Duck Taxidermy

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Introduction: Duck Taxidermy

Hi This is my first instructable! I am Going to (or try to) Show you how to well... Stuff a Duck! I have stuffed quite a few animals before so i might have some more taxidermy instructables later. But for now all i have is a duck, so lets get to it.

I am stuffing a Merganser right now, its a hen too. They are pretty fatty birds, so your bird might look different on the inside...

Also this is a note for people who are COMPLETELY against this. There is some blood and gore in this! Now if you dont like the idea of killing and cutting apart animals DONT KEEP READING! This is your warning here. And also dont post mean comments or comments on how wrong you thing this is. Honestly i think if you really dont like this, dont waste your time commenting about it.

I am not responsible for anything stupid you do. Make sure you have a license and stamp before you shoot any animal. Better to know then to find out the hard way.

If you have any questions, comments, or pictures please post! Thank you Canida VERY VERY MUCH! I saw your mouse taxidermy instructable, and well now i cant stop stuffing things! Make sure you check out Canidas instructables. They are awesome!

Step 1: Important Stuff

What you will need
-A Duck
-Sharp knife (careful)
-borax
-fake eyes for your bird (note the color and size of the eyes)
-Paint (also note the color of the feet, beak, and mouth if you want your ducks mouth open)
-rubber gloves (optional but reccomended)
-Time
-Stuffing
-Thread and needle
-glue
-toothpick
-Thick wire (Or stiff coathanger wire)
-Pins
-Screwdriver of pick tool
-Wirecutters.
-Flat cardboard box

Step 2: Getting Started

Alright Now we'll get started. Ok the first step is to flip the bird belly up. Be careful not to break or bend ANY feathers. All the feathers are important. Now carefully move the feathers on a straight line over the breastbone. move them so you can see the skin.

Now we can start cutting. Just cut a straight line through the skin over the chest area. BE VERY CAREFUL NOT TO CUT INTO THE GUTS!!! Yeah you dont want to have to smell that.... Now slowly seperate the skin from the meat as much as you can. Depending on when you got your bird and what type it is, there will be a difference in the amount of fat on the skin. you should be able to see the birds legs and wings now.

Step 3: Chop Chop

Now we get to do some cutting! seperate the skin from the flesh in the neck area. Make sure you have completely seperated it from the skin. Now you use your knife and carefully cut the meaty part of the neck all the way to the bone. If you get lucky you can just cut right between vertebrae, but if you can't, get your wire cutters and cut the bone.

Once you have done that the jugular (typo) will be gushing blood. Now is the time to take your bird to a sink and wash the blood out of the feathers and everywhere else. Also try to drain the blodd from the meat.

Step 4: Down the Back

Now we will focus on the back and wings. You should be able to easily separate the skin on the upper back from the meat with your knife now. Try to do the same thing you did with the neck for the wings. Just separate the skin around them and cut the wing meat right next to the shoulder with a knife. Now cut the bone with the wire cutters.

Do the same thing for the other wing and continue skinning the back. Be careful as you get to the lower back. The skin is much more thin and fragile. Work until you get a little past the legs. you might need to wash the blood off your bird again.

Step 5: Drumstick Time

Now For the legs. Finally we will chop them off Just like the wings. Except we will cut them at the knee joint. Once both of the legs are off carefully cut down to the vent. Cut around the vent and down just a little bit.

Now you can cut the tail off. Be careful not to cut too high because you will cut into the intestines. If you cut too low the tailfeathers will fall out. It takes a little skill and practice.

Step 6: Making Your Dummy

In order to stuff the duck, we need a new body for it. Now is the time to get out your stuffing and some thread. What you want to do is clump a bunch of stuffing together and make it the length of the body.

Keep adding stuffing clumps and keep wrapping it to make it the right size and shape of your birds body. It will take a while, and a lot of thread, but you'll get it. It won't be perfect, so dont stress over it. Once you finish the body cut two pieces of your wire about 6 inches long. Stick one end of the wire into where the legs used to be attached on the FAKE BODY.

Step 7: Final Duck Cleaning

Now we have to clean our bag of duck. First of all take off some of the large pieces of fat. Don't rip too hard or fast, you could rip the skin. Now find the ducks neck. Start to pull on it and watch the skin go inside out around it. Keep pulling CAREFULLY. you may need your knife to get past any tough spots.Get all the way up to the head if you can. If you have a BIG headed duck you will need to make a cut on the back of the neck to get the head out. Now cut the neck off right next to the head, as close as you can get. Now you have to make a little hole in the back of its head. A knife or a drill would work. Now use a pick and get ALL of the brains out. These will rot BADLY if they are not removed. Dont forget to cut out the tongue! Make sure you get rid of the windpipe completely before you Turn the skin back.

