What is the Difference Between Down and Hungarian Goose Down?

Posted by Cuddledown ‍ on

We spend many hours of our lives in bed and so naturally, we want the best bedding and sleep accessories when it comes to our sleep and improving its quality.

Considering that typically, weight, TOG and warmth are the key features we look for when buying bedding, there is nothing cosier than goose down duvets and bedding. 

At two million fluff fibres per handful, it is the most perfect filling material. What's more, it represents everything that synthetic fillers aspire to be, but which are nowhere near it.

Why is Hungarian goose down miraculously warmer and magically fluffier than other fillings? Which down can be used to make the best duvets in the world? We clarify everything you need to know about the best filling for duvets and goose down pillows.

Where Does Down Come From?

It is difficult to see it immediately, but the that plumage beneath the outer feathers closest to a waterfowl's skin is called ‘down.’

Some of these fibres resemble a snowflake, growing radially with a core hardly visible. The lack of a stem makes goose down lighter in its weight and the individual filaments of the down are silky smooth and finely branched.

It is ultimately, the structure and design of down, be it goose down or duck down that gives it its insulating properties that make it so popular.

The largest producers of down are typically found in East Asian countries (especially China), where there is a great demand for these birds for food consumption.

In these countries, birds are often slaughtered before they reach adulthood. The result of not waiting for the birds to reach maturity is a lower quality down.

A smaller percentage comes from Europe, in particular, Hungary and Poland. But, you can also find production in smaller quantities from countries such as Canada and the United States.

European countries sell arguably the most prestigious and coveted down. In these countries, strict hygiene and health and safety laws, controls and compliance (according to European Standards) are followed, which makes their down of the highest quality.

They also have more control concerning cruel practices for down production. 

 What is the Difference Between Goose Down and Duck Down?

Both goose and duck down are natural products and have amazing properties, but, the most popular down comes from geese. The main reason is that goose feathers have better insulating properties and are lighter with regards to their weight. 

However, depending on the type of down used, there will be more or less variation. These are the main differences:

Insulation - Both types of down are good insulators. However, the difference lies in the size of goose down, which is larger than duck down, giving down duvets their fluffiness and warmth. It is also slightly more resilient than duck down in maintaining its shape due to the stronger stem.

Smell - There is a difference between the feeding habits of geese that eat mostly grass and ducks that have a varied diet. As a result, although Hungarian goose down can smell at times, duck down generally has a stronger, characteristic odour than goose down. Duck down's smell is often described as smelling ‘a bit farmy.’ 

Although both go through rigorous cleaning processes, they should not smell bad, sometimes the smell arises when these products have been stored for a long time.

Why is Hungarian Goose Down the Best in the World?

Whether goose down will insulate effectively depends on variables such as the bird's diet during its life, the bird's maturity and the washing method used in processing.

Hungarian goose down is highly prized for a variety of reasons. In Hungary, it is an age-old tradition to raise geese and let them reach maturity before harvesting them; it has been like that since the 15th century.

Their know-how has been passed down from generation to generation and has been perfected over the years. This is the reason why their feathers are plusher and retain heat better than other filling materials.

In order to obtain quality down, the bird must reach adulthood. In Asia and especially in China, birds are usually slaughtered at a young age, which prevents the growth of good quality down.

Conversely, European countries such as Hungary have a tradition of breeding these geese until adulthood, which has a direct impact on the quality of the down.

Another positive aspect of buying a Hungarian goose down duvet product is that being part of the EU, it follows stricter rules regarding animal treatment.

The act of plucking fowl while they are still alive is now prohibited by law in the European Union (EU).

This gives a better guarantee of obtaining goose down in a humane and ethical way, and we will be able to sleep peacefully in our superb Hungarian goose down duvet.

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