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Just wondering if anyone here makes thier own chicken hackles? I have just started fly tying and I raise my own chickens so I figure the two will go hand in hand. I have Brahma's, Barred Rocks and Silkies, some with gold crowns, some silver and some black ect. I have been reading up on it and see Borax seems to work well
 

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I haven't done it, but on the positive:

- A lot of people just started with a few birds,

- While you are unlikely to get anything as good as what is out there, you can find creative uses for almost any feather. If you harvested the full skin and got all the feathers of an interesting colour, there will be useful stuff there that an experienced eye would find like: aftershafts, chickaboo, or possibly some wet-fly hackle. Routine necks normally have some usable feathers, we used to get a lot of chinese necks at one point.

On the negative

- To get the good dry fly stuff you have to keep the birds, males, long past their use as meat, you have to breed them exclusively for hackle. Regular chickens are not all that useful, and with the advent of dry fly grade long skinny saddles the bad stuff doesn't even hold out hope economically.

- New materials in new uses, like CDC have pretty much wiped out traditional dry flies. They are fun to tie and effective, but If I was starting now, rather than in the 70s, I wouldn't bother with most hackle. And even starting in the 70s they were reasonably avoidable if one used deer hair patterns. No-hackles were coming in at the time.
 
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