Oakville, Washington


Wool Pillows, Organic Pillows, Wool Body Pillows, Orthopedic Temperpedic Neck Pillows, Travel Pillows, Children's Pillows
Wool Pillows, Organic Pillows, Wool Body Pillows, Orthopedic Temperpedic Neck Pillows, Travel Pillows, Children's Pillows
Wool comforters, Organic Comforters, Organic Cotton Duvet Covers
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Holy Lamb Organics
Natural Bedding Company
Wholesale & Retail
Bedding Manufacturer
Oakville, Washington, USA

What is Down Bedding?

Many top of the line bedding companies use down feathers as the main filling inside of their pillows and comforters. We have grown so familiar with the word down that we rarely think to ask ourselves what it means. What is down? Where does it come from and how it is produced on an industrial level? These are questions that you may have never asked before. The following is a brief description of where down comes from, how it is processed and its pros and cons.

What is down? Down feathers come from the waterfowl of ducks and geese. It is their under plumage feathers commonly known as down and taken mainly from the breast region.

How does one get the feathers? Down harvesting is a result of the meat industry. The birds are killed for their meat and the plumage is plucked off and processed. There is one exception, Hungarian geese, whose down is plucked during their lifetime,which has got to hurt! It would be an interesting research project to investigate where this meat goes. Duck is certainly served in restaurants, but goose meat does not seem at the top of the list with humans. One could speculate that perhaps some of the meat is used for animal feeds.

Another interesting research project, from an animal activists point of view, would be to find out how many ducks or geese does it take to make just one pillow or how about a comforter? One duck or goose yields how many ounces of feathers? We will work on getting this factoid.

Who are the main producers? The majority of the world's down is supplied by the Far East. China, by far, is the leading producer for the last 20 years, not only supplying the raw down but also processing and manufacturing the finished products of comforters and pillows. Europe, North and South America and even the Caribbean are all producers of down as well. Europe has a good reputation for high quality goose down mostly coming from Eastern Europe in Poland and Hungary.

Bird's Lifespan: The older the birds are the bigger the size of the down clusters. However, this is in contradiction to the meat industry whose prime objective is to high maximum harvest in the most minimum time frame. The minimum life span is now only two weeks. Therefore, the quality of down has decreased over the years. The best quality down comes from certain parts of Europe where geese are reared in a cold climate and allowed to live a longer lifespan.

Processing: It is an extensive process to convert the wet, plucked, smelly plumage into a fluffy, warm, soft material. First it is plucked mostly while wet at the food processing plants and sold right away. Then it is washed thoroughly because it is very smelly. This stage can deteriorate the down if the processors are not careful. Then the feathers are dried using special equipment. All of the feathers are hand sorted which must be quite a laborious process. Sorting begins by separating each piece into categories of down, down fiber, down feathers, feathers…Dust is removed continually throughout many of these processes. It must be done thoroughly or otherwise an unsatisfactory amount of dust will be left in the final process. Finally, the different qualities of downs are blended to get the desired final products.

Washing Down: It is well known that down’s main “down” fall is its poor performance once it gets wet. Down can lose up to 90% of its isolative qualities when soaked through. Many people either cover their comforters with a duvet cover or take them to the dry cleaner who use a chemical cleaning solution. (One can find specialty dry cleaners these days that use biodegradable and non-toxic chemical washes.)

Hypoallergenic or not? Many down brands advertise their products as being hypoallergenic. This is achieved by extensive washing sometimes up to 15 washes to remove the dust and odor. It is then “ozonated” which is a safe process that further removes impurities. Then it is treated with an FDA approved chemical called an “anti-microbial treatment” that basically kills anything else that is remaining alive. However, the FDA also has over 2000 food additives approved that are all known carcinogens so we must heed caution on this point. When the down bedding is packaged on the shelf it definitely is a hypo-allergenic product, but once it is brought home and used, it will eventually over time revert back to harboring dust mites.

How does Wool Bedding Compare? We have based our entire company on the tried and true material of wool. Generations before us knew and loved the properties that wool bedding provided. We ask you, why not try some wool bedding next time around? It is comparable in terms of warmth and can even be warmer depending on the amount of fill. It energetically is very cozy and inviting. Unlike down whose birds are undermined in the process, sheep grow a coat of wool annually and are sheared without harming anyone in the process. When you support products that use wool you support small rural American sheep farmers whose economic industry is in need of our help. This is in contrast to the down feather industry whose manufacturers are large meat producing facilities that are most often oversees in places like China. Finally, wool does not support the growth of dust mites, which are a main cause of allergies. Down (as well as cotton filling used in futons and pillows) inherently promotes the growth of dust mites, unless it is put through extensive washing and treated with an anti-microbial chemical. On the whole, wool adds up to having a smaller ecological footprint than down.

Honestly, if you are in love with the way down squishes and you can’t live without that quality then stick with down. Wool is definitely soft and fluffy but it does not have that squishable character the way down does. However, wool just plain feels good. Try it once and you won’t go back!

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