Grey-Goose Down

To: Evan Beaver <>, bird <>
Subject: Grey-Goose Down
From: brian fleming <>
Date: Wed, 11 Jul 2007 11:52:42 +1000
Evan Beaver wrote:


Does anyone know about the process involved in recovering down for
person insulation? It's an incredible material, and I'd like to know
where it comes from.


The best down comes from eider ducks. In Iceland they are 'farmed' - the landowner builds small enclosures from rock slabs in which thewild eider-ducks nest. The duck makes a nest by plucking a great deal of down to surround the eggs. The land owner collects some of this at the start of nest-building, putting down a layer of straw so the eggs are still insulated. As soon as the ducklings hatch and follow their mother to water, the remaining down is collected. Goose and domestic duck down is collected when geese are killed for the table, but in the 18th-19th century geese were often plucked for down during their lives, like sheep-shearing. Most domestic goose and duck down comes from China and other parts of Asia and i dont know about their methods. Locally made sleeping-bags in the 1950s, and maybe later, had a distinct slight musky odour because some of their down came from the young mutton-birds killed for the "sea squab" industry.

You can tell if an old quilt contains real eider down because the tiny feathers have very fine brown bars. The sitting eider duck is very well camouflaged. I have seen a stuffed baby Wandering Albatross. That has a wonderful coat of down - looks like a sheep with a beak!

Anthea Fleming

Anthea Fleming


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