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Jonjoe

Chicken feathers?

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chicken feathers = hackle

 

What sandflyx said!

 

However, there are different types, such as hen & rooster, and from different parts of the bird. Neck hackle is from the neck area, saddle hackle is from lower down the back of the bird below the neck, and into the tail area. Then there's "schlappen" which is the long, very webby feathers that are between the tail & the saddle feathers. Of course there's also feathers from the body area. All can be used depending on what type of flies you're tying.

 

In addition, chicken feathers or hackle are raised for different purposes. The genetically grown hackle for tying dry flies is not the same as what you'll find sold as strung hackle, or bugger or bass or saltwater hackle. All of these have different properties, with the dry fly hackle having very little "web" and the fibers in the feathers being stiff enough to support a dry fly. The other hackle types are softer generally than dry fly hackle. The stem section of the feathers will have various properties too. Dry fly hackle will often have stems that are easily bent without breaking, which allows the hackle to be wound around a hook. Other feathers may have stems that are more brittle, or they may not. The raising of fly tying hackle has become a science to some extent. However, even barn yard varieties still have their place.

 

Hen hackle, whether from the neck, saddle or body is very soft & is used in patterns where a lot of movement of the fibers is desired, such as wet flies, nymphs or collars of some streamers.

 

I raised some of my own birds for several years, because I was tying commercially & needed a good supply of feathers for tying bass & saltwater flies.

 

It's not all that complicated, it just takes some time to understand the differences & how each is utilized.

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