I decided to make this a new thread for anyone who did a search on the topic in the future. Much to the dismay of my American Buff flock, I decided to try and live harvest. We have a lot of feathers on the ground, but we also have a ton of birds free ranging, so I wasn't sure who had decided to moult and who was refusing to give up their summer coat. To start with, I came to the conclusion that I'd live pluck after letting everyone loose. So I had to spend quite a bit of time convincing the geese that it was time for them to go back into their pen so I could select a couple. For the record, I bought my American Buff flock as adults. They're already stand-offish and less tolerant of strange things. I decided to start with them since I figured if I did _anything_ they didn't like they'd be more inclined to let me know. My Pilgrims are so laid back that I was afraid they might shrug off any discomfort. With that out of the way, here's how the plucking process went: I managed to convince a half dozen geese that they needed to go inside the pen. Once I got in there I grabbed one and held him still for a few moments before lifting him up and cradling him firmly on his back. Since I didn't think this through - at all - I had to try and harvest standing up (I was still in my slacks for work, too. I really didn't plan ahead). Once he was cradled he squirmed a bit, then laid there in my arms waiting to see what would happen. I tried plucking a few feathers that didn't come out easily, so I stopped, set him down and moved on to the next one. I had the same results until I got to lucky number three. The third goose laid cradled in my arm and flinched once. I think I may have been trying to pluck the other two incorrectly since I had no problem with harvesting from this one. For the third goose I didn't start with the feathers - I reached beneath them and plucked the down right out. Once I had a small hole there I could work with the feathers and the down together. I used my index finger and thumb to pull out small tufts at a time. When a tuft didn't come out easily I skipped it and moved on. In the end I got two fistfulls of feathers and down without leaving much of a mark on the goose. When I put him back down he bolted over to his companions, waggled his tail and looked at me as if I was out of my mind. You couldn't see anything plucked from my angle. I let them out and they promptly rejoined the flock. Then I went over and dumped the water containers to refill with nice cold water. The flock came over - including the three victims - and chatted with one another about the weather over a nice jaunt in the pools. Honestly, I doubt the flinch was anything more painful than brushing out a quick tangle in your hair. He seemed more surprised than pained, didn't thrash around in my arm, and when I saw him later on in the yard he didn't hiss, run away or sound an alarm. I'm going to wait another week then try to harvest again. I did notice that the belly feathers were extremely prickly when squeezed in my fist (yeah...I didn't even remember to bring a bag with me). I'm not sure how noticable that would be in a thin pillow. The pillows we made have a thick covering. I didn't get pictures this go around. If you have questions let me know and I'll try to answer them.