Goose down and goose feathers are not the same thing! Feathers have a much stronger structure compared to down clusters and consist of a hard shaft and adjoining laments. That is why goose feathers are ideal for people who need rm pillows. The feather pillow is able to carry the weight of your head and therefore provide proper support for your neck.
Down has a soft centre and finer filaments and has the ability to puff out and connect with the surrounding clusters creating a network that can effectively retain your body heat. Our bodies generate heat which moves into and slowly through the filling where it is trapped in air pockets. Goose- down is the most superior insulator available.
We can see the same insulating effect when we observe birds in nature in the early morning hours. Birds puff up their down and can effectively retain their body heat and stay warm with the additional layer of outer feathers. As the sun rises and the birds are warmed, they take flight. This causes the down and feather insulation to collapse and release the warm air pockets. We see a similar thing happening in our bodies when we get goose bumps from the cold.
A quality pillow or duvet depends on the structure of the down and feathers. As soon as you damage or change their original structure, you compromise on the quality. So let me explain more about the motive behind the use of re ned feathers (or man-made down). Pure goose down is extremely scarce and therefore extremely expensive. The handful of down collected from the goose is very small compared to the amount of feathers on the bird. One queen size autumn duvet uses down collected from about fifty geese! Duvets filled with 100% pure goose down are therefore expensive.
To reduce the high cost of pure down, producers resort to refining feathers with machines and thereby not only creates a larger initial market, but also an additional market in come-back sales when old products need to be replaced. In this process the hard shaft of the feather is chopped into soft, fluffy bits.
In a clever piece of marketing, the product of this artificial process is named “Super Down”. In theory this is a brilliant idea but the process drastically reduces the quality of the filling. Unfortunately, most sales staff are not trained to explain the differences in quality and thereby can’t help customers make well informed choices.
The consequence of the process to which feathers are subjected in manufacturing Super Down is that they begin to disintegrate slowly.
The disintegrating feathers give off a very fine powdery dust which escapes through the down and feather-proof casings. This effectively leaves you sleeping with your face buried in dust; which has obvious implications for allergy and sinus irritations. An expensive trip to the doctor causes some customers to believe that they are in fact allergic to feathers and need to get rid of their pillows altogether. But it is not the feathers, its the dust! The filaments falling off the broken shaft pieces eventually cause the whole Super Down cluster to collapse and become lumpy. Your pillow or duvet will fall at after two to five years of use (dependent on the ratio of whole feathers vs re ned). You may be familiar with the stiff neck caused by a at pillow or a duvet that no longer keeps you warm. This is because collapsing, broken feathers lose their initial ability to capture body heat. The filling becomes lumpy, shifts to the side of its compartment and you end up with fabric on fabric areas (or cold spots). In these areas your body heat escapes through the duvet and you inevitably wake up shivering.