You also have to cut the meat off of the legs on the duck. Only cut off the meat on the drumstick. Do this for both legs. Now you must remove the tendons in the feet. To do this cut the bottom foots skin right above the part where all the toes come together. Now take a pin and run it straight throught the cut. YOu will need to get all the way down to the bone. Then pull up on the pin. You will see white "strings" Over the pin. They will be like a loop. Now take your screwdriver and put it under the tendon loops. Now pull up hard. The tendons will break and come out. You can cut the tendons off now.

Step 8: Boraxination

Now we get dirty. Get out your Borax and start pouring it in the duck skin. Rub it around and apply tons of it. Make sure it gets everything fleshy, meaning the tail part, the legs, and the wing part. Make sure you get it in the neck, brain cavity, and eyeholes.

Before i forget, if your ducks head was smashed when you shot it or got the brains out, fill it with clay or stuffing. When the skin dries it will shrink. It would look really bad if the head was sunken in.
Try to make it look natural too.

Dont worry if you get borax on the feathers and cant get it out. You can blow it off when it dries.

Step 9: You Want Some Stuffing?

Now you have to make a fake neck. Cut a pice of wire about an inch or two longer than the birds neck. Now wrap the wire in stuffing and thread just like the body. Make sure the neck is the right size and is very smooth.

Try to jam a little bit of the wire in the head. Be careful not to cut the skin. Once you have the neck in the duck cut the wire to a size that will allow you to stick the end into fake body.

Now take your piece of wire out of your fake body. Put it right next to the leg bone that you stripped of meat and start wrapping string around it. Make it tight before you tie the string. Do this for both legs.

Once that is done shove a little stuffing where the leg meat used to be around the bone. Make it look natural. Now you can cut the wires so that they can go into the fake body, like the neck.

Now you can take two extra pieces of wire and stick them in the wing meat. Try not to rip through the skin. Just like the legs you need to put a little stuffing in the wing area around the wire.

Also stick a wire in the tail meat.

Step 10: Like a Surgeon

Now we can finally fatten up our duck! You can take your fake body and jam the neck wire into it. Then slowly set it into the skin and then jam in the wing wires. Now you can jam in the leg wires, Finally the tail wire.

Make sure that it looks good and dont worry if it isnt sturdy. Now comes the fun part. Its time to sew it up. Start off by sewing up any BIG holes you may have cut in the skin. Sew with the feathers and sew slowly so you can get the feathers out of the way. Make sure none of the feathers are trapped under the thread!

Now you can sew up the body. Start on the neck and go with the feathers. Once again be careful so that no feathers get trapped under the thread. Also pull tight, but not too tight. Also dont sew too close to the edge of the skin. It will take a while if you do it right.

When you finish straighten all the feathers out nicely, and also cover the stitches with the feathers.

Step 11: My What Beautiful Eyes You Have

Now we need to add the eyes. This part is actually really tricky. First take out one of your eyes. No Not YOUR eye, the fake eye. Now stick it in the birds eye socket. Lift up the eyelids and make it look pretty. Now take it out.

Now dip the back of the eye in glue. Now put it back in just like before. now get a pin and get a tiny bit of glue on the end of it. Lift up the ducks eyelid and put that dip of glue on the eye where the eyelid will be. Then put the eyelid back. Do that for both eyelids and both eyes. Voila! Your eyes are ready!

Step 12: Put a Pin in It

Now we have to model the duck. IF the duck is going to look like it flies stay on this step. If it is to be swimming or standing, go on to the next step.

To keep the wings open you will need to pin them to the cardboard box. Pin straight through the meat in several places. Do this for both wings and make sure the feathers are looking good on the wings. I pinned mine belly up.

If the ducks mouth is to be open, pin it open now. Pin on all sides of the head and in between the jaws. Just make sure the tongue was cut out.

Now we need to pin up the feet. Pin all the toes together naturally. Now take another pin and put it through the webbing right into the ducks body. Put another pin up closer to the end of the toes to keep them down. Put another pin throught the skin below the knee to keep the leg steady. Do this for both the feet so that they look natural. If you want your ducks feet to hang down you will have to pin open the webbing on a small pice of cardboard and prop them up.

Now the tail. Just pin the feathers open so they look nice. Make sure you dont actually break the tail feathers though.

Step 13: Alternate Stuffs

I didnt mount my bird standing, but i know how to. For swimming mounts wrap string around the wings to hold them in. Just prop up the neck in the right position (you can also bend the neck wire) and set the duck on something flat. Thats it.

