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Feathers

 
pollinator
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After my successful reuse of local sheep wool, I'm now into bird feathers. Wet feathers after butchering are usually discarded (hopefully composted). Some people make pillows or dusters for house cleaning, or for bee keepers.

I currently have an idea for an art project, and I'd love to use the wet feathers. Yesterday, people from whom I bought a chicken carcass plucked some dry feathers for me, before killing the poor chicken:



...because they thought that the wet feathers will be useless. But they gave them to me too. The bird was a male Green-legged Partridge, so the feathers are really pretty.

I'm now drying the wet feathers on paper towels, but the dry ones aren't very clean either... so I'd love to learn to clean them somehow, but to have them still fluffy afterwards. I will also get feathers from ducks and geese later.
 
Flora Eerschay
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The wet feathers, now almost dry. They don't look very bad... But maybe there is a better way of processing them?
feathers-drying-for-use.jpg
feathers drying for use
feathers drying for use
 
gardener
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I go hiking in places that have funky birds (I live in Brazil, one thing we have a lot of is funky birds) and collect their fallen feathers, and I also worked at a shelter for abandoned parrots, so I have accumulated a decent amount of feathers.
First, be warned- there are bugs that eat feathers, so keep an eye on your art project. I have some fancy parrot feathers I stashed away and opened up the bag to find what looked like the mess after pantry bugs eat your beans or rice. I don't know how to repel them without toxic gick.
I usually find my feathers on the beach, so I want to get the salt and sand (and who knows what else) off, so I usually wash them in very dilute soapy water (dish soap). That's it. If I were going to use them near my face I'd be concerned about bacterial contamination and maybe use boiling water, but I don't. Once your feathers are dry you sort of "comb" them with your fingers (just like a bird preening) and the feather fibers will fall into place.
 
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First, be warned- there are bugs that eat feathers, so keep an eye on your art project. I have some fancy parrot feathers I stashed away and opened up the bag to find what looked like the mess after pantry bugs eat your beans or rice. I don't know how to repel them without toxic gick.



I wonder if leaving the feathers in the freezer for a while would kill off said bugs and perhaps other potentially icky beings that might be on the feathers? Or perhaps covering them in salt or DE could work to get rid of critters, if you didn't want to wash them?  

I have quite the collection of feathers as well. I normally don't clean them or anything, but am trying the freezing for some feathers I removed from a roadkill bird. I was afraid washing them with soap might mess them up by removing the oils and that I wouldn't be able to preen them back into shape, but looks like it works ok. So I will probably do that too. Thanks!
 
Tereza Okava
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I wouldn`t use full strength shampoo or anything that might totaly strip the natural oils, but a one-shot wash with dilute soap shouldn`t be too harsh.
We don't have DE here so I have no experience with it, but it might work, same with freezing (works for beans, right?). Worth a shot!
I look forward to seeing what you make!
 
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