Some feather loss is normal, in my experience, especially as you get into thicker, heavier boas. Without actually seeing how much has come off the boa, however, I couldn't tell you if it was a normal amount or not.
I've learned to take the boa and shake it out vigorously when it first arrives...this gets rid of the inevitable loose feathers, and gives you an idea of the general condition of the boa. However, old feathers start to disintegrate (turkey isn't as bad as ostrich, in that regard, but I've seen it happen with turkey feather stuff, too), and I've yet to find any way to prevent it from happening. If the boa sat on the shelf too long before you got it, it could, hypothetically, be 'past its prime'. Another question is how, exactly, the boa is being used--if it's being flicked and twisted and danced with and stuff, breakage is going to occur, period. We've done several shows at the park over the years I've been there where we were using boas...and it didn't matter if it was brand new or if it was one we'd pulled out of storage to use, the movement involved in doing the choreography always ended up breaking off a few more feathers every show (and some of these shows were performing seven or eight times a night...we have some pretty thread-bare boas floating around in costume storage right now, though I've begun trying to weed out the serious problems...)
So, yeah...without knowing for sure how many feathers have actually fallen off...and how, exactly, the boa's being used, it's difficult to state whether or not the amount of feathers lost is normal or if you got a 'cheap' boa.
--- In TheCostumersManifesto@yahoogroups.com, "catslave54" <zimmermanel@...> wrote:
> I've received this new feather boa: Turkey Ruff, 300 gram, 6 ft. long. It started to lose feathers as soon as I shook it out of the packaging and continued to do so throughout Dress Tech. The stage was a mess. The Stage Manager said she could practically build another boa with what came off! I've got enough feathers to fill a shopping bag here. The Director has demanded it be cut from the show and I don't blame him. The question is; is this NORMAL feather loss from a NEW boa? How much should I expect? Should I return it to the manufacturer? Elizabeth