Cleaning feathers to use for crafts

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by sherpagirl, Nov 16, 2009.

  1. sherpagirl

    sherpagirl Chillin' With My Peeps

    If we butcher our rooster, I would like to save the feathers to use for crafts. After the feathers are plucked out, is there a way to sterilize the feathers without ruining them? [​IMG]
     
    1 person likes this.
  2. Windy Ridge Farm

    Windy Ridge Farm Out Of The Brooder

    40
    3
    34
    Oct 16, 2009
    Wetumpka, Alabama
    You can soak them very carefully in some warm sudsy water with dishwashing detergent, rinse, then let them air dry on a paper towel. After that I usually stick them in the freezer for a couple of weeks to kill any mites that may be there.
     
  3. dancingbear

    dancingbear Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,836
    27
    191
    Aug 2, 2008
    South Central KY
    They really don't need to be sterilized. They aren't sterile when you handle the birds. They just need to be clean, like your laundry, hair, etc.

    I clean mine by soaking in warm water with Woolite. I swish them around a little, but mostly just let them soak. I read advice from a taxidermist who washes feathers with ordinary shampoo, she said it makes them soft and shiny. So you might want to try baby shampoo, or a good conditioning shampoo.

    After I rinse mine really well, I fill a container with clean water, and put a few drops of cedar essential oil on the water. Not much, you just want a very thin film of oil on the water, just enough you get that rainbow-reflection effect when the light hits the water. Agitate it well, drop in the feathers and swish them around. Lavender would be great to use, too, or orange oil. Those are all good for killing bugs, and smell nice. The oil gives the feathers a nice sheen, as well.

    Since I usually clean large amounts at a time, I don't want my whole house full of drying feathers. I found that I can put them in one of those quilted looking zippered pillow covers, put that on inside another pillow cover, (zipper end first, so the zippers are on opposite ends) and dry them in the dryer. You will lose a few, but most will come out just fine. If you roll the zippered ends down a little, and fasten them with a safety pin, fewer feathers will work their way out of them. Some will get stuck in the polyester padding inside the case, and you'll have to pull those out, but it helps keep them from working all the way out and going through the holes in your dryer drum. The tightly woven allergen blocking pillow cases might work, too, but I like the quilty ones. At first I worried over losing some of the feathers, until I realized just how quickly you get way too many accumulated. [​IMG]
     
  4. lauranickerson

    lauranickerson Chillin' With My Peeps

    708
    15
    111
    Apr 17, 2013
    Kingsley, MI
    Just commenting to save this thread. :)
     
  5. vmeversole

    vmeversole New Egg

    6
    0
    9
    Jan 13, 2014
    Vermont
    Cool ideas!
     
  6. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    I normally just toss them into a pillow case, tie a knot in the top, wash them in the washing machine and throw them in the dryer...they will need to dry for some time to get completely dry but they fluff right back up just like they were on the bird. All within the safety of the pillow case. Not many come out during this process.
     
    3 people like this.
  7. lauranickerson

    lauranickerson Chillin' With My Peeps

    708
    15
    111
    Apr 17, 2013
    Kingsley, MI
    I wondered if just a normal pillowcase would work, because that's what I have. Didn't want to buy anything special. Might double bag it, maybe with my normal pillowcase, then my flannel one, since it's more dense. I've got a few ducks I have to cull in the next day or two and possibly a couple roosters to make room for my new handsome stud. :)
     
  8. lauranickerson

    lauranickerson Chillin' With My Peeps

    708
    15
    111
    Apr 17, 2013
    Kingsley, MI
    I've never plucked a bird, just skinned. Do even the plucked feathers generally get their original shape back as long as they aren't broken? When I watch plucking videos, the feathers just look like a heaping mess.
     
  9. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    Sure will as long as it has a high thread count. I wouldn't use flannel because it doesn't have as tight a weave as a cotton pillow case. The ducks take well to a dry pluck and they have amazing down at this time of year so you may have some good pluck from them.

    They go right back to the way they were. Lovely!
     
  10. lauranickerson

    lauranickerson Chillin' With My Peeps

    708
    15
    111
    Apr 17, 2013
    Kingsley, MI
    Yay! So if I decided to scald them, that shouldn't affect them?
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by