Thursday, September 13, 2012

My Feathered Money Tree


I think it is safe to say that it is officially fall here on the Shawhan farm. That means life is about to get extremely hectic! While I'm thinking about that, beginning in the not so distant future, I will not be posting on Sundays anymore until the end of October. Instead I'll post Monday and Thursday.

The chickens are doing well and it seems my little sick chicken is feeling much better.

The other day I walked out to the barn to see a white dusting laying on the ground. No it wasn't snow, thank goodness! but a bunch of white chicken feathers. I frantically looked everyone over, making sure there wasn't a dead carcass somewhere or a hurt cluckie. Everyone seemed fine, and I have yet to determine the cause of so many feathers laying there.

Seeing this reminded me of an article I saw in Chickens Magazine about selling feathers to fly-fishermen. I hadn't read it until this afternoon and I learned that there is also a market for chicken feathers in the crafting world. (I wish I had read this article sooner, then I would have plucked some feathers off my latest dead chicken.)

Feathers are made up of mostly keratin and a little bit of water. It is keratin that gives feathers their strength and durability, not to mention their attractiveness. There are two types of feathers that are valuable to others.

The soft down feathers are used in the crafting world for general crafting purposes. They can be seen on masks, earrings, etc:

These feathers lay under the outer, stronger contour feathers that fly-fishermen like to use in their fishing flies:

Fishermen prefer feathers from chicken breeds like Australorps (which we have) Dorking, Sussex, and Wyandottes, just to name a few.

Apparently, it's simple to keep these feathers for the people in the market for them. Just pop them in the freezer for a period of time of no less than three weeks. There are even a few different methods of cleaning/washing dirty feathers with mild dish soap and a little bit of borax. You can find people in the market on ebay and

Like I said, I wish I knew about these markets before I buried my chickens in Manure Memorial Gardens...or last fall when Ms. Fluffy Feathers met her fate on the road and her feathers were scattered down Sinking Spring Road for a half a mile. Though I'm not sure what the going rate is for chicken feathers. Maybe I have a money tree in my backyard after all...

Looks like I'll be doing yet another task I imagined I would be doing by owning chickens...pricing the competition on these sites to get an idea!

                                                                                                      ...cluck... cluck... cluck...

Weaver, Sue. "For Fun & Profit; Your Flock's Feathers Could Bring in Some Extra Cash." Chickens Magazine September/October. 2012 44+

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