Downy Mallard Duckings

Downy Mallard Duckings

A duckling is a baby duck in a downy plumage. These cuties are mallard ducklings.

Down is the layer of fine feathers found under the rough exterior feathers of birds. Baby birds are cloaked in down when they are young. When dry, down is an excellent thermal insulator. It is used in pillows, bedding and jackets. When wet or compressed it loses its insulation properties. Animal welfare groups have been trying to raise awareness about the cruelty of live-plucking birds in order to harvest down.

There are synthetic alternatives to down that are cheaper and more effective when wet. Wool can also be an alternative to down for some uses. Wool is obtained by shearing sheep; the sheep get a haircut and we get blankets and clothes. Pluck a few strands of your hair to see how it feels...
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