Monday, December 3, 2012

Craft Feathers


The chickens, ducks, and geese have been molting for the past month. Each day, the yard is strewn with tons of feathers of all shapes and sizes. I hadn't really paid any mind to this natural process- other than watching the birds to make certain that the feathers they were shedding were from molting and not from some other source (fleas, fighting, disease, etc.)
 
This is a natural molt. The biggest indicator of this fact are the tell-tale signs of new feathers sprouting. The chickens are not bald, nor have  they lost massive amounts of feathers, all at once. For our chickens, it is almost like how adult teeth push out baby teeth. For a little while, there is a gap, but then the feathers push through the tubes, the chickens fledge and look normal again.

The amount of time it takes to complete a molt depends on many factors- among them are; the overall health of the chicken, it's quality of feed, the average temperature and amount of daylight. It is very common, during molting, that hens expend so much of their energy in producing new feathers that they stop producing eggs. Sadly, this has been the case for us. We have been collecting very few eggs each week. Most of our flock seems to be finishing their fall molt period, so we are hoping that the egg production picks up, at least, a little.

In the meantime...
I have all these feathers laying around....
which got me to thinking...
is there anything that I could do with them? It is a shame for them to go to waste, after all.
 
I started collecting the feathers that were whole and pretty in appearance into a plastic zip lock bag. When I collected enough, I carefully washed them in a solution of dish detergent and warm water and left them to dry on a paper towel. In a few hours, these were clean, dry, and ready for me to attempt to do something with them.

This first "something" I tried was to hot glue them to hair clips. I bought a set of 12 clips at the local dollar store for, well, one dollar. It took a little while to get the hang of gluing them in place and I admit, I ruined several feathers in my first attempt.

After a few hours of playing with arrangements and fussing with them, I ended up with 6 completed clips that I was fairly pleased with. Pleased enough, anyway, to sent a pair to my lovely niece in North Carolina and my stylish eldest daughter to try out for me.
I really liked how the large black and green clip came out. It shines pleasantly when the light reflects off of it. I am definitely on the look out for more rooster tail feathers to make a matching clip.
 I think that the brown and white clips are nice, too. I like that the ends are sleek, but the bottoms are kind of fluffy. It makes a nice contrast paired together.
I have it in mind to, perhaps, create some interesting photo frames with an arrangement of some of the prettier feathers I have collected. I don't know if there is a market for such, but I think that I will have a lot of fun creating them, anyway. Additionally, I was thinking it might be fun for Miss Kristen and Miss Meaghan to use some of the feathers to craft some theater masquerade-type masks.
 
I am sure that there are many other uses to be discovered, but this is a good beginning for us. I'll be sure to keep you posted!
 
Thanks for stopping in tonight.
Sonja ♥

This week's linked blogs:

The Chicken Chick

5 comments:

  1. Cute way to use your feathers! I have so many feathers I've collected over the years and I'm always on the look out for ways to use them. One of the more recent ideas I found was to use the long feathers in gift wrapping. It looks really cute!

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    1. THAT is a great idea! I can't wait to try that.

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  2. I am sure "the monkey" will LOVE them! I should be getting my 2 oz condiment cups in the mail today or tomorrow and then the science begins! I am on a mission to find the best smells with the best scent throws for my "soy shots" (tarts). I have done a lot of the work already when I started making candles, but now there are new scents that I want to research and test. I will be sending some your way to review, and eventually when I have the best of the best I will send you a selection for a giveaway.
    We are a creative bunch!

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  3. Very nice clips. My girls are grown adults and so I'm not up on the latest things, but as a 50 yr. old I think they're neat. Might try a pair for myself for fun. But yours are very pretty. How'd your niece and daughter like them? Good luck, good stocking stuffers. Deb

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    1. They were a BIG hit and the newest ones we made are even nicer! I am really pleased with how they are coming out and am really looking forward too having some more time to play with making more in the coming weeks. I have a feed bucket full of lost feathers just itching to be made into SOMETHING. :)

      Thanks for visiting, Deb.

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