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FisherOfMenFebruary 10th, 2012, 10:22 am
NY

Posts: 115
Hey guys, my sister just called, there's a limited time offer for $5 roosters. She asked if I wanted some for feathers. I have no idea how good of hackle it will be, but for $5 a full bird it's worth a shot. My question is, what color hackle is the most useful? I already have plenty of grizzly. She mentioned White Silkie, Rhode Island Red, and Barred as the available colors although she thinks there's a few more. I'm supposed to let her know very soon so if you can give me an idea of what color(s) to get it'd be appreciated.

I don't know how many roosters are available or how good the feathers will be, but if you're interested I might be able to work something out as well.

Thanks!
"Nothing makes a fish bigger than almost being caught." -Author Unknown

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing. -Edmund Burke
PaulRobertsFebruary 10th, 2012, 11:25 am
Colorado

Posts: 1776
Dry fly hackle feathers are very specialized, and not just any rooster will do. But, there are lots of other feathers on almost any bird that can be useful.
FisherOfMenFebruary 10th, 2012, 7:22 pm
NY

Posts: 115
After a bit of research this is how it sounds -- It'll be like tying in the 70's: Sometimes you use two feathers for a densely hackled fly, and a little fly dressing to keep 'em afloat in the faster currents.

With the offer now sounding more like $10 for 4 1yr. old roosters(a great price for 4 chickens to bar-b-que), I think I'll take my chances and either get lucky, or get a lifetime supply of wet-fly hackle!
"Nothing makes a fish bigger than almost being caught." -Author Unknown

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing. -Edmund Burke
GldstrmSamFebruary 10th, 2012, 9:01 pm
Fairbanks, Alaska

Posts: 212
The only hackle I use is from my chickens. I have never had a problem as far as quality goes.
There is no greater fan of fly fishing than the worm. ~Patrick F. McManus
FisherOfMenFebruary 10th, 2012, 10:17 pm
NY

Posts: 115
What kind of chickens do you have?

These roosters are available at 4 for $8. We plan on using the meat, so the cost is whatever you make it to be, from absolutely free to say, one dollar. A $1 cape is a pretty good bargain no matter the quality.
This has gotten me thinking - Is a $1 cape and a $5 bottle of floatant the answer? Of course the quality won't be anywhere near a $60 Whiting cape or the equivalent, but just how close would it come to your average discount-brand cape? This hackle dilemma has me thinking. If lower quality, or even medium quality hackle can be had for nearly nothing and sold for much more but still much cheaper than the genetic competition, why aren't people starting non-genetic hackle farms or just making a few bucks on the side of their meat farm business? Or are they?!

Also do you know of any websites or material that would give me an idea of how to butcher these chickens for their feathers? Also we would like to keep the meat, have you any idea of the right way to go about this?

It feels like I have a question about your chickens/hackle, but it's not forming, so if you have a minute could you fill me in on your operation? I might even be interested in something similar. Thanks!
"Nothing makes a fish bigger than almost being caught." -Author Unknown

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing. -Edmund Burke
WbranchFebruary 11th, 2012, 7:40 am
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2651
Unless you just have the urge to kill a bunch of chickens, skin them, and cure the skins to yield an unknown quality of feathers then maybe it is a good deal for you. But if you get some catalogs that specialize in fly tying materials they often sell bulk, lesser quality, Indian cock hackles as well as some domestic dry fly quality necks. When I was your age, and didn't have the funds, I bought these grab bag dry fly necks. Why don't you Google "bulk dry fly necks" or "Indian cock dry fly necks". Look at a catalog from "The Fly Shop" located in Merced, CA as they have an awesome fly tying section, maybe Cabela's sells some bulk starter dry fly hackle.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
GldstrmSamFebruary 11th, 2012, 2:31 pm
Fairbanks, Alaska

Posts: 212
I have a Blue Laced Wyandotte and a Barnyard Cross ( in dog terms: a mutt) with gold feathers. I do have some white and black saddle/hackles from another couple of roosters that I butchered. The great thing about keeping my chickens live is I have all my feathers on the run.

