Making a feather pillow?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by TexasMom, Mar 6, 2004.

  1. TexasMom

    TexasMom Member

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    Is there anything special you have to do to duck feathers, to use them for pillow stuffing? I found one of our white pekin ducks dead this afternoon - not sure what happened to him - he was a big 2 year old duck. Anyway, it seemed a shame not to use his feathers, but do they require any special processing, or do you just wash them?
    Linda
     
  2. kathy H

    kathy H kathyh

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    I think you can wash them in a pillow case tied shut. I think a little dish soap squirted on pliiow case would help get ride of oils.
     

  3. lacyj

    lacyj Well-Known Member

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    Usually the belly feathers, don't have as strong(stiff) a quill. If the quills are big, they will stick through the pillow. You could trim the quills, but it would take quite a while...
    lacyj
     
  4. Little Quacker in OR

    Little Quacker in OR Well-Known Member

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    :) You don't want to use ANY feathers at all! Only the down which is on the breast for the most part. What's the difference between down and feathers? They have two completely different structures. A down cluster has an identity all its own, it's like dandelion fluff with no shaft. It is not a young or small feather, and will never develop into a feather. A cluster is lighter than a feather, and it is three-dimensional rather than two, providing more "loft" or filling power.

    Most feather pillows are miserable to sleep on as the shafts come through the pillow case and they hurt!

    Something else about down( and feathers)...they are very bad for the allergic prone and can be a health risk. They become unusable faster than sythetics as dust mites love them. Sorry you lost a duck.

    LQ
     
  5. barbarake

    barbarake Well-Known Member

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    I'm glad this subject came up. I've been looking at 'down' pillows but a lot of them seem to actually be down/feather combinations. I like firm pillows so maybe that's why. Doesn't pure down make a very soft pillow?? Or can you just stuff it more to make it firmer?

    I know many 'down' comforters are actually 5% down/95% feather (of course they advertise it as 'down comforter' :rolleyes: )

    I guess I'm not really sure of the difference between feathers. I know what down is but aren't there several types of feathers (some being softer than others)?? Also, can you pluck down/feathers from a live duck/goose or are they generally slaughtered first??

    I have a very old feather pillow made by my mother-in-law's mother. My favorite pillow but I have no idea exactly what type of feathers it has.
     
  6. Little Quacker in OR

    Little Quacker in OR Well-Known Member

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    :) Hi! Guidelines by the FCC in this country say that for a product to be advertised as "Down" it should contain at least 80% Down. 20% by products such as small feathers, crushed feathers etc. deemed acceptable.
    Down is of varying quality. The premier Down in the world is Eiderdown from the sea dwelling duck of the same name. This is now a protected species so products from this duck are rare indeed.

    Next in line is Goose down and then duck down. They are both very good and durable and rate pretty close in quality.


    Feathers do vary depending on what part of the body they come from. Naturally, the smaller and softer the feather, the better if you go for that sort of thing.
     
  7. Little Quacker in OR

    Little Quacker in OR Well-Known Member

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    :) Hi! Guidelines by the FCC in this country say that for a product to be advertised as "Down" it should contain at least 80% Down. 20% by products such as small feathers, crushed feathers etc, deemed acceptable.
    Down is of varying quality. The premier Down in the world is Eiderdown from the sea dwelling duck of the same name. This is now a protected species so products from this duck are rare indeed.

    Next in line is Goose down and then duck down. They are both very good and durable and rate pretty close in quality. You do get what you pay for. Good Down is expensive.

    Feathers do vary depending on what part of the body they come from. Naturally, the smaller and softer the feather, the better, if you go for that sort of thing. Also, it's important that the down or feathers come from a lean, mature bird. If the bird is fat...the product will have a strong odor.

    Some places in the world raise geese for just their down. These geese are plucked live(South Africa being an example). In the rest of the world, it depends on what countries consume the most ducks and geese for their food supply. These are the areas that produce the bulk of the worlds Down.

    On the old feather pillow you have....do some study on dust mites..chances are the weight of that old pillow is mostly made up of these creatures. You can get "dust mite free" or "dust mite proof" covers for new pillows and comforters these days and you can purchase feather pillows that have been treated so no dust mites invade..but I'd worry about an old one. Blech!

    Hope this answers a couple of questions. Happy Spring!!! LQ
     
  8. MaKettle

    MaKettle Well-Known Member

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    Love my down pillows! They are full--when new they were too full, but after a few years become increasingly softer. They can be punched and molded to conform to the neck. Mine were store bought, and made with very close-woven ticking. They are stuffed into well made pillow protector thingies with a zipper to prevent feather escapes I understand that plucked feathers should be sorted to remove coarse feathers with pokey quills. Some people rip the feather stuff off the quills as they sort. This should be done in an area with no breeze or drafts :rolleyes: The feathers are then put into a pillow case and sewn in. Think what a pillow case full of feathers would do to your washing machine if the stitching fails, and stitch it a second time. They can be washed and dried in a machine, or hung on the clothesline in a good breeze till dry. May need a second run to remove the wet feather smell. My cache of feathers awaiting washing was discovered by a varmint, and the garden shed where I was storing them was awash with feathers--haven't tried processing feathers myself.