HOW TO PREPARE IT
AND MOUNT IT
In order to understand, observe, and learn about the chicken
skeleton, the feathers, muscle, fat and skin must be removed and the parts of
the skeleton arranged in their natural order.
When these steps have been completed, the nomenclature of the skeleton
and the function of the different bones can be studied.
To prepare and mount a chicken skeleton, using a mature
To arrange the various bones of the skeleton in their
To learn as much about the nomenclature and function of the
chicken bones as possible.
mature chicken (Young chickens do not have completely calcified bones.)
Mature chickens are readily available from any commercial poultry farm.
tube of quick-drying cement or glue.
pint of clear varnish or semi-gloss white paint.
about 61.0 cm (2’) of # 30 aluminum wire; about 91.5 cm (3’) of # 22 wire;
one 40.6 cm (16”) piece of brass galvanized or stainless steel about 1/16
to 3/23 in diameter, No. 14 is adequate; one support rod, 51 cm (20”)
piece of brass or stainless steel approximately 4.8 mm (3/16”) in
- An old
bottle of chlorine bleach
piece of hardwood for the base about 18 cm X 30 cm X 2.5 cm (7” X 12” X
the mature bird, one that is several years old.
the bird by cutting the jugular vein at the throat or under proper
supervision use anesthesia (ether, chloroform, or intravenous urethane at
the rate of 2 to 3 grams per kilogram of body weight.) Be careful that the
bones are not broken.
all life has left the bird, remove the skin with the feathers, all
viscera, comb, and wattles. Cut the meat off the breast, thighs, legs,
etc. Do not cut or damage the ribs or other bones. Dispose of all parts except the now
relatively denuded carcass. Caution:
Care should be taken to prevent cutting poorly calcified portions of the
skeleton. Special care must be
taken when cutting in the region of the head, face, and digits.
the scales from the tarsometatarsus and digits of the feet.
the viscera and be careful not to break the pubic bones. It is not
essential to remove all soft tissue from the skeleton.
the leg wings and neck along the body and tie with a string to make a
small compact mass of intact skeleton.
the carcass in a container and cover it with water. Boil the water for at least two hours,
reduce the heat and allow the carcass to simmer for another 4 hours. Using a pressure cooker will shorten
the cooking time. Cool the cooked
carcass and strip off any remaining flesh. Then scrub the bones clean with a toothbrush. Stringing the bones of the neck and tail
with wire will keep them in order and make the assembly job easier.
the skeleton has dried at room temperature or baked at 93oC
(200oF) for an hour the bones can be bleached by placing them
in a solution of 3% hydrogen peroxide or in a solution of 0.25 liter (1
cup) of chlorine bleach in 3.8 liters (4 quarts) of water for 24 hours.
drying the skeleton for several days, it is ready to be mounted.
the skeleton: The piece of hardwood and stiff metal rod will be needed to
support the skeleton.
one end of the rod with a fine end metal saw and bend the two resultant
prongs into shape of a U or saddle.
Now bend the rod so that the saddle will fit around the thoracic
vertebra between the ribs no. 2 and 3.
Carefully bend the rod (do not bend while it is attached to the
skeleton) until it will pass in the mid saffital plane, from just below
the thoracic vertebra diagonally down to the caudal tip of the
mestasternum, then continue the rod ventrally at a slope of approximately
135o. The lower end of
the rod will eventually be fixed in the center of the wood base. Until this is done, the rod can be
held in a vise.
a piece of heavy wire as far as possible inside the neural canal of the
fused vertebra of the back, then bend it in a S shape curve to resemble
the natural curve of the neck of the bird. Put the first thoracic vertebra in place, and then put the
cervical vertebra on the wire and push them into their normal positions
with the zygophyses overlapping.
After the cervical vertebra is in place, cut the wire so that it
will support the skull in a natural position. All cervical vertebras can be glued. Use quick drying airplane glue for
femurs of the legs must be inserted into the acetabula of the pelvic girdle. Hold them in place with a pin of
medium size wire extending from one femur through the acetabula cavities
to the second femur. Make the
holes for this pin with a small drill.
bones of the legs can be wired together or glued with quick-drying
cement. In some cases the bones
may be held in a normal position by the ligaments.
attaching the legs to the pelvic girdle as described above, you can
determine the length of the support rod.
Cut the rod the necessary length to support the skeleton in an
upright position and anchor it to the 18 cm X 30 cm X 2.5 cm (7” X 12” X
1”) support piece of hardwood.
phalanges of the digits can now be straightened and put into normal
position. Use small drops of
quick-drying cement to hold the digits against the wood base. The bones of the wing can be wired or
cemented into position. Usually
the humerous and the radius and the ulna are parallel to the scapula and
carpometacarpus and digits extend ventrally at a 90o angle
from the forearm. For additional
support use a piece of medium size wire to thread the wing bones and the
lower jaw (mandible) can be cemented or wired at the point of contact
with quadrate. The hyoid apparatus, which supports the tongue, can be put
in place and cemented or supported by cemented thread. If the strain is not great, the thread
works well and is hardly noticeable.
The ocular rings may be suspended in two places by cemented
the skeleton is in its final position, you can retouch many joints with
quick-drying cement. Then spray
it with clear plastic for preservation or brush it with a thin coat of
In reporting your skeleton, be
sure to include a detailed account of the time and materials needed to accomplish