Cleaning Feathers

Discussion in 'Peafowl' started by KsKingBee, Aug 26, 2014.

  1. KsKingBee

    KsKingBee Overrun With Chickens

    I searched the forum and could not find any threads on how to clean feathers getting them ready for sale.

    Any tips and tricks would be appreciated! Thanks!
     
  2. DylansMom

    DylansMom RIP 1969-2017

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    I'm assuming you mean tail/train feathers? If so, we collect them, discarding any that are really soiled or pooped on. They are put into very large plastic bags(dry cleaners type) and put in the freezer immediately. Freezing will kill lice, mites, moths and their larva. We leave them in the freezer for approx. 1-2 weeks, depending on how crowded it gets. When we pull them out we add some moth balls to the bags and tie them shut again, moth balls will kill moth eggs(says so on the box anyway), and I am assuming they will kill lice/mite eggs also. We store them like this until we are ready to clean them. I do not actually wash any feathers, although you can if you want, I've done it with whites using, hand soap, shampoo, and tide, rinse well and blow dry. As I said, I discard the really dirty ones, the remaining ones are cleaned using a damp washcloth and a vaporizer, the steam from the vaporizer will straighten out any wrinkled herl on the feathers and fluff them up nicely. Main tools are my fingernails, if I feel any grit/dirt I just run it between my thumbnail and index finger, works just like the bird's beak when he preens. After cleaning let them air out so the moth ball odor goes away, light misting with fabreeze helps also. That's our procedure. I've seen articles where people will bake them and microwave them also to sanitize, but the train feathers are too big for those methods.
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    Sold this batch for a Halloween costume several years ago.
     
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  3. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member

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    @DylansMom ,

    [​IMG]that's an amazing bunch of feathers! If you don't mind my asking, what kind of money can one get for something like that?

    -Kathy
     
  4. DylansMom

    DylansMom RIP 1969-2017

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    I am not 100% certain, because it was several years ago, but I think it was around 100 feathers and I sold them for $125.00. I just finished a white and green wedding lot that was $600.00.
     
  5. MinxFox

    MinxFox Overrun With Chickens

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    So you layered all of those out like that on your own!? Wow that is so beautiful! What do you do about wing feathers that have an area on them that is split? I try to make the split stick back together by running my fingers carefully over it, but it always appears again. Do buyers want feathers without that or is it not that big of a deal? I am not talking about completely messy wing feathers, just one or two splits in it.

    Do these back scale feathers sell well? Unfortunately the darn dog loves feathers and she got into my photography setup for the feathers and messed up most of the feathers from this photo, but I have collected at least that many more from my boys.
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    Do people buy crest feathers and the little tiny tic feathers as I call them that the peafowl have on top of their head and around their head?
     
  6. DylansMom

    DylansMom RIP 1969-2017

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    Yes I layered those myself, most folks want to see what they can make from the feathers they are buying. I usually suggest they print the picture out and use it as a guide for arranging them once they get them. This is a project I am currently working on, buyer wants to recreate a white tail fan, but doesn't quite have enough wall space so we are shrinking it a bit.
    [​IMG]

    The splits in wing feathers are iffy, some can be put back together using steam and your fingers, others cannot be put back no matter what you do. I think it depends on how long the feather was like that, if the separations occurred when it was molted they can probably be fixed, but if they occurred months or weeks before they are probably going to stay separated. Black and white wing feathers will sell well to regalia artists who paint them and use them in place of eagle feathers, the striped wing feathers from the IB's sell well to fly tyers.
    The little gold scale/shell feathers do sell well, milliners usually buy those and crest feathers will sell as well, the little tic feathers from the head do not do so well. The blue neck feathers are a staple for fly tyers so they will sell. I have sold all kinds.

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  7. MinxFox

    MinxFox Overrun With Chickens

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    Wow you are a master feather arranger haha.

    Do you do something special to keep train feathers from curling? I have a room full of train feathers but after a while the ends of them curve instead of stand up straight. I guess hanging them or laying them flat prevents that. It is just too bad that they always want to curve like that.
     
  8. DylansMom

    DylansMom RIP 1969-2017

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    I lay the longer ones flat for storage, the shorter ones I put in vases and they don't curl too much.
     
  9. MinxFox

    MinxFox Overrun With Chickens

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    Okay thanks! [​IMG]
     

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