Picture of 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

Picture of Important stuff
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What you will need
-A Duck
-Sharp knife (careful)
-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)
-Thread and needle
-Thick wire (Or stiff coathanger wire)
-Screwdriver of pick tool
-Flat cardboard box
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Ravenx15 months ago
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.
squidcraft8 months ago

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

Can u send all this to me
I will try this again next season.
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.
MerganserMan (author)  ThatKnottyguy3 years ago
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
MerganserMan (author)  minermineman4 years ago
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.
dinozombie4 years ago
How long do I leave the duck with the borax?.
please reply
MerganserMan (author)  dinozombie4 years ago
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.

MerganserMan (author)  Legoman2001194 years ago
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.
MerganserMan (author)  Legoman2001194 years ago
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???
MerganserMan (author)  Legoman2001194 years ago
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.
smithn5 years ago
to help keep the blood at a min, once youve skinned from the feet up to the wings tie the lower half by the legs at working hight  and pull down as far down the  neck as posible. then instead of cutting the neck cut at the base of the skull. this helps in removing the brain and keeps the blood off of the pelt
MerganserMan (author)  smithn5 years ago
 Thanks for the tip! I'll use this on any nice birds I get this fall.
krelnius5 years ago
Hi I was reading this and saw the Borax. I cant seem to find any on E-bay, can you tell me where you got yours and if there is a special type specifically for taxidermy? I am looking to make some necklaces from bird feet with a stone held in the claws.

You look like the guy to ask about it for sure. Also do you have any tips for me at all? Oh, and do you have any idea on how to get the feet to hold a stone or how to attach the necklace cord/chain to the top of the leg?
MerganserMan (author)  krelnius5 years ago
I'm glad you asked! Borax should be available in pretty much any store, and is usually sold as a laundry aid for drying and sanitizing clothes, and works surprisingly well for taxidermy. There is no special kind made for taxidermy, so I would suggest checking Kmart, Walmart, or Target. Just check where they sell detergent. 

I like the project you are working on and would be glad to help. Depending on what feet you are using and what type of bird, posing them will vary. The first thing would be to make a slit in the middle of the underside of the foot and use a pair of pliers to pull out the tendons, I think I have that in one of the steps. Taking those out allows you more freedom to pose them. You could probably put wires in the feet if they are somewhat large, but if you can't just set them up and pose them with pins until they dry. If you have polyurotheyn (I just murdered the spelling of that word) you should probably spray that on the dried feet to make them even more sturdy and give them a nice shine too.

If you need anything else or have any other questions, please ask. Oh, and when you finish the product could you please send me a picture of it? It sounds like it would be pretty cool looking.

actually I have a picture of them right here http://img297.yfrog.com/i/picture002bw.jpg/ but as you can see I havnt done anything yet.

Theyre between 4 and 5 inches long I think. As for the polyurethane (had to look up spelling) does it just come in a spray can? Also does it hurt the feathers at all? Like should I just spray some in a cup and paint it into the bare leg parts with a brush to keep it off the feathers?

I'm also having trouble coming up with a way to attach a cord/chain without having to just drill a hole through the top of the leg which I'd live to avoid if possible. You seem resourceful, any ideas?
MerganserMan (author)  krelnius5 years ago
 Polyurethane (thanks for the correction :) does come in spray cans and sometimes in buckets, but for your situation I would just get a can of it. You can either only spray the feet or cover the feathers and only spray the feet (The spray won't ruin the feathers completely, but it may make them stick together and harden) If you just want to brush it on I would test it on something else first, because you will want to use a very fine brush so it goes on smooth and without grains.

As far as attaching the feet to a cord if you are handy with wood you could cut a small piece, drill 2 holes to put the ends of the feet in it, glue it, and then drill a third hole to string the cord through it. If you can't use wood you could shape a piece of clay and then bake it (possibly paint it too), you could also wrap colored wire (or any wire) and secure it with glue.

I hope these ideas help, and those are some cool feet, very long talons too.

