DO YOU KNOW WHERE
YOUR FEATHERS COME FROM?
(by Rabbi Gershom, owner of The Happy Rooster store)
FACT: Most commercially-produced feathers are a by-product of the meat industry and come from factory farms, where chickens spend their short, miserable lives crammed together in tiny cages where they can't spread a wing or even move around. Geese are forcibly fed three times a day to produce fois gras (fatty goose liver), considered a gourmet delicacy. But the poor geese that fois gras comes from have their livers enlarged 8-10 times normal, to the point they can't even walk. Fois gras production is outlawed in Israel because it violates tsaar baalei chayim -- the principle in Jewish law forbidding cruelty to animals. Unfortunately, it is still legal in the USA and elsewhere.
QUESTION: Do you want that kind of negative energy in your craft or ritual items? NO??? Then buy your feathers from us. These feathers come from happy, healthy backyard companion birds living on our family hobby farm, or from well-cared-for companion birds. Over the years, I have developed a network of people who save naturally-shed feathers for me. These feathers are perfect for ceremonial items, dream catchers, wands, headresses, costumes, the "searching for leaven" ritual before Passover -- anytime you need a feather and don't want that ugly factory-farm energy in your life.
All the feathers we sell at The Happy Rooster store have fallen naturally from the birds during their normal molting process. Many are produced right here on our farm, while others come from my network of trusted people with pet birds. Rest assured, no birds were harmed in obtaining ANY feather you see advertised on my site! (The only possible exception being occasional road kills, but in such cases, the feathers will be clearly labeled as such.) See my guide on cruelty-free feathers for more details on humane issues concerning feathers.
If you are looking for bulk lots of those long thin "grizzley' (barred rooster feathers for hair extenders, please read my free guide on this first, to find out why they CANNOT be produced cruelty-free in large numbers!
We are an ovo-lacto vegetarian household, we do not slaughter our poultry, although we do eat the eggs. In fact, we began keeping chickens in order to have an alternative to factory-farm eggs. All of our birds get to live out their full lifespans (8-10 years for chickens, average of 30+ years for geese). In fact, some of our happy birds were filmed for the 2007 documentary, A Sacred Duty: Applying Jewish Values to Heal the Earth, produced by the Jewish Vegetarians of North America. You can see it for free on their site.
As my birds drop their old feathers, I pick them up and save them. When I have enough for a sale, I offer them at The Happy Rooster, my eBay store ). This helps me to feed my feathered friends, some of whom are rescues. For example, Clyde the Rooster, who strutted his stuff for many years here, was abandoned as a half-grown chick with his hatchmate, Bonnie, at a freeway rest stop. Then there was Sunshine, who was also a rescue, found while being chased by dogs. And Prince the White Chinese Goose was found by my wife and me as a half-grown gosling waddling down a back dirt road, crying in loneliness and panic.
So please -- DO NOT buy live "Easter chicks" or ducklings for your kids unless you can keep them for life. The same goes for hatching egg projects. If that incubator egg hatches, you will have a live bird to care for -- and domestic fowls CANNOT survive alone in the wild. So think ahead before buying or hatching poultry chicks!
Don't see what you want in my store? Feathers are seasonal: Geese shed their wing feathers all at once and are flightless until the new ones grow in. This usually happens in June-July, so, if you want goose quills, that's the best time to shop for them here. Chickens, peacocks, and many other birds shed in summer and fall. Other times of the year I usually have feathers, but the selection may not be as good. Sign up for The Happy Rooster newsletter (on the sidebar) and I will notify you when new feathers are available.
Regarding requests for "bulk" orders: Please be aware that cruelty-free is self-limiting in terms of how many birds a person can keep and still maintain the humaness. Please read my Guide on bulk feathers for an indepth discussion of why it is not possible to produce huge numbers of feathers cruelty-free (and why you should be suspicious of people claiming to do this.)
Important notice regarding Ravens and other protected species: Occasionally I get requests for feathers from Ravens. Ravens are a protected species and it is illegal to sell or own their feathers. Crows are legal to hunt, so crow feathers can sometimes be substituted for raven feathers in your projects, and I do occasionally have these from feathers naturally shed by birds on my land (I do not hunt.) But feathers from hawks, eagles, owls, Quetzals, and all songbirds are illegal. The only species of feathers legal to sell in the USA are: Chicken, goose, duck, pheasant, turkey, captive-raised parrots and macaws, parakeet, lovebird, canary, peacocks, ostrich, guineafowl, myna, pigeon, domestic swan, quail, and grouse. Starlings and English sparrows are also unprotected species and legal to sell, although I rarely have feathers from these. I have been told that Myna birds are an unprotected invasive species in Hawaii. Other than that,wild bird feathers are not legal to buy, sell, or use in your crafts. However, there are some species of domestic birds whose feathers duplicate eagle and hawk very well, such as feathers from barred varieties of chickens (fake owl) and female Black-Shouldered Peafowl (fake hawk/eagle). Tail feathers from Royal Palm heritage breed turkeys are white with black tips and make nice "eagle" feathers for war bonnets, but expect to pay a premium price for a naturally-shed set..
Last but not least, I want you to know that my family here at the The Happy Rooster opposes the USDA National Animal Identification System (NAIS) because it favors cruel factory farms and agribusiness, while placing undue burdens and restrictions on organic and free-run, cruelty-free flocks. If NAIS becomes mandatory as the USDA wants to do, it could spell the end of my cruelty-free feather business. Learn more about NAIS and what you can do to protect the rights of poultry to run free at: noNAIS.org. Then get active and help STOP this intrusive program!!!
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