Making a skeleton out of chicken bones is an ideal school project for students studying anatomy. It gives them an opportunity to observe the individual bones that comprise a chicken's skeleton and compare them with what they may know about other skeletal systems. After cleaning the bones of tissue, students can examine the dried vertebrae and understand how the bones come together to form the chicken’s shape and protect its organs. Get creative with this project and discover what is really inside our two-legged farm friends.
Preparing the Chicken Bones
Submerge the whole chicken in boiling tap water in the stock pot on the stove. Boil the chicken for 10 minutes, removing the pot with pot holders when ready. Let the chicken cool down before handling.
Strip as much meat as possible from the chicken’s bones while wearing the latex gloves.Simmer the remaining carcass for five hours or until you can remove the remaining flesh easily removed from the bones.
Place the bones in a bowl of soapy warm (not hot) water and then rinse them clean with fresh tap water. Pour the used water down the drain.
Soak the bones in a bucket of 1 cup of bleach to a gallon of water for 30 minutes. Pour the used water down the drain and immediately rinse the bones in fresh tap water. Remember to wear eye goggles, an apron and latex gloves to protect your skin from coming in contact with the bleach solution.
Arrange the chicken bones on a towel so they will dry completely. If possible, allow the bones to dry in the sun, which will decrease the wait time.
Preparing the Chicken Skeleton
Assemble the chicken bones on the towel while consulting a diagram of chicken anatomy.
Thread enough bell wire through the hole in each vertebra to keep them together while creating a flexible and stable base on which to attach the additional bones. Bend the wire and vertebrae into an “S” shape to mimic the natural curve of the chicken’s neck and back.
Glue the bones in place according to the chicken anatomy diagram. Begin with the legs and feet to create the foundation. Apply a thin line of super glue and carefully press each bone into place. Attach the femurs into the pelvis and work down the legs until you are able to secure the feet at the bottom.
Mount the chicken’s skeleton by gluing the feet to a piece of corrugated fiberboard. The dimensions of the fiberboard will vary but should be large enough to provide a wide, stable base for your skeleton. Connect a piece of bell wire from the chicken’s pubic bone to the fiberboard and secure it with a small amount of glue.
Continue gluing the bones of the wings and head onto the vertebrae to complete the skeleton according to the chicken anatomy diagram. Allow to fully dry.
Clothes pins can be used as clamps to hold bones together as the glue sets and dries.
Thoroughly wash your hands when handling raw chicken as a precaution against becoming sick with salmonella poisoning.
Protect your eyes, hands and body when working with bleach as it is a caustic chemical and can potentially burn or destroy living tissue.