What is Down?
Down is light, fluffy undercoating that geese, ducks and other waterfowl have next to their bodies, underneath their feathers that keep them warm in winter and cool in summer. It is three dimensional and round in nature.
What is a Feather?
Feathers are the principal covering of birds, have a flat construction and are two dimensional. A feather has the hard quill shaft running down the centre with a series of fibres joining them together into a flat structure on each side of the shaft.
Feathers are flat and two dimensional, and are grown for flying, while smaller feathers are for protection. Down is three dimensional, a soft round fibre grown specifically to protect the birds against the climate. Thus keeping them warm in winter and cool enough in summer.
How does Down insulate so well?
As mentioned above, down is a three dimensional fiber, much like a dandelion that has gone to seed. Each down cluster attaches to the next cluster to create a pocket that then traps air and warms to your body temperature which keeps you at a comfortable level for an incredible nights rest. Every ounce of quality down has about 2 million fluffy filaments that interlock and overlap to form a protective layer of still air that keeps warmth in and cold out. Because of its resilience, you can scrunch it up or flatten it out without any damage to the down. All it takes is a good shake to fluff it up and it will bounce back to its natural shape to keep you cozy and warm.
Which birds provide the best down?
The best down comes from larger more mature birds. When age and maturity is equal goose down is better than duck down. However, down from a mature duck is better than down from an immature goose. For example, a high quality white goose down plumule will look like the full head of a dandelion that has gone to seed. It has extraordinary high warmth to weight ration. A duvet filled with this quality of down will be very light and incredibly warm. And it will last for decades. On the other hand, a poor quality White Goose Down cluster will look like a single seed of that dandelion head. It will not loft up and has low warmth to weight ratio. Even if there is more of this down by weight (ounces), it won't be as warm. Down from immature birds tends to have poor filling power, it will collapse in a relatively short time, because its fibers are too fragile. Higher prices are due to the fact that high quality mature goose down costs much more than low quality immature goose down.
What is Eiderdown?
Eiderdown comes from the Eider Duck, and is the finest quality of all down products. It is unique in that is clings to itself much like velcro and this gives it incredible insulating power. The Eider Duck is a protected species, so its down is collected from the nests without disturbing the birds.
Does Climate affect the Quality of Down?
Combined with the maturity of the bird, climate does affect the quality of down. A bird in cold weather will grow more down to stay warm.
Where does Down come from in the World?
50% of the world's supply of down comes from Asia. A lot of it is white goose down because the Asian people eat plenty of geese. We source our down ethically from Canadian Hutterite farms. White Goose Down from Canadian Hutterite farms is among the most sought after down worldwide.
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