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All About Down > Composition

Composition and Characteristics of Down

Down products are composed of various elements including down cluster, feathers, fiber, residues, etc. Quality of down products depend on down cluster and feathers quality, down to feather ratios, and other elements.

Down cluster

As a layer of fine and soft down clusters mainly from chest, numerous down barb spreads outwards from the central point. Down quality depends on the number of days of breeding, countries of origin, places of farms, and breeds of waterfowl. The better down quality is, the bigger the center of a down cluster is.


A feather generally forms a shape of a fan, consisting of a stem and fine hair. Its size varies from 2cm to 14cm. Generally, feathers smaller than 6cm are used for textile products. 6cm or larger feathers are used for products that should withstand a certain weight, such as sofa filling, pillows, or feather beds, and other different goods including shuttlecock, ornaments, etc.


A fiber is a thin branch fine hair separated from a down cluster or feathers. As down & feather retain warmth by trapping the air between hairs, a single fiber does not have any thermal insulation.


Residues, generated during breeding and down & feather collection, refer to any kind of impurity such as scarfskin, skin, scales, sand, dust, etc. Dusting you can see from down bedding is dust included in residues.

Damaged feathers

Damaged feathers are generated during breeding, collecting, transportation, processing, etc. As damaged feathers may damage clothing, they should be minimized through proper processing and sorting by a professional down processor.

Landfowl feathers

Landfowl feathers refer to feathers of land birds including chickens, turkeys, ostriches, etc. Landfowl feathers are not used for textile goods because they are easily oxidized or decayed and have low thermal insulation.

Recycled down & feather

Down & feather which have been used more than once are called recycled down. Recycled down, which has been worn out and washed several times has a low oil and fat content and is inelastic and weak. It is important to collect and sort it properly for re-use to a certain level of quality. Recycled down without proper processing has a huge amount of fiber and damaged feathers, which lower bulkiness, thermal insulation, and merchantable quality. Some companies mix it with general down to reduce production costs. Consumers should pay attention to this when purchasing.