Fly & Tenkara

Roosters are really annoying

So, I’ve been thinking about ‘helping’ some people with their rooster problem. If you’ve ever had chickens, or received some young ones from unscrupulous sources, you may be familiar with the realisation – at around 4.30am – that what you have bought or been given are not chickens at all, but in fact roosters. It’s a difficult decision: do you hang onto it, hoping the neighbours aren’t the murderous type and that the rooster will turn into a chicken; do you kill it and eat it; do you try to give it back; or do you see an opportunity?

Lately I’ve been looking through the classifieds online and have been getting increasingly excited about the number of roosters that people are trying to give away. Most of the ads say something like ‘free to a good home’ and ‘reluctantly giving away my prized cock’. It seems as though these people are looking for somewhere that the roosters can live happily ever after, crowing and scratching, being appreciated, and possibly even making more little roosters.

However, I’ve seen an opportunity. As soon as I see the photo, I zoom into the neck region. Some of these unwanted roosters have something I want. It’s not the meat, or the cheap alarm clock, or the quirky demeanour, or the ability to create more little chooks. It’s the feathers. Beautiful, long, colourful feathers.

There are a few ‘recipes’ online for how to cure the capes, but it seems it’s as simple as 1) kill bird, 2) skin with feathers on, 3) stretch skin sections out and nail to a board, lifting the section so that air can circulate, 4) sprinkle borax or salt onto the flesh to draw out the moisture and oil, 5) scrape off any excess fat or gooby stuff and 6), wait a week.

7) Voila! Feathers for flytying!

However, I am grappling with the whole honesty aspect. What will I tell the reluctant seller? ‘I appreciate the animals beauty…and versatility’?  ‘It’s going to a good home…on my fly tying desk’. Should I feel bad? I’m not sure, but it shouldn’t matter too much…should it!?

I’ve decided to give it a go anyway and will provide an update when it happens. I’ll be sure to include the gory details, including those of my own guilty (and hopefully justifiable) emotions.


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