Hungarian vs Siberian Goose Down

Goose down

You may have heard a lot about Siberian goose down, Canadian goose down, Hungarian goose down and so on – don’t be misled into believing the origin of the down is an indicator of quality.
Contrary to popular belief, one thing that has little bearing on goose down quality is its origin. In reality, where the goose comes from makes no difference at all to the quality of its down. Different countries do utilize different methods of agriculture, however, which may lead some people to claim that Hungarian down is the best, or Siberian, etc.

One of the most common misconceptions is that of associating colder climates with higher-quality down. In reality, birds native to colder climates do not produce superior-quality down to those originating from warmer regions. Instead, the birds simply produce more down to compensate for the colder temperatures – the actual quality of the down therefore remains the same.

There are other things that affect the quality of a down product, though. Age is the most important factor in this respect. The most insulating down comes from more mature birds.

Fill Power

The quality and effectiveness of down is measured in fill power. The higher the fill power rating, the greater the number of air chambers the down holds and the more effective its insulating properties. This is precisely why, as down quality increases, the amount of goose down required to provide the same warmth and insulation decreases.

If you prefer a down duvet that feels a little heavier, lower fill power down will suit your needs or a filling with a larger percentage of feathers. By contrast, if you prefer an ultra-light yet still incredibly effective quilt or duvet, high fill power is the way to go. No matter whether it’s Canadian, Hungarian or Polish goose down that goes into the quilt, it is fill power that will determine its properties.

And apart from the fact that down with a high fill power lofts better than down with a lower fill power it also tends to hold a longer time, because its fibers are less fragile. Your duvet will be relatively warmer, lighter and puffier than a duvet with a lesser quality down in it and it will last much longer as well.

Fill power Down

The Siberian Goose Down Myth

For a consumer, when a duvet is filled with "Siberian Down" this might sound like the ultimate duvet. We tend to think that a bird that survives living under ‘Siberian circumstances’ should have a serious coat.

Siberia is a Russian territory situated north of Mongolia. It is a rather unfriendly area for agricultural businesses such as goose breeding, not only because the permafrost, but also because of the temperature, which often drops below - 50 ° Celsius.

The fact is that geese cannot survive winter under these Siberian circumstances. Geese, as all migratory birds go south in autumn and fly north in the spring. It is the northern territories where they do their breeding and in autumn we (the more southern inhabitants of the northern hemisphere) see the birds arriving for their summer stay.

There are many products being sold in various forms that state they are filled with "Siberian Down", but where does ‘Siberian Down’ come from then? Several institutions tried to verify the origin of it, but not a single one of them had any success in this perspective.

We can tell you something about the outcome of those investigations though.

  • There is actually a species called Siberian Goose or Branta ruficollis. It is a rather rare species that breeds on the Siberian Taimyr Peninsula and winters along the shores of the Black Sea. It is an endangered and protected species.

  • This Siberian goose is not white, but it is black and red coloured. Not really a source for White Siberian Goose Down, in our opinion.

Maybe there is goose farming in Siberia then, and so the name ‘Siberian Goose Down’ derives from the location rather than from the species? This is not the case either.

Up until now there has not been a single sign of geese being bred in Siberia.

So where does goose down come from then?

China is the biggest supplier of goose down in the world. The best goose down though comes from European countries such as Poland, Hungary and France. And then of course we have Canada and exotic origins like Great Britain, Scandinavia, Russia, Serbia and Romania.

Poland, Hungary, and other European nations have a long tradition of raising geese and ducks that are more mature. This results in generally higher grades of down. As you’ve already read, it is the fill power of the down which tells you something about the quality, not its origin. We can tell you something about the various sources though.

Hungary

Hungary

The world's main source of high quality goose down. Hungary provides mainly white and semi-white goose down but nowadays it also provides high quality duck-down.

Poland

Poland

Just like Hungary, Poland is a classic exporter of premium quality goose down. The most famous area is the Masurian Lake District.

France

France

The Pyrenees is a range of mountains in southwest Europe that forms a natural border between France and Spain. This area is worldwide renowned for geese that provide superb quality down. Very popular with manufacturers all over the world.

Canada

Canada

The Western regions of Canada are famous for their down. Just like the geese in the Pyrenees, the Canadian goose is a guarantee for excellent down. And then of course there is the Hutterite down, the most premium down in our opinion.

Greenland, Iceland

Greenland, Iceland

If you are talking eiderdown, then we are talking Greenland and Iceland. Here the eider duck nests. And this species provides us with the most expensive down there is, the eiderdown.

Romania

Romania""

Europe's greatest wetland, the Danube Delta, harvests a lot of smaller geese farms that provide excellent quality white and grey goose down.

Czech Republic

Czech Republic

The Czech Republic is home to a lot of duck farms that provide high quality of duck down.  

UK

UK

Goose down from the UK is available only in smaller volumes. Down from the Scottish Highlands is especially popular.

What Really Matters

Here at Downduvet.co.uk, we understand exactly what contributes to product quality when it comes to down duvets and pillows. We focus on what really matters: fill power (and of course outstanding value for money).

You can find out more about fill power and choosing the right products in accordance with your preferences on our page about fill power. Or if you have any questions about down quality, origins or types, get in touch with our customer service team anytime.


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