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First Attempt At Maceration - Deer Skull

Discussion in 'Skulls and Skeletons' started by lazyMlazyK, Dec 1, 2021.

  1. lazyMlazyK

    lazyMlazyK New Member

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    Just getting into maceration, this is my first attempt. Water has been between 80-90*F. Got ahead of myself and changed the water on day four so I could move the stinky bucket from the garage to the shed. The meat has rotted away but there is still this tough membrane(?) around the skull. This skull has been in water since last week Monday. Will this membrane stuff rot off if I leave the skull in the warm water? The water and skull still stink to high heaven, so I think the bacteria is still working. Probably shouldn’t have changed the water so soon, I realize that was probably a mistake that set the process back a little. Pictures of day 1, day 4, and today.

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  2. 13 point

    13 point Well-Known Member

    Did you even skin the hide off the skull? Looks like you didn’t. All the hide and meat brains skin eyeballs should all have been removed before you ever put it in the bucket .
     

  3. lazyMlazyK

    lazyMlazyK New Member

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    01D53D7C-9CEF-4434-BA04-07129375CA29.jpeg The skin was off the skull as well as the lower jaw and eyes. Did not remove the brain, but did spill the brain out on day 4. Here’s the skull before it went in the water:
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2021
  4. 13 point

    13 point Well-Known Member

    Gotcha, with the membrane breaking the way it did just didn’t look it . Yea alway get as much off as possible and it will go much faster.
     
  5. lazyMlazyK

    lazyMlazyK New Member

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    Do you think I need to bump up the heat to get that white membrane that’s left to break down more? Or should I just leave it for another week or two and see what happens?
     
  6. Have you got any meat trimmings off of something else you could add to the water to help build up the bacteria count? You lost your bacteria when you changed the water and there is not enough meat left to give it the jump start if needs to take care of the membrane. Your temperature should be fine.
     
  7. Clovis Point

    Clovis Point Active Member

    Youve got a long way to go, I dont even think about looking at mine until its been at least a month. You do have little room upward you can go temp wise, I have heard said that 110-115 is the sweet spot.... using pond water or even well water (I use the water from my aquarium water changes) vs tap (no chlorine) is beneficial for fostering bacteria growth. A dash of bakers yeast REALLY gets it going ...
     
  8. lazyMlazyK

    lazyMlazyK New Member

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    Thanks folks. I’ve got some meat trimmings and other skulls to learn from, but they’re in the freezer...does that kill the bacteria?
     
  9. Clovis Point

    Clovis Point Active Member

    freezing kills bacteria - thats why we do it with our food. But once that meat is introduced into an environment thats not freezing and condusive to bacteria growth, such as unchloroniated water at roughly 100 degrees- bacteria will grow
     
  10. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    If it takes over a month you are doin it wrong. 2 weeks is all it takes. Next time, remove the brain before starting the process. The more material you remove, the faster the job goes. Other than leaving the brain in, skull looks good to go. Maybe try getting it closer to 90 degrees. Do not go to 110/115 degrees. That high a temp will kill off the bacteria which is not what you want. 115 is the temp you want to dissolve the grease out of it though. With that type of bucket heater, there may be cold spots in the bucket. If you dumped all the water at the 4 day point you did jolt the process to a halt. Also refilled the bucket with cold water? Another thing that didn't help. As above, try adding a small bit of fresh meat or even a chunk of some type of road kill that is already starting to stink a bit. You just need to get that bacteria culture back up to where it will clean that bone. Yes. Most, if not all of that membrane will be dissolved.
    Try to get it going good again. If you can put a lid on the bucket (I cut it so I can fit it around antlers) it will help to hold some of the heat in which you are losing out the top surface.
     
    lazyMlazyK likes this.
  11. lazyMlazyK

    lazyMlazyK New Member

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    Thanks for the tips! I've added a coyote skull in a mesh bag to hopefully kick the bacteria into gear again. It seems like the white membrane is getting a bit softer and starting to pull away from the bone more. I'll work on an idea to cover the top some to help keep some heat in as well. I'll post back with more progress in the next week or so.
     
  12. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Suggest you wear gloves handling anything in and around the culture. Hint .. Flesh Eating Bacteria. Not something to treat lightly and even a paper cut or hangnail can go South really fast and badly.
     
  13. lazyMlazyK

    lazyMlazyK New Member

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    Thanks! Adding the coyote skull seemed to do the trick! Nearly all of the white "membrane" material has been eaten away, and the skull appears nearly void of flesh! I might need to get another bucket and heater set up to start degreasing the deer while the coyote continues to macerate. Thanks for the tips so far!

    Since the deer skull will finish macerating before the coyote skull is done macerating, and I'm only set up with the one bucket & heater right now, would there be any issue if I pulled the deer skull out of the macerating water and it dried out until the coyote skull is also done and ready to degrease? I'm wondering if the grease might "set up" in the skull if the skull is allowed to dry out before degreasing.

    Also, if I left the deer skull in the water with the coyote skull as the coyote skull continues to macerate, do I run a risk of the deer skull picking up off-colors from being in the water?
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2021
  14. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Biggest problem with that is that the deer is going to need a constant temp of 120 degrees to move the grease out. The coyote only needs 115 and will probably degrease much faster. I wouldn't let it dry out. You may want to start the deer degreasing and add the coyote to it when it is done. The 120 degrees will not hurt the coyote.

    The only "off" colors I have had from macerating was when the oxygen got used up in the water and a different bacteria took over. Everything turned black, especially the teeth (beavers). By the time they were done, the black was completely gone. You can see photos in my post about the beaver heads/skulls.
     
  15. lazyMlazyK

    lazyMlazyK New Member

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    So for now, would you recommend I leave the nearly-finished deer in the bucket with the half-done coyote? I've only got the one heater at the moment.
     
  16. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    That would probably work. More important is the temp get to 120 when you go to degrease the deer. Coyotes do not have a lot of grease and that should clean up a lot faster.