Newbie alert: can you temporarily turn off particles?

This seems pretty basic, but I can’t seem to track down how it’s done- or even if it’s possible.

I’m adding fireworks to a scene that has a fairly detailed hair-particle-feathered bird in it already, and Blender is really chugging with basic test animations. Since the same setup in a fresh scene animates in realtime (compared to 1.5ish fps in the bird scene) I assume Blender is spending a huge amount of processing power evaluating feather particles instead of focusing on the fireworks.

So the question:

Is there a way to tell Blender to ignore those feathers until render time? Or better yet, since the bird is completely static, to somehow bake them or turn off physics for them?

discovers the “convert” button five seconds later

My kingdom for a decent tutorial on this. Is there any way to preserve the hair settings (base width, etc) when you convert? The new mesh seems to be entirely simple lines, rather than a mesh translation of the hair it was created from.

Convert is permanent, that may not be the best solution. If you want to hide a particle system until render time, there’s a couple ways to do that:

-Go into the modifier stack, find the particle modifier that corresponds to the system, and turn off its preview visibility. This will disable the system entirely until render time
-In the particles tab, under “display”, reduce the percentage of particles shown
-If using child particles, reduce the number of “display” children.
-Also under the “display” rollout in particle properties, set the particles to draw as something other than their rendered form in the viewport.