Separate names with a comma.
Discussion in 'Bird Taxidermy' started by 3 and 0 Outdoors, Mar 17, 2008.
Need to know what is the best way to get the feathers to stand out on a strutting bird?
What I do is hang the turkey on the wall as if he were walking down the wall for about three to five days. This will usually set the feathers in a "stand up" position to make it easier to do your final grooming and adjusting. You may want to tape the beard down so it will dry in a more natural position
Not trying to ruffle any feathers here, but I have never hung a bird upside down to make the feathers stand up and I've never seen a really good turkey that was done that way. I'm sure it will work, but IMO, gravity will cause everything else to fall out of place. If you want to do a good strutting turkey, it takes alot of patience and practice. The first thing is getting the anatomy right. Most people use a form that is too big and that has too long of a thigh. Many taxidermists also leave the leg bone too long. If this anatomy is off, it is dang near impossible to get the feathers to stand up properly. What happens is that as you pull the feathers up, the tightness in the skin causes them to pull back down.
Once you have the correct anatomy and have the skin properly aligned on the form (all the skin, not just the back), it is a relative simple process to get the feathers to stand up. This step is simple, but very time consuming. I like to use 100% silicone caulk, but for beginners, I recommend White Lightning caulk (from Wal-mart or Lowes). I will caulk the saddle area of the bird by pumping in caulk through the hole where the tail was removed. I will also cut some slits in the back skin to fill areas in the front of the saddle. Once I get a nice layer of caulk, I start at the front of the bird and begin pulling the feathers up and forward. As I pull them, I try to align my rows of feathers and make sure they are space properly and are not tangled, etc. I work my way toward the tail of the bird. As you set the feathers in place, push them into the caulk. The silicone sets up pretty quick, so if you use it, you have to do it right the first time. The White Lightning takes a couple of days and will give you some adjustment time.
Ditto on what James said about the skin fitting the form. In fact, if your skin fits....you can mount a strutting bird without caulk and without haning upside down.
Thats why I start them out with a few days of "wall walking" so the hide and caulk/hide paste will tack up making the final preparation easier, but if you like spending all day and night adjusting and readjusting feathers that's up to you. A couple hours is enough for me without fighting a fresh skin and feathers. I didn't say I left them to dry completely like that, just enough for everything to tack up. I agree with your correct anatomy aspect though. To each his own.
By using the silicone, I only have to touch the saddle feathers once. The silicone will set up within an hour or so and will completely lock the saddle feathers in place. You don't need any readjustments, because the feathers will not move once that silicone sets up.
bw is also correct. The feathers will stand up on their own on a mannikin with proper anatomy...but you will have to mind the saddle for several days.