How to sterilize bird feathers?

Submitted by D. Chessin on 6/23/05 at 6:04 PM. ( )

I am interested in using feathers in a college science methods course for teachers. How can I sterilize feathers found in the backyard and recommend to my teachers to sterilize feathers they may find if they travel to different parts of the country? Can they me microwaved to eliminate bacteria and other problemswhich may cause disease in humans? These teachers will in turn work with children and I want to be sure I have the correct health and safety information. Also, I plan on ordering some feathers from the Internet for use in my classroom. I would like to ensure these are safe as well.

Thanks very much!

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UV Light.

This response submitted by jrosbor on 6/23/05 at 6:23 PM. ( )

Like the kind used to make water safe for drinking. Joe

What makes you think they need it?

This response submitted by George on 6/23/05 at 6:35 PM. ( )

You ARE a teacher, aren't you? If you do sterilize them, what going to insure that they don't become re-contaminated from the table you lay them on, from someone sneezing on them, or from the container you carry them in?

I tend to become disturbed when people look to "sterilize" the world. Maybe that's a good idea as far as the population goes, but actually, living is inherently dangerous. In over 2000 years not one single soul has survived past a lifetime.

Humans, especially AMERICAN humans, tend to have preconceived ideas of how to make "life" safer. If we'd just slow down and enjoy life occasionally, we would find out that we can't prevent natural selection. Those feathers likely have been sterilized by the sun's rays just as well as any artificial source could do. Vultures do just that to cleanse their feathers. You biggest problem might well be possessing the feathers that require documentation on. If you're in Indiana, you're likely to get jacked up by a game warden quicker than you'll get sick.

Not only that but checking the ARCHIVES.

This response submitted by Sarah on 6/23/05 at 7:13 PM. ( )

You still need to have a permit to have them in your possession from the USF&W office.

microwave 10 minutes

This response submitted by * on 6/23/05 at 11:27 PM. ( )

salmonella might be an issue, also kids allergic or not to feathers-- you do need a federal permit


This response submitted by Stitches on 6/24/05 at 1:01 AM. ( )

The only way the you might be able to truly sterilize feathers to accomplish what you are trying to accomplish is by using radiation which is used by many companies that sterilize surgical supplies. Any other form of sterilization (eto,steam or dry) may use temperatures that are to hot and may damage the shaft of the feather. UV will not penetrate the shaft of the feather in order to kill bacteria within the shaft therefore not truly sterilizing the feather. UV only kills surface and airborne bacteria and not truly a broad enough spectrum of bacteria to deem it effective for sterlization.



This response submitted by John on 6/24/05 at 1:58 AM. ( )

these guys don't know much, just boil them for 20 mins in pure bleach stirring often. They will be perfectly sterile.

you cant possess

This response submitted by newbirdman on 6/24/05 at 6:12 AM. ( )

Well it looks like Sarah's the only one on here thats realizes you cant have feathers that you find on the ground . They are illegal to have unless there from species that have hunting seasons . Why dont you just go to a craft store and buy them and save yourself all the trouble ? Rick

Uh, Rick

This response submitted by George on 6/24/05 at 8:23 AM. ( )

Did I catch you not reading again? Sarah is absolutely correct, but even a school teacher should be able to understand the last 2 sentences in my thread.

Don't bother

This response submitted by Nancy M. on 6/26/05 at 6:02 PM. ( )

Assuming you can get the permits needed to posses the feathers, I suggest you keep them inside transparent plastic bags, like sandwich bags. There is little or nothing to fear from the feathers themselves since the vast majority of bird diseases don't affect humans, but the HUMAN germs which they will pick up from being handled and passed around are worthy of some degree of caution. The plastic bags can be sprayed with disinfectant as needed.

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