Now for the butchering/skinning. From what I have done If the rooster is older you will probably need world record sized muscles to pull the skin off of it.LOL. That is when I resort to just cutting off the saddles and hackles. When I butcher I take a REALLY sharp, strong knife. Then tie two strong slip knots. Hang the chickens FEET in the nooses (one in each). The chicken will be hanging up-side down now. Now hold the rooster's neck firmly BUT not too tightly right below the head (The rooster should be belly towards you). Then take your knife and in a swift saw motion cut off the head in the middle off the neck. DO NOT SCAR YOURSELF EMOTIONALLY IF IT GOES WRONG: just get the head off. If this seams too complicated you can try the ax, but that bruises the meat when they are flopping around. We butcher around fifty chickens a year and I found that the way I explained is is the quickest and smoothest way.

To skin them I take a sharp knife (A fillet knife works well for this part). Take the knife and slice the skin up the middle of the breast bone (the chicken should be laying on its back). Then cut the legs off at the first joint from the foot, and the wing joints at what would be its wrist. Now find Hulk Hogan to pull the skin off of the back and legs. This part as you guessed takes muscle for some roosters. Anyway pull the skin off of the legs and wings then over its back to the tail. Cut the skin off at the tail. You will want to wash the skin now that it is detached.
Now for the gut cavity: The gut cavity should be enclosed still. Now cut through the membrane enough for your hand to fit in the gut cavity. BE VERY CAREFUL NOT TO CUT INTO THE GUTS. Now put your hand in the gut cavity and carefully pull the guts out. The guts should be out but still attached by the intestines. Now cut along the U shaped bone that is around the anal area. There should now be no tail feathers or guts attached to the chicken except some pinkish red stuff attached to the rib cage. To clean that out run your finger along each section between the ribs.
Your first rooster will probably turn out fairly poorly so don't choose one that has a lot of meat or really nice feathers.

If I need to clarify anything or if you have any questions then ask away.

Sam
There is no greater fan of fly fishing than the worm. ~Patrick F. McManus
WbranchFebruary 11th, 2012, 6:00 pm
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2651
Sam wrote;

"Now for the butchering/skinning. From what I have done If the rooster is older you will probably need world record sized muscles to pull the skin off of it.LOL. That is when I resort to just cutting off the saddles and hackles. When I butcher I take a REALLY sharp, strong knife. Then tie two strong slip knots. Hang the chickens FEET in the nooses (one in each). The chicken will be hanging up-side down now. Now hold the rooster's neck firmly BUT not too tightly right below the head (The rooster should be belly towards you). Then take your knife and in a swift saw motion cut off the head in the middle off the neck. DO NOT SCAR YOURSELF EMOTIONALLY IF IT GOES WRONG: just get the head off. If this seams too complicated you can try the ax, but that bruises the meat when they are flopping around. We butcher around fifty chickens a year and I found that the way I explained is is the quickest and smoothest way.

To skin them I take a sharp knife (A fillet knife works well for this part). Take the knife and slice the skin up the middle of the breast bone (the chicken should be laying on its back). Then cut the legs off at the first joint from the foot, and the wing joints at what would be its wrist. Now find Hulk Hogan to pull the skin off of the back and legs. This part as you guessed takes muscle for some roosters. Anyway pull the skin off of the legs and wings then over its back to the tail. Cut the skin off at the tail. You will want to wash the skin now that it is detached.
Now for the gut cavity: The gut cavity should be enclosed still. Now cut through the membrane enough for your hand to fit in the gut cavity. BE VERY CAREFUL NOT TO CUT INTO THE GUTS. Now put your hand in the gut cavity and carefully pull the guts out. The guts should be out but still attached by the intestines. Now cut along the U shaped bone that is around the anal area. There should now be no tail feathers or guts attached to the chicken except some pinkish red stuff attached to the rib cage. To clean that out run your finger along each section between the ribs.
Your first rooster will probably turn out fairly poorly so don't choose one that has a lot of meat or really nice feathers."

Hmmm, I think you told me a little more than I wanted to know about how you acquire your fly tying hackles. I lost my appetite for taking my wife out for V-day dinner now!

Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
GldstrmSamFebruary 12th, 2012, 12:55 am
Fairbanks, Alaska

Posts: 212
I am SOOOO sorry I thought afterwards that I probably should have PMed it.
I do not know if it would be a good idea, but I could PM it to FisherofMan if he wants it for reference, and then delete it off of the public forum. If F.of M. wants it I will do it A.S.A.P. Otherwise I will delete it soon.
There is no greater fan of fly fishing than the worm. ~Patrick F. McManus
MartinlfFebruary 12th, 2012, 12:36 pm
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3056
I suspect Matt may have been joking.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
WbranchFebruary 12th, 2012, 1:33 pm
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2651
Yes, I was joking about it making me lose my appetite for a V-day dinner but I wasn't joking about learning too much about how he acquires his hackle. It grossed me out.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
WbranchFebruary 12th, 2012, 7:09 pm
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2651
Hello Fisher,

Here is the first on the list when I Googled "Bulk Indian dry fly necks"

http://www.orlandooutfitters.com/online-store/product.asp?strParents=0,154&CAT_ID=166&P_ID=1233

They come in about ten different colors and cost just $9.99 each. The add copy says "sizes 10 - 20 with many in the #14 - #16 range".

Why pay $5 - $10 for a live bird and then you still have to butcher it and cure the skin. Here you open the box and start to tie.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
TNEALFebruary 12th, 2012, 10:12 pm
GRAYLING. MICHIGAN

Posts: 278
Tackle-craft has Indian necks for a little over $4 each,,,,,
GldstrmSamFebruary 13th, 2012, 12:30 am
Fairbanks, Alaska

Posts: 212
If anybody wants me to I will delete that post on butchering.
There is no greater fan of fly fishing than the worm. ~Patrick F. McManus
EntomanFebruary 13th, 2012, 12:35 am
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Tim-

I really miss the days when I could go through the bins at Creative Sports (Andy Puyans' shop). You could find some pretty good stuff that way. The quality of India necks is all over the map, and I'd be a little nervous buying them sight unseen, but I guess I'm spoiled. For sparsely tied dry flies, a couple of good quality India hackles will whip up a pretty decent fly. The problem I have with some of the latest genetics is they're a little too stiff, especially the saddles. If you look closely at the barbules under magnification, you can see the reason for this stiffness. They're almost like the blades in a turbo fan! No wonder conventionally tied flies using them will twist up a tippet like nobody's business. A lot of that stuff is only fit for parachutes or dangling from girl's hair. Speaking of hair ornaments - Remember, for every saddle there's a neck. Unless they control the supply by hiding the excess in vaults ( like they do with diamonds), those neck prices should really come down. I'm watching.:) He he he.
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
GldstrmSamFebruary 13th, 2012, 2:11 am
Fairbanks, Alaska

Posts: 212
I'll keep the post on. It is the "behind the scenes" of where your saddles/hackles comes from.
There is no greater fan of fly fishing than the worm. ~Patrick F. McManus
TNEALFebruary 13th, 2012, 10:51 pm
GRAYLING. MICHIGAN

Posts: 278
Interesting that you mentioned stiffness, especially with the saddles... I agree. I have a wholesale account with hook and hackle; they have some very nice capes...



Tim
EntomanFebruary 14th, 2012, 7:45 am
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Hi Tim,

A company called Keough came out with what they called a "Tyer's Grade" cape a few years back. Have you heard of them? I bought quite a few awhile back that I think are topnotch! Thin stems, barbule density, stiffness, number of hackles in the 18 to 12 range - by far the best I've seen for the money, kinda like Goldilocks porridge. I was getting them for under 10 bucks wholesale before they raised prices. I'll probably have to re-stock most of them by next year. I'm sure the sticker shock will get me. I think I've seen them advertised in the 40's now...
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
TNEALFebruary 14th, 2012, 1:08 pm
GRAYLING. MICHIGAN

Posts: 278
Kurt,

Yes, I'm familiar with Keough's products... pretty good stuff, but I'm afraid you are correct about the sticker shock... we'll be paying more for everything....
FisherOfMenFebruary 14th, 2012, 7:37 pm
NY

Posts: 115
The offer ran out, so I guess I'm out of luck. Right now I need to worry more about improving my skill than improving my stash of supplies. Wbranch set me up with a ton of stuff which will serve as a good base for building on my abilities. However when the time comes I will keep in mind those bulk necks and such. However I have put some thought into raising my own genetic hackle chickens down the road. It won't be anytime soon, I doubt I can keep chickens in the barracks...;)

I bagged two grouse yesterday which sets me up for some nice soft-hackle for some good wet flies. The birds are just so darn pretty I think I'm going to set aside some of the feathers for non-tying purposes.

Those grouse were tasty aside from the 7 1/2 shot and the strips of feather buried in the meat by the pellets.



Nick
"Nothing makes a fish bigger than almost being caught." -Author Unknown

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing. -Edmund Burke
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