1. Welcome to Taxidermy.net, Guest!
    We have put together a brief tutorial to help you with the site, click here to access it.

Duck Duck Borax

Discussion in 'Beginners' started by LostNewbie, Apr 25, 2020.

Tags:
  1. LostNewbie

    LostNewbie Member

    32
    9
    I just picked up a roadkill duck, and I want to skin it to prepare for taxidermy. I still live with my family though, and as of right now, I do not have a form for it. They will not let me freeze the skin, so I’d need to dry preserve it. I also have very minimal salt, but I have a lot of borax. Could I dry preserve and eventually rehydrate the duck skin for taxidermy if I dry preserve it with borax?
     
  2. joeym

    joeym Old Murphey

    You are in a losing situation. You can skin the duck for practice, but if you can't freeze it, it's going to be un-mountable by the time you have supplies. Borax is going to make the skin rock hard, and impossible to re-hydrate. Same with salt to a lesser degree. The legs and wing bones will lock up, and you will never make it work. Skin it, the toss it, and you'll be leagues ahead.
     

  3. Mike Powell

    Mike Powell Well-Known Member

    Joey’s right. Unless you can sneak it into the freezer without getting caught - I’m kidding (well, sort of ) - you don’t have any other viable alternatives. It will begin to rot quickly.
     
    magicmick and msestak like this.
  4. Frank E. Kotula

    Frank E. Kotula master, judge, instructor

    I’ll disagree as I would salt dry it and hydrate it later.
    Birds that are shipped out of the country to here are generally skinned and salted. Yes it’s a pain but your not going to be that dried out. Make sure you do your best on getting the fat and meat off prior to salting.
    no matter what your going to have an issues and personally check with your laws on waterfowl roadkills. That’s federal if it was wild and I’m not sure on them as I get them brought in legally.
     
  5. joeym

    joeym Old Murphey

    I really don't like to see a novice start off with a challenging specimen. A freshly skinned duck offers enough challenges to a newbie. I don't care to work with salted ones, and I've mounted hundreds of ducks.
     
  6. LostNewbie

    LostNewbie Member

    32
    9
    I didn’t exactly want to start with a duck, but since it was a perfect fresh example of roadkill, it was the only thing my mother would allow. I wanted to start with mice just to get the hang of things, but she wouldn’t allow it (I don’t see why, as domestic mice are more sanitary than roadkill). I did end up putting some holes in the skin because it was the third time I’ve skinned anything ever, but nothing severe and nothing more than half an inch. I was allowed to put it in the freezer in the end, after I told her that salting it would make the process infinitely harder. I ended up buying a Ferebee duck kit from McKenzie, and I plan to mount as soon as I know how to deal with the feet and injection stuff. I’ve watched a lot of tutorials from different people, and picked up a bunch of tips, but I still don’t know how it’s going to turn out. I plan to keep the original feet, but a replica beak. I understand how to wire the wings, but not how to inject the feet or if it even needs to be done. If I do need to inject the feet, I don’t have access to masters blend, is there anything else I can use? What is lacquer paint? Is it just normal acrylic? Thank you for the help.
     
  7. joeym

    joeym Old Murphey

    Don't invest in expensive Master's Blend on your first bird. Buy some glycerin from McKenzie, and mix it 1:1 with denatured alcohol and inject with a small (18-21) gauge needle. What species of duck is it?
     
    LostNewbie likes this.
  8. LostNewbie

    LostNewbie Member

    32
    9
    It’s a mallard drake, and I suspect it came from the domestic mallard population at the local pond that’s across the road from where I found him. The issue with McKenzie is that the shipping is outrageous. I bought a Ferebee flying duck kit and 3 sizes of wire for $60, and the shipping was $30. It doesn’t tell you the shipping cost until after you have paid. I can get hypodermic needles easily from Amazon, and I have hide paste at home. If I diluted the hide paste with water, would it function similarly to the masters blend? I know it dries much slower but I have a cool dry place to store the mount. If the hide paste won’t work, is there somewhere else I could obtain glycerin? Does the glycerin/alcohol mixture plump the feet up like masters blend would?
     
  9. joeym

    joeym Old Murphey

    Glycerin can be obtained at a pharmacy. It will plump the feet up, and with the denatured alcohol, do a better job of preservation than Master's Blend (MB), which does zero preservation. The glycerin mixture will dry much slower, several days, whereas MB cures immediately. Your major issue with a farm raised duck will be de-fatting. They are mega-fat compared to wild birds. Without any equipment, you will need to take a scalpel or razor blade, and cut VERY shallow lines in the fat about a quarter inch apart, then criss-cross them the same way. apply borax liberally, then lay the skin across something like a baseball or a light bulb, and cut the little checks off with a pair of scissors. You then sprinkle with borax and take a fine wire brush (like a wire toothbrush) and go over each area, before moving on. This seems impossible, but with a delicate hand, patience, and a little time, you will de-fat the bird.
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2020
    LostNewbie likes this.
  10. LostNewbie

    LostNewbie Member

    32
    9
    Thank you so much for the advice! If glycerin is available from my local CVS, I'll be doing this for sure. The duck was very fatty around the neck and tail areas, and once I thaw him I'll try the scoring/cutting/wire brush method.
     
  11. Lance.G

    Lance.G Well-Known Member

    Look up Matuska Taxidermy on you tube they have a some great video. One on feet injection.
     
    LostNewbie likes this.
  12. LostNewbie

    LostNewbie Member

    32
    9
    Sorry to bother you again, but do you have any advise on degreasing the duck, tumbling, or whether carding or taping is better? I only just learned that you have to degrease it, but I have seen people mount without doing it. Is it necessary? And if it is, is there an alternative to using gas (my parents will not allow flammable things). I don't know much about tumbling or how to do it, but I do have a hair dryer at home that I can use to blow dry the skin. And what is your opinion on carding and taping?
     
  13. joeym

    joeym Old Murphey

    Forget about gas. Don't ever start using it. You will need to wash your duck in mildly hot water saturated with Dawn. Wash, rinse, wash rinse, rinse rinse. Hang to let drip dry, then roll in a towel to remove excess moisture inside and outside. Use your hair dryer, and in 30-45 minutes it will be fluffy and dry. Don't get the duck super hot when drying. You can regulate this by the distance the dryer is from the plumage. Most people use a combination of carding and tape. Tape on the top side, then tape underneath. Remove the tape on the show side after a few days. Tape on the underside can remain til finishing.
     
    LostNewbie likes this.
  14. pir^2h

    pir^2h Retrievers give you the bird

    Question Frank, I have a salted turkey (in my freezer right now at about -10 degrees), how would you suggest I rehydrate him?
     
  15. Frank E. Kotula

    Frank E. Kotula master, judge, instructor

    Water, bactericide
    It can be a long process as you have to work the skin. They just don’t hydrate like a normal skin does. Plus you may not have as much issues that you salt and froze it.
     
  16. LostNewbie

    LostNewbie Member

    32
    9
    I plan to mount the duck this weekend as I now have all the supplies. I just reread your comment on using glycerin and denatured alcohol, and realized that I only have isopropyl alcohol. Would it work with 70% isopropyl alcohol instead of the denatured stuff? If not, I can wait to order it which may be difficult because of coronavirus and all of the alcohol shortages.
     
  17. joeym

    joeym Old Murphey

    Isopropyl alcohol will work.
     
    LostNewbie likes this.