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Drying Wings & Feet The 'natural Way'?

Discussion in 'Beginners' started by stella.r, May 12, 2021.

  1. stella.r

    stella.r New Member

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    canada
    hello to the taxidermy community!

    i am seeking some advice on how to dry out parts of a bird: wings, feet, head - ideally without the use of chemicals.
    i usually just collect what has decomposed naturally - with various results… :) we live close to the ocean and occasionally find carcasses of seagulls and waterfowl (besides small mammals in our backyard).
    since i also keep chickens, i might, at some point, want to try myself at preserving some of their remains as well. (some of my chickens are so called ‘bantams’ -> meaning smaller and considered more ornamental.)
    so, in short, i have a steady ’supply’ of possibilities but i am not thinking of ever making a professional mount of any animal. i would simply like to be able to keep - for instance - a complete wing or a complete foot (up to the ankle joint).

    currently, i am dealing with a deceased bird that has not yet finished decomposition and i am seeking some advice how to speed the process along.

    i understand that waterfowl is prone to mites and i came across the suggestion to start by freezing the bird.
    i have further come across the suggestion to first clean and then cover any part in cornmeal (an ingredient i don't normally have at home) and, while standing in front of the food isle, i had the choice between plain and slightly coarse cornmeal or a much finer pre-cooked flour-like version.

    i assume that the precooked meal makes more sense since the absorbency would be higher (?). i also have plenty of diatomaceous earth and could make a - say - equal mix of the 2, then thoroughly immerse and cover the parts i want to preserve with this mix and let it sit in a warm and ventilated space.

    as for cleaning the bird: it feels counterintuitive to me to moisten what has already dried and i am thinking of just brushing off & cutting out anything that is loose etc.
    the head, for instance, has already dried quite nicely with no traces of flesh/brain/etc. left except for some dried skin. the feet & wings, however, are still pretty pristine.

    any suggestions are very much appreciated!
    stella
     
  2. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    I'm glad you put in your location. That saves a lot of posting space, because there would inevitably be postings on the legality of some of the birds you mentioned in the United States.
     

  3. joeym

    joeym Old Murphey

    Stella...you don't have corn meal in your kitchen! That's terrible, LOL! You need to use borax on those wings. True, it's a chemical, but a "naturally occurring" one. On the feet, fresh ones can be places in a mixture of borax and water for a day or two, then positioned to dry. Without some form of bug proofing, insects will destroy them eventually.
     
  4. stella.r

    stella.r New Member

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    canada
    hey joey, thank you for your input! i have no problem using borax and will try this as suggested.
    diatomaceous earth is usually very effective on existing bugs but will most likely not keep them away as, apparently, borax does - so this is a great suggestion!
     
  5. stella.r

    stella.r New Member

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    canada
    hi joey, me again... with a brief question: do i just sprinkle the borax on top or does everything have to be fully immersed?
     
  6. Wildthings

    Wildthings Well-Known Member

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    Make a solution of it and immerse
     
  7. stella.r

    stella.r New Member

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    canada
    i'm sorry... i should have clarified: i was referring to the wings...
    should they, too, be immersed into the borax-water?
     
  8. Wildthings

    Wildthings Well-Known Member

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    all meat and flesh needs to be removed and than borax is rubbed into all the fleshed areas and left to dry
     
  9. byrdman

    byrdman Well-Known Member

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    whats the cornmeal for? just sprinkle sand on your bread haha