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"Down Feathers"

Legislative bodies have long defined ‘down’ and ‘feather’ as two distinct plumage types, having different physical properties and structures. There are regulations in place about what is considered down and feather and how each can be described and advertised for commercial purposes. We’ve had lots of down and lots of feather come and go through our facility over the years. We thought we knew it well. But then we started to find some very curious product listings popping up around the internet.

These listings were advertising products filled with ‘down feather’.

Read more about the difference between down and feather here.

Sure, we know ornithologists, biology majors and bird watchers might classify down as a type of feather, but that doesn’t fly in commerce. Maybe there’s a new commodity on the market, we thought. A new and improved fill type, perhaps. Wanting to be in the know, we set out to learn about these mysterious ‘down feathers’. We read through all the legislation again, looking for updates. We asked our suppliers to source it for us. We even googled!! We could only find information about down or feather – ‘down feather’ was elusive as ever.

a search engine page that reads what is down feather?

It was time to think outside the box. Maybe if we could imagine these ‘down feathers’ or the origin of the term, we could refine our search. Balderdash-style, we asked our team to come up with some potential definitions of ‘down feather’. Here’s what they came up with:

  1. Down Feather: feather that appears sad or melancholy, often droopy or with a curved spine
  2. Down Feather: feather that has fallen on the ground
  3. Down Feather: feather that’s keen to participate
  4. Down Feather: feather used as a payment or bet
  5. Down Feather: the outer covering of a bird genetically modified to be cold and flightless
  6. Down Feather: the term used by those who don’t really know what down and feather are or the differences between them
  7. Down Feather: the term used by companies who want their product to appear in searches for both down and feather, even if it doesn’t accurately describe the product contents
  8. Down Feather: an improper way of describing a down and feather blend

We’re no closer to finding the truth, but we have many avenues to pursue. Of course, we’ll rule out possibilities 6-8, because it’s preposterous to think someone would sell a product without know what it is or the legal way to label and advertise it. Humans are responsible and ethical beings! Especially when money is involved!!

binoculars next to a stack of pillows

We’ll keep you posted on any new developments in our investigation. If you have any information pertaining to ‘down feathers’ please contact our hotline at 416-532-3200.

In our next investigative series, we try to figure out what a ‘goose duck’ is. Stay tuned…



Joking aside, it is recommended to read product listings to ensure brands and manufacturers are using terminology properly. If terms like down, feather, goose, and duck are used interchangeably, this may be cause for concern. These terms have technical and legal definitions in commerce. Reputable companies will be familiar with them and will do their best to describe their products accordingly.

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