If your duck is to be standing you will have to pin the feet open and to your cardboard box. Prop up the body at the correct height so the legs stand straight up. You may want to put some really stiff wire right behind the legs when you mount it so that the legs stand up better.

Also make sure you spread the tail feathers, explained in step 12.

Step 14: Gaze in Triumph

Now stand back and enjoy its awesomeness. But wait, youre not quite done yet!

Leave the duck in a dry place for a week, or atleast until it dries. Check on it daily and adjust feathers if they shift.

Once it is dry you will notice that the beak and feet lost their color. Now you have to paint them. mix the paint until you get the original foot color. Paint the foot lightly. Also paint the beak and mouth. Now you can make and add a fake tongue to your duck if its mouth is open.

For hanging it you can sew both ends of a string onto to balance points and then use the string as a hanger. Im sure you can find a better way, but thats my suggestion.

Well I hope you enjoyed this instructable. Feel free to comment or ask questions about your duck. I havent finished this duck, but when i do i'll add pictures of it here. Have a great day and i hope you enjoyed stuffing a duck!

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    81 Comments

    Tdph03 where do you live. I am looking a kid to teach. No good taking the knowledge with me lol

    Well how's it smelling now lol I'm sure it's ripe. Listen guys clean the flesh scrap the skin wash it in good soapy water to degrease the skin rinse it in cold water alway turn a skin while it's wet. Then dry it with a hair dryer then borax it. If you don't over the years the oil in the feathers will get thick with dust and be useless. Besides the smell.

    Hi I have been wanting to start taxidermy for a long time for scouts but I haven't done it. What should I get and can I get animals from anything else besides hunting because I can't get a liscense I think im to young

    I did not see the bit where you said scrap the skin in the direction of the quills taking every bit of flesh from it degrease and wash then dry the skin, in fact there's a lot I missed if it's there. I think you will have a smelly mess in the house. Been doing this for 45 years. You have to do it right or just let the poor duck live. Just my opinion.

    you should see a wild merganser mating dance it is very pretty nasty to eat tho

    Is it going to look like the last picture with the pins for the mount. btw this instructable is the best one i've seen on this site.

    1 reply

    Yes, there may be a small amount of change in the shape if the skin shrinks just a bit, but it's usually hardly noticeable, at least from the bird's I have stuffed. That would definitely be the time to get all the fine tuned positions for the mount. Thank you very much, it means a lot! Good luck with any mounts you pursue, and any more questions, please, feel free to ask!

    Hey just wanted to say thanks, great instructable I didn't do a duck though i did a small bird that looked real nice, it hit the living room window and broke it's neck so i thought id mount it, it looks real good but i think ill stick to skinning furry animals but who knows, also i used the eyes from a stuffed toy animal worked real good

    1 reply

    Well I'm glad you like the instructable! It's good to hear you're into animal taxidermy as well, I personally prefer it, but birds are nice too. And I too love the stuffed toy eyes, there's a lot of variety in both color, shape, and sizes available and can therefore fill many different needs for mounting.

    How long do I leave the duck with the borax?.
    please reply

    1 reply

    Sorry it's taken so long for me to reply, i have been away from home for most of the summer. I would say no more than 24 hours. You really only need enough time for it to absorb, and 24 hours is plenty. You can add a little water to the borax for a first coat to help the hide absorb it better. After that just use straight borax. Also, keep it in a cool, and not humid place for best results. Hope this helps!

    Nice Instructable, im just getting into duck hunting (first year). I've got a couple of frozen coot, rudy, and spoonies that i want to practice on before i shot a decent duck. If you have any tips or sugestions they would be appreciated.

    Lego

    5 replies

    I'm glad your joining the sport! Coots are good to start on, but they're too greasy to stuff or even eat. I did successfully stuff a coot a year or two back, it just took a little extra degreasing, which can be performed with detergents or even gasoline (lead free). If you have any questions just ask!

    Well the season ended =( but my dad shot a pintail and a gadwall on the last day and he wants me to try to turn them into full body land decoys for next season... i'll post pics when im done.

    Well that's good to hear. Decoys are a good idea, and definately a great way to start duck taxidermy. I can't wait to see the pics!

    Where do you buy the fake eyes???
    Lego

    You can find them just about anywhere. Online is a good place for very high quality ones, but the ones I used in this Instructable I believe were purchased at Jo-ann fabrics. I'm sure they'd have some at a Michael's or Hobby Lobby too.

    It's ok. Everyone has there own opinion and point of view, and I would hope so, otherwise we'd all be robots!