Categories Birds

Question: How Are Ostrich Feathers Harvested?

Are ostrich feathers ethical?

The ostrich feather trade used to be considered one of the more ethical examples of animal products used in fashion. The largest birds on earth, they are farmed for their meat, feathers and distinctive, pock-marked (from being plucked) skin, with 90% of these ‘products’ being exported out of the country.

Are birds killed for their feathers?

Conventionally, birds used for down are born at parent farms where they can stay up to four years as they lay eggs and are plucked for their feathers as many as four times a year (pdf). When they are ready to be killed for their meat, the birds are moved to slaughterhouses.

Do ostrich feathers grow back?

Ostrich feathers, Coles says, are cut, not plucked, from farmed animals. Don’t worry, they grow back. Chickens and other domesticated fowl give their feathers in the name of fashion as a byproduct of their trip to the supermarket.

Are feathers cruel?

Feathers aren’t obtained humanely from animals. Just like buying items made with down, purchasing ones made with feathers supports the cruel meat and exotic-skin industries, because many farmers who raise birds for food or clothing make an extra profit by selling their feathers.

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Are ostriches killed for feathers?

Ostrich feathers are acquired in one of two ways: Plucking while the bird is alive, or taken from the bird post-mortem, after the bird has been slaughtered for its skin (to create exotic bags and shoes) and meat (ostrich is a popular delicacy in Africa).

Are ducks killed for their feathers?

Although most down is removed from ducks and geese during slaughter, birds in breeding flocks and those raised for meat and foie gras may endure the trauma of plucking every six weeks before they are eventually killed. But no matter where it comes from, down is a product of cruelty to animals.

Do they kill ducks to get down?

While most down and other feathers are removed from ducks and geese during slaughter, birds in breeding flocks and those raised for meat may be plucked repeatedly while they are still alive. Plucking causes geese and ducks considerable pain and distress.

Does plucking feathers hurt?

Feathers are like hair for birds. When you try to pull it out it hurts the bird, but moulting (when the feather gets old and it falls out) the feathers doesn’t hurt the bird at all.

Is live plucking legal?

Public sentiment in the U.S and the European Union countries opposes live plucking, and the practice of live plucking in Europe and the U.S. is illegal. Unfortunately, there are no sanctions to enforce the law in Europe.

How much does it cost to buy an ostrich?

An ostrich chick from 30–60 days old costs around $525, according to, appreciating to almost twice that after 90 days. Yearlings run about $2500/bird, with adult birds running from $7500 to over $10000.

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What do ostrich feathers look like?

Unlike most birds’ feathers, ostrich feathers are loose, soft, and smooth. They don’t hook together the way feathers of other birds do, giving ostriches a “shaggy” look.

What do ostrich feathers symbolize?

The ostrich feather was a sacred object in ancient Egypt, as the symbol for the goddess Ma’at. The ostrich feather thus is seen as a powerful symbol of truth and purity, and taking on the ostrich as an animal totem can be a way to focus one’s energies on living a just life.

Do they kill peacocks for their feathers?

They don’t have to be killed for their feathers.

Luckily, the peacocks shed their train every year after mating season, so the feathers can be gathered and sold without the birds coming to any harm.

Why are the feathers coming out of my pillow?

It’s quite normal for a goose down pillow to occasionally leak a feather or two. However, if you notice multiple feathers, that is a sign that your pillow might be developing a consistent leak.

Are geese plucked alive for down?

The highest grade of down, used to make the most comfy and costly bedding, involves a practice called liveplucking. That’s when feathers and the undercoating of geese and ducks are pulled off their skin while the waterfowl are still alive.

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