My grandfather, Bill Barnett would purchase farmers turkeys and process them for shipping (see Rosie Blake). The turkeys were killed by cutting a blood vessel in side their beaks and then plucked. Entire families would come into town to pluck the feathers. They would be paid 10 cents a turkey. Often the adults would pull the large feathers and then hand the bird to the kids, because their smaller hands could pull the pin feathers easier. A family would have a good pay day at 10 cents a bird at this time.
Ducks were also shipped this way. They were plucked by dipping in boiling water and them placing in a burlap sack. The sack would then be rubbed over the ducks and the feathers would come off. If they were not left in the water long enough or were left in too long this feathers did not come off easily. Farmers also had geese and guineas around the house but there was not much of a market for these birds. They were used as watch dogs, making lots of noise when an animal or stranger came around. Some of the geese could be very mean. The geese were also used as a source of down feathers for use in bedding and pillows.
To the right is a closeup of down.