Whiting Farms is located in Delta, CO, and is owned by Tom Whiting who has a doctorate in poultry genetics. Whiting raises chickens for fly-tying feathers that ship all around the world. The feathers from these chickens are very long and dense in part due to their barbules. The feathers are also cleaner because they go through several washings. The feathers from these chickens make for some of the best for fly-tiers.
The chickens’ feathers are harvested at about 11 months old after which the feathers are harvested. The feathers come from either the back of the chicken (saddle) or from the neck (cape.) The pelt might cost about $80 – 100. These feathers are used for all kinds of flies.
My good friends and fishing partners, Carol and Pat Oglesby, manage the Whiting Farms “Pro Team”, a select group of 86 people in 26 states and 5 countries. The Pro Team’s job is to tie flies with Whiting Farm feathers, and promote Whiting Farms products. In return they receive product and make recommendations to Whiting Farms. It is quite an honor to be chosen for the Pro Team; these folks are chosen from tiers who know their stuff – publish, present and have a public voice of some kind. In the end, this is really about marketing and promotion. In fact, most of the manufacturers in the fishing industry have a Pro Team.
I did a little more research on chickens and discovered that the average life of a chicken can be anywhere between 1 – 20 years depending on the breed and whether it’s a rooster or a chicken. I also learned that chickens raised for meat are slaughtered at 6 weeks. If you grew up on a farm, you kept your chickens until they stopped laying eggs. Well that’s an interesting thought…uh oh – I guess I’m a lost cause!
Thanks to Pat and Carol Oglesby for the information for this “In Other Words”