Monthly Archives: March 2013

Blue Feathers Are Not Always Blue

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These blue feathers are the iridescent flash from a Melanistic Mutant Pheasant rooster... but other blue feathers are not just blue.

These blue feathers are the iridescent flash from a Melanistic Mutant Pheasant rooster… but other blue feathers are not just blue.

When we started selling natural feathers for arts and crafts, we started to wonder what made blue feathers blue. Right about the time we realized that black feathers were not always black.

Feather color is not always simply color… it is often far more complicated than just a pigment. The color elements of the feathers are serving a purpose – for the bird, or in a grander plan of world conquest through brilliant feather display.

This makes using feathers for jewelry even more exciting, because they come to our art with a history of their own – from the bird.

Blue was a particular question regarding bird feathers, because it isn’t a color that comes to the feather from the bird’s diet. It can often be a refraction, scything off a feather that looks black, but flashes blue in direction sunlight with a certain graceful turn of wing.

But it can also be molecular. Richard Prum, of Yale University, studied cotinga feathers and discovered that the blue color was a result of red and yellow wavelengths of light canceling each other out as they bounced off the internal cellular structure of the feather.

It still looks blue to us, but I think it’s exceptionally cool that feathers are so cool, inside and out.

Visit our site for a huge selection of cruelty-free feathers from our own birds, and from like-minded small scale backyard farmers. Super cool!

Famous Feathers – We Are Mad At Downton Abbey Now So Let’s Talk About Dog…

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Dog the Bounty Hunter wearing guinea fowl and peacock feathers. Dog rocks!

Dog the Bounty Hunter wearing guinea fowl and peacock feathers. Dog rocks!

We feel that the Season 3 Finale of Downton Abbey was un-called for, and gratuitous. Matthew had JUST achieved the American (meaning British) dream and – crunch!  So no more Downton Abbey for us. We object. We are on strike.

We don’t need no Downton Abbey to celebrate Famous Feathers!

We have Dog the Bounty Hunter!

In our quest for all things related to natural feathers, feathers for arts and crafts, and cruelty-free feathers, we celebrate those who celebrate them.

Dog is fascinating all on his own, but his use of roach-clipped feather cascades in his gloriously grizzled hair is riveting.

Dog did hair feathers before hair feathers were cool, that’s how cool Dog is.

I’ve seen him in Lady Amherst, Golden, and rooster hackle. This picture shows him wearing guinea fowl with peacock body feather accents.

We hope that his hair feathers were made with cruelty-free feathers. We know that Dog is wearing feathers because of his Native American connections – and we are more general feather artists, but nonetheless, Dog rocks. Dog rocks feathers.

Our supply of both guinea fowl and peacock feathers are available in the Feather Jewelry Sampler, which has a collection of feathers idea for making feather jewelry.

Some day, I’m going to make a hair feather extension like Dog’s and that will be a glorious post!

 

 

Reeves Pheasant Feathers – Natural Feathers In A Beautiful Color Palette

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This is a body feather from the Reeves Pheasant rooster. We have them in our Feather Special packs.

This is a body feather from the Reeves Pheasant rooster. We have them in our Feather Special packs.

The Reeves Pheasant feathers on our site are all from our own, and are cruelty-free feathers. Our Reeves Pheasant, Syrmaticus reevesii, were spectacular. We had one rooster and one hen, and while they were not bonded to each other, they fit in well with our mixed flock.

Reeves Pheasant roosters are not particularly suited for a mixed flock. They are aggressive and territorial, and I suspect our bandit-faced aristocrat in the suspicious demise of my single glorious Ringneck Pheasant Rooster… so headsup for anyone raising these birds. They do better in very large aviaries with only females.

and watch your back.
(It’s not that they don’t love you… it’s that they love to attack you.)

The Reeves Pheasant is a long-tailed bird and it is the tail feather that captures most attention. I was amazed by the body feathers. The detail in each feather, different in each place on the body, has the most amazing, crisp, alluring detail.

As is the case with most pheasant, the bird is named for the naturalist who brought it to the west from China, John Reeves – 1831, and I don’t know what the Chinese call it, when they see it in it’s natural habitat.

And the color palette that nature has afforded these birds is perfection. Blacks, tans, creams, browns, auburn, beige, bronze, buff, burnt sienna, burnt umber, chestnut, fawn, fulvous, ochre… and more.

Our Reeves Pheasant feathers are available in the Rare Feather Sampler pack, and in the Mixed Feather Sampler. We sold out of the feathers in a single-pack inventory, but they are throughout the samplers, which are the highest quality feathers of all, from my private inventory and only recently released for sale.

All of these feathers are available at www.TheFeatheredEgg.com!

Molted Feather Facts… Information About Cruelty-Free Feathers

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Most birds molt once or twice a year. When buying molted feathers, there are some things to watch out for.

Most birds molt once or twice a year. When buying molted feathers, there are some things to watch out for.

Our perspective on cruelty-free feathers is described on this page of our website… and we know that it doesn’t exactly match the PETA definition, but we don’t completely agree with that definition.

We participate in the circle of life, and feel strongly that when all of us, as a society, participate more fully, we will begin to address issues of food justice. We are doing what we can in the meantime, by raising poultry with conscience and integrity.

Feathers that match the PETA definition of cruelty-free would have to be molted feathers. If you are buying molted feathers, there are some things to know so that you don’t get duped by a seller capitalizing on the cruelty-free movement, but selling feathers raised the conventional way.

First of all, molted feathers are molted for a reason. The bird needs new ones, and sheds the old feathers in a grand exuberance. It is generally in the spring or summer, and the feathers are not of the highest quality. The occasional feather from the molt is good-looking, but more often, they are rough.

Secondly, they are not molted in huge quantities. Otherwise, the bird would be naked. If a seller is selling large numbers of “molted” feathers, I would suspect them. Even if the farmer had a huge flock, collecting the molted feathers one by one would be so prohibitive that I can’t imagine how expensive those feathers would have to be.

Thirdly, the feathers could not, and would not, come in matching and complete sets. The birds never molt an entire matching set of perfectly beautiful feathers. That’s the whole point of a molt. You keep some, you lose some.

Our cruelty-free feathers are good karma, clean, and raised with care. We cherished the birds, and we cherish the feathers… and invite you to take a look!