Learn About Down Feather Products
Down comforters, pillows, cushions, and featherbeds are made from using the down feather from large waterfowl such as duck and geese. These special feathers provide the most insulation and the unique characteristics of being lightweight and trapping heat yet having a high breathability means that down feather products can be used all year round.
What's A Good Down Product?
As with any industry, down feather products have their own units of measurements to determine what makes a decent product.
- Down feather composition is one of the easiest to understand. This is used to determine how much of the material inside the product is down feather compared to normal feather. A composition of 90/10 means that at least 90% of the material inside is down feather, whereas a 20/80 would mean that only 20% is down feather.
- Down feather weight, expressed in grams, is another factor determining quality. A typical lightweight down jacket from chain clothing stores typically contain 150g of down feathers, by comparison, a standard size Softie down pillow contains anywhere between 600g to 1200g depending on the pillow height.
- The filling power, commonly abbreviated as F/P, is the final factor in determining down feather goods. This determines how a product can return to its original shape after compression. The scale of F/P ranges from 0 - 800, with 800 meaning a complete return to its original shape. Generally, any down feather product with an F/P between 500 - 700 is considered excellent.
- The type of geese or duck used can also greatly affect the price of down feather products. One of the most expensive feathers used are from Siberian or Canadian geese. The cold climate allows the geese to create large down feather that increase the amount of insulation compared with geese from the rest of the world. Typically, feathers used from these geese are used to make clothing to combat arctic conditions (below -15 degrees centigrade) and are priced extremely heavily.
Duck, Duck, Goose
Softie's products originate from two different types of down feathers, duck and geese. The main difference between these two types of feather comes down to the size of the waterfowl. Geese are relatively larger compared to ducks, and therefore their down feathers can trap larger pockets of air, providing more warmth. Another difference is the diet of the animals. Why is this so important? Ducks are omnivores - their diet consisting mainly of small crustaceans, seeds, weeds, small insects, and small fish and eggs. Their diet leads to a distinctive odour, which carries over to their feathers. Although faint, roughly one in ten people are able to identify duck down feathers through their unpleasant odour, especially in places with high humidity. Geese on the other hand are primarily herbivores - feeding on different grasses, beans, and grains, leaving their body to be free from the odour that is present in ducks.