And why are they cheaper?
And why are they cheaper?
Their imported from India and usually of low quality compared to Whiting or others. Very webby, and usually stiff stems and short feathers. They are good for soft hackles and such
the inda hens ans roosters are a poor quality. there alot smaller then any quality. there are less barbs on the feather compaired to whiting or lars's, drier, stiffer, break easy, ect.
Here's what an Indian Henback feather looks like; love that marking -
Here's what they can do
They may be inexpensive (no R&D going in to improve their quill diameter/barb count, etc), but they are definitely not poor quality when used in the right way.
Somebody imports them from India? I just can't imagine there being a big enough market to do that.
For many years the hen and rooster feathers from 'Indian' birds was the 'best' available.
They still raise them for fly tying over there. Some of the feathers are excellent. I have a couple of 'india' rooster capes that are amazing. Smaller and not as many feathers as the genetic birds of today, but what's there is first rate. First true cree skin I ever saw was on an 'indian' rooster cape. Still using that one, but it's been picked over pretty well now...
I really like the markings you can get on some of these imported skins. The hen feathers especially have a bunch of uses. They make great soft hackles, and I use a lot of them for bass bug tails and backs on hopper patterns. Whenever I find a shop that sells them, I'll dig through whatever they have and buy any with unusual colors or markings.
They aren't the genetic hackle we've all come to rely on for dry fly hackle, but they still have lots of uses for the fly tyer.
The low cost imported hen capes are very good for wet fly collars. Their mottling makes them a good substitute for partridge. The biggest fault is that they tend to be larger in size.
They are cheaper because they come from India. (Are you still smiling?)
And that's the whole truth, but you already knew that by now.
Many years ago, I used to import necks from India for resale to the fly fishing industry. Although much of what has been stated here about the size and quality is correct, I also got some wonderful quality necks, and amazing colors among them, including Crees and various shades of natural dun. My purchase cost at the time was something like $0.50 per neck for the top graded rooster neck, and about $0.25 for hen necks. (That included the air mail shipping cost from India.) I don't recall that my Indian suppliers ever increased their prices to me, even during a period of time when inflation here in the US was running rampant, at least by today's standards. I could sell just about all theses necks that I wanted, and up to about $10.00 per neck - so it wasn't a bad business...then Buck Metz and Henry Hoffman started developing and selling their amazing genetic hackles...and the rest is history.
I love them for softhackles. Very productive here when nothing works, on brown or olive.
Thanks for the treatise, John, I thought maybe india hens were raised differently or had some different genes - and I had trouble believing that something that sells so cheap could be cheap enough to buy to make money on - and evidently still is.