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Preserving Bird Feet (reducing Shrinkage)

Discussion in 'Bird Taxidermy' started by SterlingFoxCreations, Jan 25, 2020.

  1. SterlingFoxCreations

    SterlingFoxCreations New Member

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    I'm new to working on birds and was wondering what methods people use to keep their bird feet nice and plump after they're dried? I've heard some suggest injecting the feet with formaldehyde before drying, but I neither have access too nor want to work with a chemical like that. Does anyone have any other suggestions for feet preparation or any suggestions about where I can find the supplies to do so?
     
  2. Jim McNamara

    Jim McNamara Well-Known Member

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    Masters Blend is a two part plastic tat is easily injected in the toes and legs of birds. Sets up fairly quick too. McKenzie or matuska sell it for a couple choices.
     

  3. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    Master's blend seems to be the favorite. Fantasticast works too. It has a lot longer working time than Master's Blend and formalin mixed with glycerin works well.

    There is about an hour or more reading on this in the archives that go into a lot of detail.
     
    magicmick likes this.
  4. SterlingFoxCreations

    SterlingFoxCreations New Member

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    Thanks for responding! Is there a place you know of where I could buy an injector tool that could do the job?
     
  5. SterlingFoxCreations

    SterlingFoxCreations New Member

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    Great, thank you! Do you have a link to where I could find this in the archives? I'm having trouble finding anything on this particular topic.
     
  6. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    I'm a little embarrassed here. I used to spend months on end learning from the archives and reading many hours day, however, since Taxidermy.net changed format, I have not visited them and it appears that it isn't as easy to find them.

    You might want to try the search bar at the top of this page.
     
  7. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    I just clicked on the search feature and typed in bird feet injection and it came up. Easy peasy.
     
    SterlingFoxCreations likes this.
  8. SterlingFoxCreations

    SterlingFoxCreations New Member

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    Thanks, I'm still getting used to this site.
     
  9. HondaXR250

    HondaXR250 Active Member

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    You can also highlight search with your cursor, then go down to the "more" option, and it will bring you to the advanced search, and you can search specific categories instead of the whole forum..

    So if you inject with just formalin, the legs and toes will still shrink? Do you have to use two different materials, one to preserve, one to reduce shrinkage?
     
  10. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    From what I have read, yes. The formalin is the preservative and the glycerin works it's way into the cells and fixates to them plumping it up. From the videos I have from Taxidermy Training Unlimited, Danny Owens shows how he does it on turkeys and a grouse. He injects multiple times during the drying time leaving the needle in the toes and shank. He unscrews the syringe, then when the feet look a little deflated, he screws the syringe back onto the needle and injects more. He does this several times until he is satisfied with the result.
     
    HondaXR250 likes this.
  11. GotHonks

    GotHonks Active Member

    Yeah , I'm sure this method works but it takes a long time and you smell the formaldehyde till it dissipates ... I remove the feet and plump them with MB , once dry I paint them and have them ready for the bird and Don't worry about masking the feathers to paint ... Don't know about time saving but getting paint off feathers isn't easy and something I don't deal with anymore ... Only thing with MB is the newer stuff sets fast ... And you'll go through a few syringes with each foot at least I do ... You have to work fast if you wanna save your syringes ... I have a bunch so I use one till it clogs and grab a new one
    Feet shrinkage still happens with MB just not as bad as some others ..
     
    HondaXR250 likes this.
  12. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    If you run out, go to any of your big farm supply places. Look for Rural King, Tractor Supply etc. In the cattle section you can buy boxes of syringes fairly cheap along with needles. Look for 3cc Syringes and 22 gauge needles.
     
    HondaXR250 likes this.
  13. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    I have always used Fantasticast simply because you have about 270 times more time than masters blend before it sets. Like twelve hours. Since it takes so long to set up and you have to keep a pin in the needle hole until it sets, it is probably not viable for production work. Since I didn't do most birds for customers, it wasn't an issue.
     
    HondaXR250 likes this.
  14. HondaXR250

    HondaXR250 Active Member

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    So is there any two products that work really well together? Or any one product that does both?
     
  15. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    Other than formalin and glycerin, I read in the archives where someone was using a preservative with, I think Master's blend, but I don't remember what the preservative was or the details.

    I have done a lot of turkeys, grouse and quail with a few pheasants thrown in over the past few years and never took the tendons out or used a preservative and have not had any problems. Of all the DVDs that I have from champion taxidermists, none of them used a preservative, so I'm not too worried about it.
     
  16. HondaXR250

    HondaXR250 Active Member

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    I understand. I only have a few feet to preserve, so it would be worth buying to me. I think ill try it on squirrels too. Yesterday i was skinning a red squirrel, decided to try and get all the toe bones out, now im down one red squirrel lol. So might stick to skinning as far down as its safe to, then inject.

    Do you still cut the tendons to allow the toes to open up? Thats crazy! I assumed they would eventually rot, or atleast shrivel up and look mummified.
     
  17. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    Honda, since we are in the bird section, I thought you were asking about bird foot injection. Squirrel feet are different.

    A lot of people don't inject bird feet at all. They just let them dry out. Meat is what rots. The tendons just dry out. There is almost zero meat in a bird foot and very little fat in the pad at the bottom of the foot.

    I have rats and squirrels that I did when I was a kid that are still good today (40 years latter) and I didn't even flesh the feet. I just cut them off at the wrist. I later learned to skin down to the toe nail on squirrels and larger rats.

    The taxidermy supply companies sell preservative injection fluid for small animal feet, bird wing tips and small game ears.

    I believe that if you are worried about rot learn to remove all the meat in that area no matter how difficult or time consuming it is.
     
    Wildthings likes this.
  18. HondaXR250

    HondaXR250 Active Member

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    Yes i was. I do have several bird feet ill need to inject.

    I usually do flesh my squirrels down, and leave in only the last toe bones, but debated on leaving the whole foot, thats why i asked about using the injector on them also.

    I probably just keep skinning them all the way down. But ill look into the injectors for the bird feet.