Does scalding while processing chickens damage the feathers?

Tam'ra of Rainbow Vortex

10 Years
Apr 30, 2009
Rogue Valley, S. Oregon
I picked my chicken breeds for many reasons, one of them being attractive feathers. I have about 12 cockerels headed for the freezer in a few months and I intend to save the feathers to make masks and other things but everywhere I look it says to scald the birds to make plucking easier. Easier sounds good, but will the feathers be savable? I know they must dunk feathers in hot water to dye them, but I was wondering if anyone out there has tried to save feathers from chickens scalded during processing. Also, any tips for drying them would be appreciated.
Sad as I will be to see these beautiful birds go, I know that using their feathers is a good way to honor their lives. I believe that nothing useful should be wasted, especially when that thing came from a living creature whose life I took.
yes the feathers are saveable after scaldin,they are just wet, the water aint really hot enough to fade the feathers
I planned on trying to save feathers when I process my roos also .I am thinking of trying (a) putting them in a pillowcase in the dryer on low , have keep fluffing to keep feathers from clumping or (b) using my old dehydrater that has no fan , again with the fluffing .

I work at a drycleaners and when we do down coats we use the dryer on low and fluff a lot , it does take a long time to get even a small jacket dry.
You are probably going to save the bigger feathers for your craft projects.
These feathers can simply be laid out to dry out of the wind...or they will blow away.
I put the feathers between two screen windows and used c-clamps to hold the screens together. Then I could stand it up on one side and lean it against the building in the sun.
Chicken feathers can be used in pillows even though not as "soft" as goose down.
If you are going to save the down feathers for stuffing pillows these can be laundered by putting them in old pillow cases and sewing the edge closed or tie closed with a reallllllly tight string. You don't want the feathers going into the lint trap of your washing machine if the knot comes loose.
Then you can throw the bags into the dryer.
One thought on washing down. Leave plenty of empty space in the pillow case if you are going to use heat in the dryer. I have seen many instances where a down sleeping bag was washed in machine and then put into dryer and the down puffed up so much that the chambers exploded--huge mess. It would be best to use no heat and air tumble or to lay them out in the sun on a sunny day and just flip them a few times until dry.

Once you put them into their permanent use item I would definitely avoid the heat since you will probably have them packed more tightly in a pillow. Don't know if you would have the same issue with feathers but I still would not risk using the heat setting on a dryer.
Well that was easy!
I scoured my house for old screen windows and found 2. And FIVE screen doors. My landlady is a pack rat. I hauled them all in from the back shed, found a way to set them up so each would keep the feathers on the one beneath it, and got big boxes to pluck into before loading my drying screens.
It was in the 90's while we processed, and by the time I went to put the 'wet' feathers on the screens, they were all but dry! Only the boxes with 3+ birds' feathers needed stirring due to a little dampness.
So I guess if it is hot, all you need is a big box!

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