Even before getting into the debate over which down is better – Goose Down or Duck Down – It is better to understand what actually the down is. Down is what your sleeping gear is filled with. It is a by-product of meat industry as the ducks and geese that are killed for meat are stripped off their down also and this down is employed in making quilts and sleeping gears. Downs are insulating material that trap air because of which it is fluffy in nature and also are warmness inducers because of their criss-cross structure forming a mesh like structure that keeps sleeping gear protected from cold air.
Down is the best performer in terms of insulation. Though human beings have tried synthetic wools etc also for making comfortable duvets etc, but the smell and the hygiene issues have forced them to look for better options. Down offers the most effective solution for making fully insulated duvets. So, which one to choose – Goose Down or Duck Down?
Well, duck down may be more easily available because ducks are killed more often than goose for meat. So, the duck down can be made at minimal cost as the raw material is available in plenty. But, when insulation is the point of concern, then goose down doona does the job better.
Properties of Duck Down and Goose Down
Duck down is a cluster-shaped collection of fibers that are smaller in size as compared to the goose down. It is an excellent thermal insulator and feather-like structure imparts it unmatchable softness. Duck down is breathable and thus, forms safer and more reliable material for filling the doona.
Goose down is a protective sheath of fibrous structures present beneath the feathers. The main function of this additional plumage is to provide warmth and to protect them from moisture or water. It is because of the down that geese are able to maintain softness of the skin even while living in water. Goose downs, because of fluffy structure and better insulation, are employed more often in making comforters, duvets, sleeping bags and quilts etc. Goose down makes perfect material for quilts as this can allow the moisture to escape from our body keeping us comfortable and cozy while sleeping.
Main differences between duck down and goose down
Duck down quit or a goose down quilt? Well, choosing may become easier if we find out how they are different. Here are some of the premises for comparing the two.
A goose down is a down from the bird that is more mature than a duck. So, naturally its down is made of larger clusters than the ones produced by the latter. The fine fibers spread over larger area making it possible for the goose down to trap more air, thus, the goose down quilt is quite fluffier and softer than the one made from duck down. Also, the ample space between barbules induces better insulation per fiber fill, making it possible for the makers to produce quilts that are warmer than any synthetic counterpart.
If we compare a natural goose down against duck down, both are equally durable. The processing and washing involved before starting the production decides the future quality and durability. It is advisable that the down should be washed as mildly as possible so that the natural texture can be retained. If it is washed or processed too aggressively, the down may get robbed off its natural fat content which is mainly possible for the resilience and softness.
Goose down is very expensive; its roof-high prices are attributed to the fact that this insulating material is not available in abundance. Since this filling material is made available only as a by-product of the meat industry, its supply is limited. This is the reason why duck down quilt is seen as more affordable and cost-effective alternative to those made from goose down. Thus, it is essential to look for the raw material while picking the product from goose down quilt sale. Else, you may land up paying huge for something totally undeserving.
Very few areas of the world are supplying goose down, China being the top amongst them. Polish and Hungarian geese are also known for acting as reliable origins for the high quality material employed in precious goose down quilts and outdoor sleeping gears.
Pristine white color goose down is certainly a rarity. Mottled grey is more easily available color. Since both the goose and duck are found prominently in black and grey color, these are the two main colors popular. Due to handling and processing, sometimes you may also come across off-white shades of goose down. Color, however, only adds to the aesthetic value of the down quilts. It is because of the eye-soothing shade and majestic appeal that people are ready to buy while colored goose down quilts at a premium price.
Though not so conspicuous, but the odor cannot be ignored while choosing between goose down and duck down. Odor of the goose down is mainly the outcome of the surroundings where goose is living and the feeding habit that it is following. There is no bad or good odor as such; the odor is detected only by the people with exceptional sense of smell.
What makes Goose down better?
Goose down is undoubtedly a product class apart. This down’s only advantage is that it comes at a very hefty price. Chemically, the goose down is made of keratins that are known for exceptional insulation properties. Though synthetic keratin can also be used to make down-like material, but the fill power, arrangement of keratin fibers and the overall look of the natural down is something that is yet to find a match. So, no wonders, the duck down doona has not earned the same reputation as goose down and is considered the second best material for making fluffy, warm and very cozy blankets. Better performance and majestic looks – the natural features of goose down are impressive enough to earn it all the admiration and respect.