Feathers For Fly Tying

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by vatterpa, May 19, 2010.

  1. vatterpa

    vatterpa Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Does anyone know If you can use feathers that have been scalded for fly tying? I was thinking after I pluck my chickens, I could find a use for them. I have also heard that people take off the neck or back for hackles, how? Thanks
     
  2. imthedude

    imthedude Chillin' With My Peeps

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    saddles and necks are feathers on the skin, so you'd have to skin the bird.
     
  3. vatterpa

    vatterpa Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ok, but can you cut out the hackle then scald and pluck?
    What about the feathers, does scalding affect them?
     
  4. uhuh555

    uhuh555 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    When we process our extra seramas we save the hackle and saddle feathers after scalding, but they have to be hand plucked if they are machine plucked they are hard to separate from the 2,154,511 other feathers that are not hackle or saddle feathers. All you have to do is dry them by placing them in a nylon stocking and putting them in an old cloths dryer. Wet feathers can smell bad when wet and the dryer is going to smell like wet feathers. Drying with a hair dryer works also but takes longer.
     
  5. vatterpa

    vatterpa Chillin' With My Peeps

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    so nothing bad happens to the feathers? I might give them to some fly tyers I know. And you can't air dry them? BTW what do you use your feathers for? [​IMG]
     
  6. Penturner

    Penturner Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You can go ahead and save your feathers for your tier friends, but they are more than likely going to be worth what they paid for them. depending on what they will be using them for a feather has a lot of characteristics that do not happen by random chance that make them usable for tying flies. A lot depends on just how good of flies they expect to make. If they want to make streamers for bass fishing then the requirements are not as hard to meet. if they are going to make dry flies you almost don't have a prayer. that requires a feather that has a long even length section of fibers that are stiff. in addition to that the feathers quill must be thin. strong and flexible and be able to wrap around the shank of a hook but not twist. It is not likely you can get all of those features in one feather without meaning to. and meaning to in a very serious focused sort of way.
    For the most part I would simply skin the neck of each bird before doing the rest of the processing. If you go look at other necks at tackle shops you will see that it is not really that big of a patch of skin that holds all those hackle feathers. saddles are another location on the back but still not that large of an area. from imagining it I would guess it would take less time to just skin then to mess with all the drying and what not. Minor damage to feathers is really not going to be that bi of an issue either. they are destined to be chewed on by fish. cant think of much worse than that for a feather. looking all neat and tidy is more about catching fisherman than catching fish.
     
  7. vatterpa

    vatterpa Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks. Do you think if I used a machine to pluck after I cut off the pieces, I would have problems?
     
  8. Dogfish

    Dogfish Rube Goldberg incarnate

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    Your best bet is to skin the bird after it has been killed, then salt the saddle and hackles. DO NOT SCALD. Seriously, your friends who tie flies will appreciate it. To do otherwise would be an excercise in futility. You do not want the feathers to release easily (scalded) if you plan on using them for fly tying. Hand them over to your friends and let them take care of tanning the skin.

    I am a reformed fly-fisherman who has graduated to being a bait thug. [​IMG]
     
  9. imthedude

    imthedude Chillin' With My Peeps

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    just FYI, i tie a lot of flies. the only feathers i've seen on any of our birds that i would consider using are some of the very fine saddle feathers on our BR rooster and some of the under feathers on our buff orp pullets. these seem to be like marabou, which i use to tie rather large streamers. with hackle, especially for dry flies, you pay for what you get, and really nice hackle that makes flies float high and long is expensive, and the birds are raised for that purpose.
     
  10. vatterpa

    vatterpa Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I wonder if you could sell them for craft purposes? I keep looking for a use for them. I hate wasting anything. What is a bait thug? [​IMG]
     

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