DIY - Making a down comforter from duck feathers and down

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by clmschke, Nov 20, 2013.

  1. clmschke

    clmschke Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If you're one to be iffy about the idea of raising ducks for meat...stop reading here. I do not want to offend anyone.

    My husband and I decided to raise a flock of meat ducks this last summer, and I decided to use their down and feathers for a comforter. I wanted to make sure to get as much as we could from these ducks' lives.

    To anyone who wanted to know if you could use feathers from ducks as down for comforters and such...yes, you can. How do you do it? Well, I could not find any online source that would give me the whole process, so I wrote down and photographed the process as much as I could for future reference. I used this information in my blog for a few weeks, but instead of directing you to endless frou frou about knitting, I've converted the whole thing to a pdf. file.

    I've posted the pdf form to google docs:
    https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bzee85NJjrtbMXI5UGZCTGxBc0k/edit?usp=sharing

    If you've got questions after reading that, ask me. We now have one duck down comforter and I will be making more. The one down comforter measuring 60" x 60" took the feathers + down of about 8 ducks. All in all, we butchered 26. And as you are all my witness, I will never. do. it. again. Next year, chickens.

    -Brenda
     
    6 people like this.
  2. cosbackyard

    cosbackyard Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 20, 2013
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    Always wondered if it was practical to do this. Might as well try to use the feathers if you can.
     
  3. BlueMouse

    BlueMouse Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 5, 2013
    Esperance NY
    thanks for posting this! I hate to waste anything from the animals we raise, and ducks are on the docket for next year. Any reason why you won't do ducks again??
     
  4. Marty1876

    Marty1876 Hi Everyone!

    Brilliant way to use something that's a product of ducks. We eat and dress ducks, and I love the idea of using some of the down and feathers from the half dozen or so ducks on our winter schedule. Our are black and white ducks, so I'll take that into consideration with the fabric selection. I've never used goose or duck down yet, but why not? Down pillows and comforters are an expensive luxury item, why not use my own? I loved your article, and am very pleased you've shared it!

    THANK YOU!
    [​IMG]
     
  5. clmschke

    clmschke Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I think the reason we'd not do this again has nothing to do with the down/feathers, but with the fact that for the amount of work to turn live duck to freezer duck was not as beneficial as it would be to do live chickens to freezer chickens. Dave and I were talking of raising a few ducks next year. I have been wanting to try to make Duck Breast Prosciutto for over a year now.

    The comforter made is really warm. I've been napping under it for over a week now, and once I get the cross-wise baffles sewn in, I will wash it and that should make it a bit loftier.

    Here's one of our ducks as a chick hanging out with Dave. They had good lives. And yep, there's geese in the background of the picture. The geese and ducks share the same yard, and for the most part don't talk to each other.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. HeatherFeather

    HeatherFeather Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 16, 2009
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    Fascinating article thank you for sharing!!

    I concur with Brenda about processing work-we raise ducks for meat, and usually take them to abbatoir. When we process on farm, it takes me nearly an hour of frustration to hand pluck a duck. I can easily do a chicken in less than 10 mins. However....now we have an electric drum plucker. I can do a duck in 2 mins. So we are processing 21 ducks tomorrow!! 3 adults, we'll see how it goes.

    I fully intend to make a go of keeping feathers for a comforter. Great to know it took you 8 ducks for one comforter. I'm getting excited....!!

    With pekins, my abbatoir guy always wants them at 6-7 weeks. After 7 weeks the feathers are hard to get out until the second moult at 5 months. I find that the feed conversion is awful after 7 weeks, and they eat loads of grain and hardly gain a few more oz from 2 months onwards. So 7 weeks is best. The ones we are processing tomorrow are males from a layer flock and are 19 weeks.
     
  7. kswaterfowl

    kswaterfowl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 11, 2009
    Greencastle, IN
    Cool! We are huge fans of our Ikea down comforter and down pillows. LOVE THEM! My one issue with your article is that ducks and geese DO NOT mate for life. Ours are indiscriminate breeders and males will breed with all females. We often switch breeder males out in our flock and have no issues with fertility. Some wild ducks breed for life, but most domestic ducks aren't as hard.
     
  8. clmschke

    clmschke Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'll have to take that fact out of my file then, about the 'mate for life,' As we've had only 4 mating ducks here, they have pretty much picked out their girls and mate with them. We've got Tony and Vito who mate with Apollonia and Maria. Apollonia was Vito's replacement after his first mate, Donna died of a bad foot.

    We met up with a neighbor last week that offered up his duck plucker for next year's butchering. I'm excited to try it out. We've got the small chicken plucker that attaches to a drill, but I was wary to use it with the ducks. I wanted to make sure their feathers/down would be in good shape to use for stuffing.
     
  9. HeatherFeather

    HeatherFeather Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 16, 2009
    Severn Bridge, ON
    Ok, 21 ducks dispatched in 2 days!! We did 14 in 4 hours yesterday and 7 in 2.5 hours today!

    Here are my points:

    -Our plucker is a decent drum style chicken plucker-not a diy, its a Pick Wick.
    -The ducks were all 19 week Khaki Campbell pures and crosses, all male.
    -We didn't find the plucker to be an advantage and did most of them by hand.
    -We found the plucker was tearing the skin on the ducks a lot, haven't had that with chickens.
    -The plucker only removed the 'easy' feathers. With chickens it does everything in a minute.
    -Today, we didn't even use the plucker

    HOWEVER

    -We found it significantly easier to remove the feathers from KC than from pekins.
    -We got a lot less down from these birds than from pekins. Less than half at least.
    -Not much meat :(

    And...roast duck dinner is ready....gtg!!!
     
  10. hennible

    hennible Overrun With Chickens

    Wow seems unreal I figured it would take more to make a whole blanket.
    If you want to pre-wash feathers in the future, put them in a pillow case, tie it up tight and through it in the washer and dryer ( did this with chicken feathers on 'sanitize' cycle).
    Works very well. Great article thanks for sharing.
     

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