Hello! I’m new to this and want to process a couple small bird bodies (budgies) I have in my freezer. I’ve done some research, but I still have a lot of questions, so this post is a little long. I was originally planning on macerating the bodies, but I recently learned that parrots are one of the groups where the skulls can completely come apart during maceration. With such a tiny bird I think I would have trouble articulating the skull as a beginner (I have done dissections of a few different animal species and worked with bones before, just never outside of a lab setting until now). So I’m not really sure how to proceed. I’ve thought about dermestids but I know they only eat fresh flesh and some of these birds have been in the freezer for more than a year. Does long-term freezing damage the bones at all? Would dermestids be completely uninterested in frozen-thawed meat? I’m also a little worried about maceration as I don’t know how I’ll react to the smell. Does anyone have experience with the ammonia/oxidation method? I’ve heard it’s a less-stinky process. And on that note, do ligamentary skeletons have a smell since there’s still tissue on the bone? Can they get as white as with other methods? I want to take out the flight feathers and re-attach them to the finished skeleton, but I’m not sure if I should pluck them or just cut them off. If I pluck them, since the feathers are attached to the bone, is there a chance the bone could break? And if I cut them, will the remaining keratin attached to the bone break down during maceration? I was originally planning on removing the beak sheaths once they were soft, then reattaching them after, but I don’t know the best way to make sure the beak sheaths aren’t smelly since I'm not sure where to get 9% formalin. Does drying them with borax then soaking them in alcohol work to remove the smell completely? Is there bone all the way through to the tip of the beak or is it mostly hard keratin? If I decide not to preserve the beak sheaths, would the birds look like they don’t have a beak or are sheaths usually only preserved to add some colour to the skeleton? Despite my dissection experience, I’ve never had to skin or de-flesh anything before, so that’s the part I’m most nervous about, especially since the birds are so small, I’m worried I’ll damage the bones. I’ve read that for maceration, it’s suggested to separate the left leg and wing from the right ones in fine mesh bags as well as the body and head (so you don’t lose any tiny bones), but how do you pull the limbs out of their sockets without breaking them? What do you recommend in this situation? Should I stick with maceration and see how it goes? Is it worth getting dermestids for one project? Should I try the ammonia method since it’s such a small bird? Sorry this is so long! I just really want to do it right. Thanks!