OK, I am finally about to start on these and I read about how I'm supposed to take out the tendons but what about the leg bones above the feet, do I need to do anything with those at all or can they stay? Also do you think I need to strip anything else off the 2 I have or did I get them cut far enough below the meat so that theyre OK as is?
Also how do you hide the cut where you pull out the tendons and how large do you think the incision needs to be? Sorry if I'm asking too many questions I just dont want to botch it.
Another question, I cant quite tell exactly where you cut the legs to take out the tendons, did you do it on the inside of the foot or the outter back saide of the leg or where?
MerganserMan (author)  krelnius5 years ago
 The cut should be on the bottom of the foot underneath the leg bone right where all the toes meet. You should be able to expose all the tendons from there. (I'll try to add a caption to the step where I show that, so after you read this just check that)
If you have any more questions I would be more than happy to answer them.

Ok ya another question

At walmart in spray cans they have 3 Polyurethane cans, 1 is Clear Gloss, the next is Clear Semi-Gloss then Clear Satin. Which one do you think I should use?
MerganserMan (author)  krelnius5 years ago
 If you make only a small cut you can pin the skin back together so it dries without a hole and then paint over the feet (which you'll probably have to do anyways) but if the holes are very large you can use some strong glue and put it between the skin and the bone. you'll need to put pins in it to get it to hold until it dries though.
I managed to get a long tendon out of each foot, it looked kinda like stiff floss. I didnt know I'd need to paint them, what kind of pain do I use and how do you keep them from looking fake after being painted?
MerganserMan (author)  krelnius5 years ago
 If you have an airbrush handy that would probably work the best.  Since I myself didn't have one at the time I just used acrylic paints, they can also be found at craft stores like Michael's or maybe even Jo-ann fabrics (If you're lucky)  You'll need to blend colors to get a right match, and you'll need to use a fine bristle brush or even a sponge brush so there are no textured lines from brushing.  Once you have actually given them the right color they may look very bland and dry depending on the paint, so a coat of Polyurethane should make them look much better.  Before you start to paint the feet test out the paint on a sheet of paper or cardboard, and also give the test a little poly spray so that you know what it will look like.  If you don't want to paint them you can test your luck and see if they retain their natural color, but if they don't you'll either have to  take it apart to paint it or of course, just leave it as it is.
MerganserMan (author)  krelnius5 years ago
 The only things you must remove are the tendons and the meat. You can leave the bones if you would like (I recommend using those to help set a structure for the filling where the meat was) or you can replace them with wire, which can be difficult to do.
gargoyle6615 years ago
Thank You for the Article. I have always been interested in taxidermy since I was a child. Thanks to the internet and people like yourself . I can learn this trade at 40 years old. I live out in the Mojave desert. I have come across some cool looking corpses out here. from reptiles to mammals.. I hated pasing them up. I tried putting a barn owl on my roof for about a year and it dried very nicely. It damaged and dropped the feathers about 3 years later. I guess this is as close as I have gotten. But thanks to you . I can keep an eye out for ather animals that have fallen dead to street drivers out here. Man if I knew about this i could of had a nice lion pelt. Oh well live and learn.
Kaiven5 years ago
Can you cook the duck meat? It sounds like it might be tasty...
MerganserMan (author)  Kaiven5 years ago
 Actually you can. We got a lot of mergansers last year, but they were all females. We put them in a slow cooker and made some gravy for them. They are pretty greasy birds, you can tell from the look of the skin. Overall, they are pretty good, but you will need to find a recipe that you like.
I learned ducks/geese are greasy from this episode of the office :P

"Dwight: He was already dead and we Schrutes use every part of the goose. The meat has a delicious, smokey, rich flavor. Plus you can use the molten goose grease and save it in the refrigerator thus saving you a trip to the store for an expensive can of goose grease.

Jim: Wow. Win-win."

Last time I had merganser it tasted like fish and spoiled milk. I don't think i cooked it right.
not all ducks taste greasy just the ones that eat fish like merganser 
MerganserMan (author)  Huray4Insanity5 years ago
 Right, it really depends on where they live most of the time or what they have been eating. These mergansers were big Canadian birds that just flew in, and it appeared they were eating well. Mallards and wood ducks, going along with what you said, are much better to eat than most mergansers.
Yeah, I had assumed it is all dependent on their diet, as is any game. Still, I learned my lesson, and I'm sticking to woodies and goldeneyes, which is mostly what I see anyhow.
Go maith6 years ago
I just joined the site yesterday an am really looking forward to getting my first shotgun for the hunting season here and practicing taxidermy an hopfully getting some decent looking trophies,but i have one question, what is borax an where do i get it
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