what is duck down and duck feather


Duck down and duck feather are two popular fillings used in bedding and outerwear items such as jackets, comforters, and pillows. Both materials come from the same source - the soft underbelly plumage of ducks - but they have different qualities that make them suitable for different purposes. In this article, we will examine what duck down and duck feather are, their pros and cons, and how to properly care for them.

What is Duck Down?

Duck down is the soft, fluffy layer of feathers that grows underneath the tough exterior feathers of ducks, particularly those raised for meat production. It is prized for its excellent insulation properties and its ability to provide warmth without weighing the wearer down. Duck down is lighter and softer than duck feather, making it a popular choice for bedding and outerwear items. It is measured by its fill power, which is the amount of space one ounce of down fills. The higher the fill power, the better insulation the down provides.

Pros and Cons of Duck Down


1. Lightweight and compressible: Duck down is one of the lightest and most compressible natural materials available, making it ideal for travel and outdoor activities.

2. Excellent insulation: Duck down provides excellent warmth and insulation, making it perfect for cold weather.

3. Resilient: Duck down recovers its loft easily, meaning it can retain its warmth and shape for a long period.


1. Expensive: Duck down is not cheap, especially when it comes to high fill power down. If you're on a budget, duck down might not be the best option.

2. Not hypoallergenic: Some people are allergic to down feathers, meaning that they can suffer from allergies when using down-filled products.

What are Duck Feathers?

Duck feathers, on the other hand, are the coarser and stiffer outer feathers that grow on ducks' bodies. They are usually used for stuffing or cushioning in upholstery, but they can also be used as filling for lighter bedding and jackets. Duck feathers are heavier and denser than duck down, making them more suitable for items that require structure and support rather than insulation.

Pros and Cons of Duck Feather


1. Affordable: Duck feathers are cheaper than duck down and are readily available.

2. Supportive: Due to their heavier and denser structure, duck feathers provide excellent support when used in upholstery or pillows.


1. Less insulating: Duck feathers do not provide as much insulation as down feathers, meaning they might not be the best option for cold weather.

2. Heavy: Duck feathers are heavier than duck down, making them unsuitable for travel or outdoor activities.

How to Care for Duck Down and Duck Feather

1. Fluff the filling regularly: Regularly fluffing the filling in bedding, pillows, or jackets will help maintain their loft and insulation.

2. Dry cleaning: It is best to dry clean down and feather products as washing them in water can damage the fill.

3. Use a fabric softener: When washing down and feather products, use a fabric softener to help maintain their softness and fluffiness.

4. Dry thoroughly: After washing, dry down and feather products thoroughly to prevent mold and mildew growth.

5. Avoid direct sunlight and high heat: Direct sunlight and high heat can damage down and feather products, causing them to lose their loft and insulation.


In summary, duck down and duck feather are both natural fillings used in bedding and outerwear items. While they are both derived from the same source, they have different qualities that make them suitable for different purposes. Duck down is prized for its excellent insulation properties and lightweight structure, while duck feathers are known for their support and affordability. Whatever filling you choose, make sure to care for it properly to ensure it maintains its softness, insulation, and durability.


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