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.
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.
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.
An ultraviolet light may also be used to eliminate bacteria but it causes the feathers to become fragile and gradually break apart from structural damage.
Diseases and parasites may be spread by moving feathers from one geographic region to another.