a natural softness inside your cushion.
Down and feathers are a natural filling for your cushions. Down is very fine and very good at insulating. It is located beneath the stronger top feathers. Chicks are purely covered with this at first until their outer coating grows.
The most expensive types are taken from the breasts of ducks and geese, the eider duck being one that is often used. Eider ducks are farmed for their down in countries such as Iceland, Siberia and Scandinavia. They are well protected and cared for and the down that is removed from the nests have been placed there by the ducks as nesting material.
A pure down cushion pad is the height of luxury and very long lasting but very expensive as well.
Because of the high cost of a pure down cushion, it is usually mixed with feathers as well. The mix is usually split 40% down to 60% feathers but you may find with this mix the cushion needs to be plumped up at regular intervals. If the amount of down is increased to 60% and the feathers 40% the cushion may last longer.
The price can be reduced further by using feathers from other parts of the bird, although these will not feel as soft.
Chicken feathers can be used but they may have a stronger smell.
Down remains quite fluffy for a long time but it is the feathers that will begin to uncurl with time. The less expensive types will become flat over the years and will need replacing.
Cushions made from these will need to be plumped up regularly to allow the air to get in-between and stop them sagging.
When using this type of cushion filling it is always advisable to overfill the casing to allow for the natural loss of some of the filling.
When choosing the fabric for making the inner pad. It should be made out of feather-proof ticking as this will stop the feathers working themselves out of the casing.
One of the main disadvantages of these fillings is that some people are allergic to the contents.
Regular cleaning, whether it is dry cleaning or washing, of these will reduce the infestation of dust mites. Cushion pads now can be washed in the machine which is a great time saver, but always read the instructions on the pad before you do wash it. Just to be sure.