How to sterilise feathers

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Birds can carry a variety of mites and bacteria on their feathers. Sterilise them with dry heat, disinfectants or ultraviolet light treatments. Commercially, feathers are sterilised with formaldehyde or sulphur dioxide. In the home, tiny organisms can be eliminated using all other methods.

Dry heat

Turn oven to 110 degrees.

Place feathers 10 cm (4 inches) apart on a baking tray. This allows hot air to circulate freely around each feather.

Bake for two and a half hours.

Remove from oven to cool.

Boiling

Place feathers in a saucepan.

Add water to cover the feathers and be 2.5 cm (1 inch) above them.

Heat the water on high heat until it bubbles.

Boil for 20 minutes. Some fungus spores may survive this treatment.

Reshape the feathers gently with your fingers. Their fibres will compress from the boiling action.

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