Is there a difference between down and feathers and does it really matter? Absolutely. The feathers on geese or ducks are the outer covering of the bird. They have quills, repel water, and make it possible for the animal to fly. Down lies beneath this protective covering – usually on the belly of a bird - and is light and fluffy. It provides the insulation birds need to keep warm. Rather than quills, a down cluster has a round center called a plumule. Soft and airy, it features thousands of tiny fibers that radiate from its core.
Because of their protective nature, feathers in a fill are a great way to offer support and durability to a product and are ideal for decorative pillows, cushions, etc. However, for basic bedding, one needs to be careful. The use of larger feathers in basic beddings products such as duvets and pillows – while less expensive – can be more uncomfortable as their quills can break through the ticking and poke the user.