Ostrich feathers vary greatly in size and type. These are some of the terms:
PLUMES: Generally the naturally white plumes from the male ostrich. These are washed and dried by the ostrich farmer. They are clipped from the bird with no harm.The large wing plumes can range between 20-30 inches long with herl (fibers) width that can exceed 12 inches across. The wing plumes have a thicker stems than drabs. “Feminas” are a type of wing plume similar but from the female. They are of a somewhat lesser quality but still very nice.
DRABS: The drabs are ostrich shoulder feathers and have a thinner stem and somewhat thinner herl. Drabs are naturally gray in color and come mostly from the female birds. They must be bleached somewhat then dyed resulting in some colors being a bit less bright that the wing plumes. Lamplight offers these sizes of ostrich feathers:
WING PLUME SIZES:
Deluxe ostrich wing plumes – 24-30 inches
Premium Short ostrich wing plumes – about 16-24 inches
Mini ostrich feathers – 5-8 inches
Short ostrich feathers – 8-12 inches
Medium ostrich feathers – 12-16 inches
Long ostrich feathers – 16-19 inches
Extra Long ostrich feathers – 19-22 inches
NANDU: Nandu (or nondu) is a term used for ostrich feathers that have been evenly trimmed coming to a point. Very popular in a number of costume applications because they are light and feathery but stand upright and will not sag like many pheasant and coque feathers of similar length. Nandu can be trimmed from either drabs, spads, or wing plumes and come in similar lengths. Here at Lamplight Feather our skilled workers trim all of our own nandu to maintain quality control.
Spads: Spads are a tail feather and can be quite long but much thinner and sparser than drabs or plumes. Some are full enough to be steamed and shaped into passable drabs but most are best trimmed into nandu.
More information about these unusual and interesting birds and their feathers can be found on our information page About Ostriches .