Taking the meat out of the wing

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Taking the meat out of the wing

Postby Broozer5 » Sun Mar 02, 2008 10:51 pm

So today I have skinned my first bird. It is a Bufflehead, and I first started skinning it as just a practice, but to my suprise didnt really mess anything up. I ordered some stuff (body, head, eyes...) from Vandykes and figure I will try to mount this one for my first.
My biggest problem so far was taking the meat out of the wing. I have a taxidermy video, it is called "Standing Woodduck Taxidermy Instruction" and it is from www.taxidermy101.com. In the video they sort of show how to do it, but not with much detail. On my bufflehead I basically demolished the inside of the wings trying to get the meat out.

So I guess my main question is: What, if any, is the best way to take the meat out of the wings?
What happens if you do not do this?

Thanks alot!
Ryan
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Postby Pete-pec » Tue Mar 04, 2008 8:44 am

I'm not familiar with the video, but I'm guessing that it doesn't show you how to invert the wing to the bird's wrist. You need to buy a video that shows how to do this, but you basically can invert the wing by grabbing the armpit of the bird and pulling it to the elbow. It may take a couple of tiny cuts on a tendon or two to get it to this point. Once you are at the elbow, you can use your thumbnail and push the attached feather butts off the bone until you get down to the wrist. After you've done a few of them, the whole procedure to invert takes a minute. Once the wing is completely inverted, you can easily remove the meat and tendons. There is another way to do this where you leave the feathers attached to the bone, and it's all the same with the exception of once you're at the elbow, you remove the flesh with hemostats and leave the feather butts attached to the bone. I personally don't use this method, but would use it if I was going to enter a competition.

What will happen if you leave the meat in the wing? One, it will stink, two, it will attract bugs, but maybe with a bunch of Borax you could eliminate the second. I don't think you'll have too much of an issue with fats and oils leaching through, because there just isn't a whole lot in the wing, but it isn't too late to invert the wing and remove it properly.

I am surprised that the video doesn't show you how to do the inverting, because I'm guessing that it shows you how to use the artificial head, due to the supplies you ordered. With the video being modern enough to show you how to use the artificial head, I'd be surprised that it wouldn't show you how to invert the wing.

Buffleheads are a nice first bird. I also think they are a nice 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, ..........The reason I say this is you have to get good at technique before you get good at anatomy, grooming, different poses, etc. etc. There really aren't too many birds that are as resilient as a Bufflehead, and they sort of come together on their own. By all means work with an easier specimen like Sea Ducks and Divers before you leap into Puddlers like Mallards, Woodies, and Teal. The other thing to mention on those little butterballs is they have a goodly amount of fat, and fleshing, washing and rinsing are probably the single most important steps in a quality mount. So if you're fleshing with scissors and a scraper, spend the money and buy an electric flesher.

Good luck, and if you have any questions along the way, please feel free to PM me or ask on this forum.

-Pete
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Wing Meat

Postby SGM-DKHNTR » Tue Mar 04, 2008 4:23 pm

If your pose is going to be a "closed wing" or a wing not facing an outward pose you can make an incision on the under side of the wing along the radias and ulna (I think that's what they're called), remove the meat, borax, and sew back up with a few stitches. Much faster.

You can do it that way on open wing poses but you'll have to be good at sewing with very finel thread/floss.



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Postby Broozer5 » Tue Mar 04, 2008 5:06 pm

Thanks alot for the help guys, i do appreciate it. once I get everything done, i will post pictures.
Fleshing is going to be my next obsticle. I started to do it with scissors, but it just cut through the skin on almost every slice. It doesnt matter how careful I try to be, I either dont cut enough fat off, or I cut through the skin.
Im sure you guys will be hearing alot more from me once I get the stuff to proceed to the mounting part.
Thanks again,
Ryan
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Re: Wing Meat

Postby Pete-pec » Tue Mar 04, 2008 6:01 pm

SGM-DKHNTR wrote:If your pose is going to be a "closed wing" or a wing not facing an outward pose you can make an incision on the under side of the wing along the radias and ulna (I think that's what they're called), remove the meat, borax, and sew back up with a few stitches. Much faster.


Much faster? I disagree. I think this would be much slower, and with more difficulty. You can invert wings on turkeys or geese as well, and even though I agree that you won't see the stitches with your method, I see no reason for it. I'm not knocking anyone Else's method, just trying to make it easier for the new guy. You can invert a wing on a Bufflehead in less than 1 minute as long as it isn't shot at the elbow, then you may have a little bit longer go at it.

