Fallen feathers–what to do with them? October 12, 2012

The season is here; my girls have officially begun molting. The question now is: What to do with their fallen feathers? They’re so pretty, it seems like a waste to just let them blow away.

Fallen feathers: barred rock rooster

Fallen feathers: barred rock rooster saddle feather

When I first started keeping chickens years ago, I would spend fall days walking around the yard and plucking up fallen feathers. I keep lots of different breeds, so I always had a variety of feather colors: red, blue, chestnut, white, cream, buff, golden and so on. I liked the spangled feathers and the speckled feathers. I liked the barred feathers and the laced feathers. In fact, I gathered a mountain of fallen feathers, with the idea that they could be used to craft, at some point. I even picked up wild turkey feathers, blue jay feathers, cardinal feathers and any other fallen feathers that blew my way.

And… there they sit.

Mountain of fallen feathers

My mountain of fallen feathers

What do you do with a mountain of feathers? One year, I used some to decorate a “Mad Hatter” hat for Halloween. Another time, I gave an envelope full of them  to a friend who thought she might want to use them in her jewelry making. I’ve tied them to twine for our cats, and have (unsuccessfully) tried to incorporate them into crocheted, catnip stuffed toys. I have offered my few rooster hackle and saddle feathers to my fly-fishing friends, while the larger fallen feathers I have sometimes used in foliage or flower arrangements.

Still, I feel as if I’ve not quite grasped their potential. I have hundreds… and I’m doing nothing with them. They’re not the type of feathers that can be transformed into feather boas.  I’m not really a feathers-in-my hair sort of girl, either. A wreath, maybe? A feather tree? Feather art? Feather prints?

I appeal to all you crafty chicken people out there: what do you do with your fallen feathers? (Or what would you do if you had more time?)

24 Comments
Jim October 12th, 2012

The are some people experimenting with making plastic out of them.

brandy October 12th, 2012

I’d try and glue them all to a page and use it for the cover of the chicken scrapbook I’m making (:

Debra Ramsey October 12th, 2012

I am collecting our chicken’s feathers to make a wreath for our front door. We have 7, two year old hens that are each a different variety.

Cathy Brooks October 12th, 2012

I have baby feathers saved in a jar. (like a mama saving baby teeth lol) The big feathers are in a small vase. Fuzzy feathers are being saved to blend with fiber when I spin yarn. A feather wreath would be pretty also.

Gayle Morgan October 12th, 2012

Feather and bead jewery

Amy October 12th, 2012

Maybe they could be incorporated into some cool masquerade masks or hot glued in layers for a lampshade?

Tammy October 12th, 2012

I have TONS of feathers that I’ve saved over the years from my chickens and guineas. They are just too pretty not to save! Recently I had the idea to frame one of the feathers and I love how it turned out.

Here’s a link to my blog where I wrote about how I framed the feather – http://www.ourneckofthewoods.net/2012/09/feathered-friend-friday_28.html

Carol S October 12th, 2012

I have been collecting the fine fuzzy feathers so far. I make cards so I have been using the feathers for that. This is my first year with chickens and have not gone thru a molt. I am sure I will be collecting as many feathers as possible. I like the idea of a wreath.

George Castonguay October 12th, 2012

I will be using some to make a feathered hatband for my cowboy hat. I had one for it when I bought it way back in ’80 but it’s long disintergrated. They are so pretty I can’t just thrown them away. …and you should see my vase full of peacock tail feathers I got from a friend…

Candace October 12th, 2012

Thanks for linking my cyanotype feather art to your blog post. I’d also like to share that I pick up feathers in the grass from my yard birds. They have to be special feathers–like a bluebird feather, or a woodpecker feather. I keep them in a jar. I know there are federal regulations surrounding song bird feathers and I can’t use them in anything but looking at them gives me joy.

Lissa October 12th, 2012

You’re very welcome, Candace–it’s beautiful art! (And I’d be happy to share some chicken feathers with you, hahaha!) Seriously, though, if you’re interested in a few feathers, send an email to “Lissa” from My Pet Chicken at info@mypetchicken.com. 🙂

Rikki Strong October 12th, 2012

The fluffy butt/under-fluff feathers I’m saving…. I WILL make a feather pillow one of these … um, years (even if it’s just a little throw pillow for the couch). The larger ones (tail, wing) I give to my church, school, the local preschool, etc., for their craft projects.

We’re still waiting on our first molt, but we had a couple of dog attacks this summer. 🙁 (Fortunately, everyone is okay.)

Mike October 13th, 2012

feathers looks cool !!!

Chris October 13th, 2012

My girls and guys give me an assortment of beautiful feathers, which I use in making Dream Catchers!

Mary Glynn October 13th, 2012

Fly tyers use feathers to make fishing lures.

Sarmonster October 13th, 2012

Mom is weaving the feathers accross reeds and sweet grass, with yarn, the resulting ‘curtains’ can be used as decor, privacy screens, or sun breaks.

MuleWagon October 15th, 2012

My yard is covered with feathers, too, and the egg supply is dropping. 🙁 I hadn’t thought to collect them for anything. Maybe make feather pictures, pressed under glass?

Josh October 21st, 2012

Lately I sell mine to feather buyers. They sell them to taxidermists, fly tying companies, jewelry makers and interior decorators.

Eleanore November 16th, 2012

I’m collecting them in a bag and I only get the soft rump feathersI plan stuff a pillow with them! It will be the softest pillow in history!

Thomas February 6th, 2013

Hello. In regards to your cardinal and blue jay feathers, I was wondering if I could get them from you? I would be willing to pay for them. I am in need of them for religious activities. Native American from New Mexico.
Thank you!!

Lissa February 7th, 2013

Thomas, I don’t think it’s legal for me to sell them, sorry. With the songbird feathers, I mostly pick them up, admire them, and leave them in the yard or on the porch to be blown away with the next wind.

Heather May 31st, 2013

I have been collecting mine in a sealed jar for a couple years, I’m going to use them to make a masqerade style mask. I’m quite sure I have more than enough to make the mask now, but I just can’t stop collecting them 🙂

Gaylene Davidson November 13th, 2016

I’m saving small fluffy feathers to put in a clear, glass ball Christmas tree ornament.

Leslie October 7th, 2017

I make feather wreathes and arrange them in vases.

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