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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been introduced to a new source of feathers and after one trip I think I'm addicted, Duck hunting :smash:. While I know that isn't a topic for this board I am looking to find the best way to preserve the skins and feathers for tying. One duck provides ALOT of tying material. I am experimenting with a green wing teal hen skin. I cleaned off as much meat and fat as I could. the skin is so thin that there is a fair amount of fat still on it. I heavily salted the insides, ends of the wings and the pin tail end. I then layed it out on dry paper towels to let some air circulate. Unfortunately it is banned from the house, but is in the garage. I figure it will take a few weeks to cure.

Does anyone else cure their own bird skins ? How do you do it :help: ?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I'll have to give the borax a try on the next one. What a great way to spend a day when the rivers are blown out :cheers:
 

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If you don't want to save the entire skin, you can always pluck the most desirable feathers and store them in zip lock bags. That is a better method if you have very many ducks...

Don't forget the CDC feathers. They are located on the back, just forward of the preening gland. These feathers aren't very big on ducks, but get respectable size on geese. Considering the cost of CDC at your local fly shop, they are something you don't want to overlook.
 

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Andy you are dead on! Pluck the good feathers and chuck the skin. You will end up with critters running around in your tying desk if you don't. Also the smell after a few months is unbearable. I used everything imaginable (salt/borax plus mothballs in the box) to cure the skin and kill the critters. Best bet is to pluck the good stuff, and discard the rest.

On upland birds I cure the skin though. Much less oil and fat. Much less spoilage.
 

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Watch out for the crawleys!!!!

No joke. One bad skin can destroy your entire collection of materials. (I lost a gigantic rubbermade container two years ago) Take precautions, freeze-thaw multiple times, microwave, or mothball. I prefer freeze-thaw. Inspect each new skin carefuly for adult bugs, and larva. When in doubt, throw it out. Keep new materials qaurantined for a while, and keep expensive stuff in multiple layers of ziplock.

I don't mean to scare you away from duck skins. I keep lots of skins every year. But be carefull. Its not like buying commercial stuff that has been bombarded with chemicals. Wild animals have bugs, and in the end its the larva that sneak up on you.

Borax is better than salt.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I read an article yesterday that recommends freezing for two days, leave out for two to let eggs and larva hatch, then freeze for two more. Definitely want to kill any creepy crawlies.
 

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anyone need for duck feathers, I hunt for the meat and throw the feathers away. Pm me if u wanna pick em up
 

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As mentioned earlier and it sounds like you found out the hard way ducks are really fat, and have relatively thin skin. If you want to keep a skin you have to get rid of that fat. I helped prep skins and live mounts in college and taxadermy companies often sell a fat scraping spoon. Its basically a spoon with a serrated edge that scrapes out the fat around the base of the feathers on the inside. Then borax. If you don't get the fat out, all the borax in the world won't keep the fat from slowly being wicked back up the feathers over time. That's a lot of work compared to pulling the desired feathers (one drake woody's worth of flank feathers is a major score) and running them through the freezer for a while.
 
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