Goose or duck down filling?
If you compare duck and geese down of the same maturity, you will note that goose down or individual clusters are bigger than duck clusters (ducks are generally smaller in size than geese).
Down, the lightest of all fillings, refers to the 3-dimensional structure which consists of a very fine nucleus from which thin filaments protrude and are found under the feathers of ducks and geese. Luxuriously soft and fluffy, they interlock to form tiny air pockets which offer excellent natural insulation. As duck down is smaller than goose down and has fewer filaments it is less elastic, lofty and resilient and has a shorter lifespan. Its ability to trap air is also 30% less effective than goose down. Therefore, to match the thermal insulation power of goose down, the fill content must be higher.
Duck down also has a stronger odour, so it needs to be washed with stronger detergents which contributes to the weakening of its structure and makes the duvet less durable whereas goose down has little or no odour so the raw material undergoes less stress.
Duck, being a common food of Asia, is industrially raised and contributes to a higher level of duck down and feathers on the market in comparison to goose. Regardless, due to the characteristics of goose down: light, lofty, breathable, resilient and an excellent insular, goose down continues to lead as a filler for high end products.
Piumini Danesi® pooq dene® only use big soft down clusters from mature geese originating from cold climate countries as their fill.
Down or feather?
Only down from water fowls has the best characteristics to keep you warm in winter and cool in summer. While feathers tend to be rigid, heavy and act as poor insulators.
Down, the lightest and loftiest of all fillings is recommended for use in duvets. It is important to read the label and verify the fill power to content ratio. A high fill power with low volume of down fill is the sign of a high quality down product.
Feathers however, made of a rigid central shaft or commonly known quill are flat, firm and poor insulators and better suited for products that act as support such as pillows. Often the combination of duck down and feathers are used to provide a soft yet firm product.
There are many types of fill material on the market today and the regulation of the European Union EN 12934 regulates labelling for fill made up of feathers and down. They are the first and only labelling regulations developed by all the EU and European Free Trade Agreement member states and take into consideration:
1. Whether the filling is new (must not contain more than 5% foreign material and no pre-processed feathers or down fibres or residues)
2. Does the filling derive from water fowl such as geese or land fowl such as chickens
3. What percentage of down does the filling contain.
For more information go to the European down and feather association/down and feather labelling.