Women rushing to their favorite hairstylist and demanding that a few feathers be hot glued into their strands are now discovering that the hackles - long skinny rooster feathers used by fishermen to make lures, come from live roosters which are genetically bred and raised for their plumage.
In most cases, the birds do not survive the plucking of their feathers and must be euthanized.
Concerns For Inhumane Treatment Of Roosters
Some hair consumers and PETA supporters are worried about animal rights and humane treatments are outraged that birds are not being killed for food and sustenance, but for vanity's sake. Of course its important to point out the roosters have always been bred for their feathers and not for food.
At Whiting Farms, Inc., in western Colorado, one of the world's largest producers of fly tying feathers, the roosters live about a year while their saddle feathers — the ones on the bird's backside and the most popular for hair extensions — grow as long as possible. Once the feathers are harvested to be sold to nationwide fly fishing shops the roosters are put down.
As a result of the Steven Tyler fueled feather extension craze, fly fishing shops are having a hard time getting the standard feathers to sell to their customers. The price of the feathers have skyrocketed.
Rooster Feathers Bred For Feathers
Since the roosters are breed for their feathers and it takes approximately one year to harvest one rooster, Whiting Farms can't instantly increase production.
Whiting Farms is harvesting about 1,500 birds a week for their feathers and still can't keep up with its current orders, said owner and founder Tom Whiting, a poultry geneticist. "I've tried to withhold some for the fly fishing world because when the fashion trend goes away, which it will, I've still got to make a living," he said.
Skyrocketing Prices For Rooster Feathers
Although when the feather craze started they were sold for $5 to $10 apiece, now the price has skyrocketed and may cost as much as $25 per feather. The feathers can be washed, brushed, blow dried, straightened and curled once they are glued into position in the hair. You can even buy matching feathers for your dogs and have the groomer attach them.
Women who are upset by the idea that a rooster had to give its life for her to wear feathers are skipping the real feathers for their hair and going with faux feathers added to earrings or other accessories.
Hair Fad Quickly Losing Popularity
Some fashion experts believe the fad will end very soon since Steven Tyler is no longer visible every week with his own hair feathers and summertime is the season when people want no muss, no fuss hair they can wear pulled up in ponytails and other styles not necessarily conducive to feather extensions.
Another factor may be the rapidly increasing costs. While many women would be fame to have a feather extension for $5-$10, at $50 it's another story. And then there's that whole think about roosters dying in the name of beauty.
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