How To Use Feathers For Your Homestead

During certain times of the year, your barnyard is likely FULL of feathers. It seems a shame to waste them, but what on Earth could you possibly do with all of them? Well, just like with anything else in life, you just need to get a little creative! Today we’re going to give you some thoughts for how to use feathers for your homestead.

Fletch Your Arrows

feathers arrowsA bow and arrow is a weapon that you should become adept with, if for no other reason than that it’s a fairly easy weapon to craft from items you’ll have available if SHTF. We’ve written articles about this from how to make them to what wood is best to use for them, but what about the arrows? Feathers are perfect for making the fletch for arrows.

Fletch is what makes your arrow fly true by balancing the shaft. Turkey feather work wonderfully but you could use other feathers as well. Just match up the right and left wing or tail feathers.

Fishing Lures

There are as many ways to tie a fly as there are people who tie them. Chicken feathers, duck feathers, turkey feathers and even goose feathers are great for making fishing lures.

I don’t claim to be a professional in this area, but I watched my grandfather tie them all the time. He always used smaller ones, and seemed prone to using small ones that were shiny and colorful.


Dried feathers are great to use to start a fire. Just like hair, when they dry, they’re extremely flammable. If you want to throw a bag of feathers into your survival bag, they’re lightweight, won’t take up hardly any space, and they’ll help you get a fire going in a hurry when you need one.


You’ve surely had a feather pillow, and it was comfortable, fluffy and lasted for much longer than a pillow made from that fuzzy quilt batting stuff. Usually, goose feathers are what are used to make pillows but there’s no reason that you can’t use the little feathers from any bird, including ducks and chickens.

To wash the feathers to get them ready to stuff into a pillow, just tie them up in a pillow case and run them through the wash. I dry mine, my grandmother doesn’t. She swears they last longer if you don’t dry them and I swear they get fluffier when I dry them. It seems to be a matter of opinion!

You may have to collect for quite a while before you have enough of those little down feathers to make a pillow, but it’ll be well worth it. Have you priced a feather pillow in a store lately? Besides that, stores may not be available if SHTF.


Down comforters are tremendously expensive but boy are they warm and comfy! If you have a significant number of barnyard birds or ask your neighbors to collect feathers for you, you can save up enough to make a comforter.

One thing about this, though. Every good down comforter that I’ve ever owned had pockets sewn into them, kind of like a quilt, so that the feathers were contained to small areas throughout the comforter instead of falling to the bottom.

Hair Clips

I’ve seen some incredibly intricate hair clips decorated with feathers. You can buy the clips for practically nothing, then either glue or tie the feathers to the clip.

Since this is an art project, you can make it as simple or as elaborate as you want and you can use any combination of colors that you have in your barnyard. Not only will you save the feathers from waste, you’ll also have some beautiful clips to wear, to give away as gifts, or to trade for other goods.

Picture Frames

This sounds weird, but I’ve actually seen some beautiful picture frames made from duck feathers. They were the blue-green ones, but I would imagine that chicken feathers, goose feathers or turkey feathers would work, too. Different color and texture combinations could be really beautiful.

Writing Quills

OK, this may be stretching it a bit but feathers were used as writing quills for eons until the modern pen was invented. Typically, long feathers such as turkey feathers work best. Just dip them in your ink and use it like a pen.

Compost Them

Feathers are organic matter. As long as your birds are clean and don’t have lice or other parasites, they’ll be perfectly fine in your compost pile. For that matter, this goes for hair, too.

Christmas Ornaments

Holiday Ornaments

Tree angels, Easter eggs, Thanksgiving decorations and even Halloween costumes are all better with a few feathers! Use them to add wings to your angel ornaments or decorations, or to paint your Easter eggs. Of course, at Halloween, a feather boa or headband dresses a costume up nicely and Thanksgiving is ALL about turkeys!


I saw this idea on a book bag and thought that it would transfer well to T-shirts or even walls. The lady told me that she had poured some paint into a shallow bowl, then dipped her duck feather into the paint, smeared off the extra on the edge of the bowl, and then pressed the feather to the canvas of the bag.

I tried it and it worked fairly well but I went through several feathers. It gives a pretty cool look though!

Make Bows with Them

Feathers are beautiful; they’re fluffy and exotic-looking and are a great way to dress up a gift in lieu of a big bow. Or, for that matter, use it along with a bow to make the gift look super fancy!

Feathers come in all shapes, sizes, textures and colors, which makes them amazing for craft projects. Since they’re flammable, you can use them for tinder, and your arrows will fly straighter when you use feathers to make the fletches. When I searched for crafts using feathers, literally hundreds of ideas popped up, some better than others.

The important thing is that we, as homesteaders and preppers, hate to waste anything. Feathers certainly apply and with so many cool ways to use them, you won’t run out of projects!

If you can think of any other ways to use feathers for your homestead or for survival, please share them with us in the comments section below.


This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

Written by

Theresa Crouse is a full-time writer currently living in central Florida. She was born and raised in the hills of West Virginia, where she learned to farm, hunt, fish, and live off the land from an early age. She prefers to live off the grid as much as possible and does her best to follow the “leave nothing behind but footprints” philosophy. For fun, she enjoys shooting, kayaking, tinkering on her car and motorcycle, and just about anything else that involves water, going fast, or the outdoors.