Hunting is a fall ritual for many, and the colourful ring-necked pheasant is a popular upland game bird. Male pheasants have multicoloured heads and regal tails that often reach 20 inches in length, making the feathers a great accent to home decor. But before you add the feathers into your decor, they must be cleaned and properly prepared. Start the process in the field to ensure feathers are sterile and free from insect and other bugs.
Carefully handle the feathers in the field to prevent feathers from being broken or damaged. Pluck the longest tail feathers and any other feathers you wish to keep by giving them a quick pull.
Wash the feathers with soapy water to remove any dust, blood or other debris. Look over the feathers to make sure the feathers are fully cleaned and rinse thoroughly. Washing the feathers eliminates any parasites or bugs that would eventually eat and destroy your feathers.
Allow the feathers to dry on a drying rack. As the feathers dry, groom the feathers back into position, which was disturbed during the washing.
Apply borax or another drying agent to the root of the feathers and place in a paper bag. Use plenty of borax to cover the root. Allow about 60 days for this process, then remove the feathers from the borax. Your pheasant feathers should now be clean and ready to use.
- Decorate with the pheasant feathers in wreaths, pictures or other wall decor.
- During the drying process, keep the feathers in a safe place away from bugs or other animals that could destroy the feathers.