Just my two cents, which isn't worth a dime! :rofl:

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Postby Broozer5 » Sat Mar 08, 2008 10:28 pm

Pete-Pec
So I figured I would practice and skin another Bufflehead today. I tried to invert the wing thing you described and ended up putting a huge hole in the side of the skin. I tried on the other wing, and ended up ripping the wing off of the body. I wasn't really trying to be too terribly gentle with the second wing as it was pretty much ruined with the first gigantic hole.
I did improve on my second time skinning by not putting any other holes while in the skinning process, so that was good. I just ripped off a wing, HA HA.
So I was wondering if there was any other way of describing this process. I got to "some" of the meat i needed to get to, but i just couldnt get far enough, and that is where the trouble began.
Thanks ALOT!
Ryan
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Postby Montanafowler » Sun Mar 09, 2008 8:54 am

i haven't done true taxidermy but i do tan hides. with birds i just leave the meat in the wings. i have never had a problem with smell or bugs, i just coat the end of the wing in borax and push the borax into the wing opening. one thing to remember is to have the wing in the position you want, the meat will dry harder than beef jerky and if you try to move it later, it will break the wing. i have bird skins on my wall from 3+ years ago and they haven't been a problem.
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Postby wildrivertaxidermy » Sun Mar 09, 2008 10:47 am

pete pretty well summed it up, I think of it as slidin a wet sock of your foot it is realy tight but if you go slow it will turn inside out just fine. the skin is very thin in the armpit so go slow. It takes practice but with the two swans i skinned today it took about three four min. a wing just keep practicing and take it slow. o ya and there are no holes to big to be fixed lol. I took to hungarians and made one mount out of them for a customer last week sucks but can be done. I'm realy good at sewin lol I've had to learn cuz i still get in a hurry and rip burn or cut holes! just have fun and keep pluggin away wildriver
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Postby Pete-pec » Sun Mar 09, 2008 5:33 pm

Broozer5 wrote:So I was wondering if there was any other way of describing this process. I got to "some" of the meat i needed to get to, but i just couldn't get far enough, and that is where the trouble began.
Thanks ALOT!
Ryan


I said before that you may need to cut a few tendons as you are first pulling away from the armpit. If it doesn't pull very easy, then take a heavy hook on a heavy cord, and secure it to the ceiling. Then take the hook and secure it in the cartilage of the knuckle of the armpit bone. This will give you a free hand to use your scalpel and pull and cut at the same time. You'll be able to see where there may be a tendon holding you up. Just cut it free, but don't cut into the muscle. Once you get to the elbow, you will either have to free the feather butts that are attached to the bone using a downward motion with your scalpel, or do as I do, and use the thumbnail and slide each one off till you get to the wrist, pulling slightly and inverting the wing feathers (inside out) into the closed cup of your hand. After you do a few, you'll see how the bone structure works, and after a while, you'll be able to do it without a hook. This also helps a beginner with the entire skinning process, and will aid you tremendously in the beginning stages of taxidermy. Just take the same hook, and hook it to the tailbone of the bird once you have freed the feather butts from the tailbone.

Getting back to the subject of leaving flesh in the wing. I can only suggest removing it, because eventually there will be an infestation of some little bug that wants to dine on the flesh. It happens over time, and four years is not long enough to know whether it will last a lifetime. Again, my two cents. The fact is, that it's so easy to invert the wing and remove the flesh, I see no need to leave it there for some pest to eat later.

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Postby Broozer5 » Sun Mar 09, 2008 6:09 pm

Pete-Pec
I really appreciate you helping me out with this whole procedure. I hope to try and skin another bird next weekend, so I will let you know how it goes.
This last time I tried I could sort of start to see what you mean. I felt that I ALMOST could of gotten the wing meat out, but not quite. Ill get it one of these times.
Thanks again!
Ryan
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Hmmmm

Postby SGM-DKHNTR » Tue Mar 11, 2008 10:53 am

Two more cents:

I only mentioned cutting the underside of the wing to give an alternative. I don't do it that way myself because I've been able to invert and prefer that unless I'm doing turkeys or geese.

WASCO sells a set of 3 hooks that's made for skinning. You suspend them from some type of arm and hang the duck from them for skinning. It doesn't cost much and it works real good for holding the the body as well as the wings. PetePec's hook from the ceiling is the same idea. I leave enough meat around the knuckle of the armpit bone to grab on to with and remove that meat last from the wing. As PetePec said, it'll free up both hands. I also work the feather tracks down with my finger nails while at the same time using the "perfect knife" to carefully work the hide away from the bone/meat. I've never found this to be a "fast" process, but maybe it's just me. I go slow so as to not tear up the wing.

Again I agree with PetePec, remove all the meat & fat! Then use plenty of Borax.

Send us a pix when you get your first one done.

Good luck.
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Postby Pete-pec » Tue Mar 11, 2008 2:27 pm

There's a million ways to skin a cat, and I'm sure there is an equal amount to skin a duck. I think the most important thing to doing any type of taxidermy, is to find your way which works best for you, and improve upon it every opportunity you get. Be open to suggestions and think outside the box! I learn something new every week. It gets hard to keep up on the latest and greatest. :thumbsup:

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