Duck is not a bad word.
No, that wasn’t autocorrect. We meant duck.
Duck down products are excellent alternatives to their goose down counterparts. They both offer all the same benefits. They are both soft, fluffy and luxurious in feel. They are also high performance, powerful insulators, meaning a light and airy product can provide significant warmth. In fact, without a microscope, you’d be hard pressed to spot the difference between the two!
The popular perception is that goose down is higher quality than duck down, but this isn’t really true. The measure of down quality is loft (or fill power). The higher the loft, the larger the down clusters, and the better its insulating properties. In short, the higher the loft, the higher the down quality.
Geese are larger than ducks, and therefore, they tend to produce larger down clusters. This doesn’t mean that there is no high loft duck down on the market, however. Both goose and duck down are available in low and high lofts. Because of the volume of duck consumption worldwide, it is available in a variety of qualities in generous supply.
If goose down and duck down have the same loft, they are the same quality.
While there isn’t a difference in quality, there is a difference in the risk of odour development. Both goose and duck down can develop a noticeable scent, especially if exposed to moisture. This is a very rare phenomenon for either species, but there is a higher likelihood with duck down, particularly at lower lofts.
With proper use and care, and in the absence of significant, prolonged humidity, most duck down products will not develop an odour.
So how did duck down products get a bad reputation? Your guess is as good as ours! The down and feather products industry sometimes perpetuates the notion that goose down is better than duck, or at least exaggerates the extent of the differences between them. This creates higher demand, which drives up the market price, further increasing the perceived value in the eyes of consumer.
Of course, market price is not only influenced by demand, but other factors like scarcity. In many markets, duck is consumed at a higher volume than goose. Any other ideas?
We may not know how we got here, but we can help shape the conversation going forward. Duck down products allow you to enjoy all the benefits and luxury that down has to offer, but are a much better value for money. As long as you know the risks and are making an educated choice, you should feel confident about your purchase of a duck down duvet or pillow!
Leave questions, thoughts, and feelings in the comments!