Tag Archives: feather information

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!

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!

 

What Are The Best Feathers For Jewelry

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the feathered egg feather jewelry

While peacock feathers are a clear choice for beautiful feather jewelry, there are many other kinds of feathers that top my list.

Choosing feathers for jewelry making is the fun part. The birds themselves wore their feathers for jewelry, as well as for lifesupport – and we can see why. The feathers are gorgeous.

Cruelty-free feathers are getting more and more important to feather jewelry makers, because the artists use a small number of carefully-selected feathers, and put a lot of time and thought into the art. Good karma feathers are an expression of their art.

Pheasant feathers lead the feather jewelry market, but chicken feathers for arts and crafts are a close second. Chickens have an amazing variety of beautiful feathers and there seem to be more breeds every year, giving pheasants a run for most beautiful status.

Short wing feathers are a good place to start when planning feather jewelry. Layering the feathers on top of each other is popular, with the longest and strongest in the back.

Feathers with a wide body and strong color pattern are also a good back piece. These can be long body feathers, short tail fan feathers, or wide crest feathers.

Topping the piece with a smaller, brightly patterned body feather is my favorite part.

I use fluff feathers for texture throughout the piece, or as a backing to set off a single brilliantly colored feather.

The ornamental pheasant: Lady Amherst Pheasant, Silver Pheasant, Golden Pheasant, and Reeves Pheasant are a good place to start for feathers that make a centerpiece to the work.

Guinea Fowl have polka dot feathers, Chukar Partridge have black and tan barred feathers. Chicken roosters are the source of most hair feathers, and Buff Polish Chickens have feathers that suit every kind of jewelry project.

Turkey feathers and goose feathers are an excellent source of background or long feathers, and are the main source of feathers for feather fans.

Most of the feather jewelry for sale in stores and at craft fairs have these kinds of arts and crafts feathers in their construction.

For a mix of all the feathers mentioned in this article, check out the Feather Jewelry Sampler at www.TheFeatheredEgg.com. I put together these samplers out of my best feathers, reserved for my own jewelry making. But then I looked around at the, literally, thousands of feathers I’d put aside for myself and realized that not even an entire army of crafters could use them in a lifetime. I created the sampler kits and listed them as a group. Pictures of the feathers that are included in the sampler can be found throughout the site with the individual feathers – like the links in this post.

Even a single feather with a single bead can be breathtakingly beautiful. That’s the nature of feather jewelry. It’s already a natural jewel. We just put it where it can be admired.

 

 

Natural Bug Repellents For Protecting Arts and Crafts Feathers

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Pheasant Feathers for sale at Natural Feathers

Cruelty-Free Feathers need to be protected and several aromatic herbs will work very well… and smell nice!

Feathers for arts and crafts, and feathers for fly-tying, need to be protected when stored or displayed. Especially if they have been collected, washed, and sterilized without using toxic commercial processes.

There are bugs that live on the birds and in the feathers, but there are also bugs that literally eat the feathers no matter if they are on a bird or not.

These are the bugs we have to guard against.

Herbal essential oils work so well to repel bugs from feathers that they are used in the formulas of commercial bug repellent products. But we can use them in their essential oil form, and therefore enjoy their aromatic effect without exposing ourselves to the commercial products.

When I pack my feathers for sale, I have a light touch of citronella oil on my hands, and I keep a citronella-soaked pad of cloth in the feather storage box.

I have also lined my feather storage boxes with cedar planks, the same planks that are available at hardware stores for lining cedar closets.

Many of the aromatic herbs and plants that work well to ward off bugs are the same herbs we already use in aromatherapy. We love the smell, and the bugs don’t. One of nature’s balances that works in our favor.

Citronella is a good essential oil to use, and so is cedar – either the wood or the oil. Eucalyptus works well, as does Clove, and Patchouli, and Cinnamon, and Lavender. Neem oil is also considered a good bug repellent, but I haven’t snarfed that one, so I’m not sure how good it smells.

Just dab the oil on a small cloth and put it in with your feathers. Put another dab of oil on your hands when you work with the feathers. Refresh the oil every so often, which gives you an excuse to pet your feather artwork. Frustrate those bugs, and preserve your arts and crafts feathers!

 

Wild Bird Feathers Are Illegal… Even If You Use The Feathers For Arts And Crafts

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Natural Feathers From Domestic Birds Only

Feathers from wild birds are very very illegal. Even if you find a feather on the ground in the woods, and even if it was molted from a live bird.

Feathers for crafts, even for your own use, must not be wild bird feathers.

Even if you found them outside, on the ground, from a molt.

Especially if the feathers are on, under, or even near… an eagle.
Or a Hawk, falcon, kestrel, or owl.

Crane? Run away…

There are very few exceptions to the feather laws so it’s better to just consider all wild bird feathers as illegal.

The laws are vigorously enforced by both private citizens and government officers, because it is a way to protect our wild bird populations.

Pheasant, Chukar Partridge, Rio Grande Wild Turkey, and Grouse are birds that live in the wild, but are also farmed throughout the USA. A farmer must have a permit to raise those birds, and a hunter has to have a permit to hunt them, but with those permits, the feathers are legal. All the cruelty-free feathers¬†for sale on my site were raised with permits, for sure… because I did it myself.

The Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 prohibits anyone from even chasing a bird, much less hunting it, killing it, capturing it, or selling it – dead or alive. It also covers the feathers, eggs, and nests in the same way.

The Bald Eagle Act of 1940 added special protections for both the Bald and Golden Eagles, who were on the brink of extinction. It also made room for certain Native American feather uses.

The Endangered Species Act of 1973 added the third whammy to bird protection. With these laws, people were able to protect a bird’s nesting and migration grounds in addition to its body, feathers, eggs, and nest.

These are some of the most powerful environmental laws in our country, and they make sure nobody wants to mess with wild birds. It simply isn’t worth it. But not everyone knows that these laws cover every wild bird feather, egg, and nest you may come across.

The exceptions, which are pigeons, European starlings, and English house sparrows, are hard to identify, and Fish and Game doesn’t care if you make a mistake or if you are just planning a project with arts and crafts feathers.

One good solution is to work with domestic feathers for your crafts and make them look like the bird species you are admiring. There are some very talented artists who do this, particularly in the wild bird faux egg world.

Feathers for arts and crafts, especially cruelty-free feathers, are one of nature’s most fantastic craft products. I think it’s a great thing that wild bird feathers are illegal. The laws really have helped bird populations stay healthy.¬†There are plenty of domestic feathers to meet our artistic inclinations… and I haven’t even started to look into domestic parrot feathers!