water it won't scald the skin. I think most water heaters are set for 120 degrees or less. Having said that I won't leave them in hot water for extended times though. Wash in hot and then rinse in cold, is my method.
     
  6. byrdman

    byrdman Well-Known Member

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    no hot or warm water anywhere near a bird skin.... been there
     
    rigbobby likes this.
  7. Jim McNamara

    Jim McNamara Well-Known Member

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    Must be my Ohio well water but I use very hot water with my birds all the time. The exception is a very weak or tender skin. Use warm water on those and cold rinse. Never have had an issue.
    I use dawn and tide and sometime a bit of bleach or peroxide. Rinse in cold.
    I agree, scissors are your best friend on those tender skins.
     
  8. Thanks for all the replies! Definitely not using Oxiclean again. That's a fairly new thing I was trying out. I'll just stick with Dawn and Woolite for washing
     
  9. byrdman

    byrdman Well-Known Member

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    you can lose natural feather sheen with hot water there is no reason to use hot water to wash a bird if you are properly fleshing skin... hot water is just a "crutch" for ineficiant fleshing get the fat off on the wheel with borax and wash the blood out
     
    rigbobby likes this.
  10. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

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    Are you gassing?
     
  11. Here we go!!
     
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  12. byrdman

    byrdman Well-Known Member

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    NO gas... no need for that either...
     
    rigbobby likes this.
  13. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

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    Dang it. WTH?
     
  14. He is right no need for it, but. some people like it.
    Im a husband, wife shop. she does ducks she does all dawn. I do ducks I do gas. yes we. playfully disagree.
    gas head! :D
     
    BrookeSFD16 and 3bears like this.
  15. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

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    Buck, I wasn't saying there was a need, it is just a method that does work, if you're careful.
    Yep, me 2.
     
    BrookeSFD16 likes this.
  16. I knew you wasn't saying that
    I took (wth) as a sarcastic joke , because your a gas head like me.
     
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  17. Wildthings

    Wildthings Well-Known Member

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    gas head here too
     
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  18. I do gas myself but very careful. Everyone has different opinions on how they may do things. As my dear mother used to say, more than one way to skin a cat.
     
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  19. rigbobby

    rigbobby Active Member

    If you must gas it, try 70% Isopropyl alcohol.