A tour of "live" hackles.

I just got back from taking a tour at Conranch Hackles. I won a dry fly neck in a contest that Ron Eagle Elk ran and Dennis Conrad donated the prizes. I got to see the operation from the incubaters to the finish product. He has other exotics not just the chickens. I saw jungle fowl with the necks fully developed with the "nails", I takes two years to develop the nails on the fowl. Blue eared pheasants ($250. per skin). Chickens of every concievable natural color combination. He has Cree chickens that have 4-5 different colors of feathers. Every thing is natural no dying. The barred hackle chickens in ginger, chocolate, cream. blue dun, furnace etc are really incredible. I have never seen a "hackle chicken" so it was an interesting tour. He said that his brood stock is worth a couple of million bucks.
If your interested he has a website and sells direct. One of the neat things he does is NOT trim his saddles so you get all the hackles plus the wet fly material on the edges and the schlappen under the hackles. It is kind a multi-purpose pack that way.
Just thought all you tyers would be interested..
jesse clark

Really happy to know you got the "full meal deal" when you visited Denny. Did he talk your ear off about hackle? Once he starts, he's pretty hard to stop, but you sure learn a lot about different birds and feathers by spending a little time with him. I was fortunate enough to get one of his barred ginger full skins. It's hanging on the wall as an "art" piece. Can't bring myself to start plucking feathers from it yet.

He's also a fine fly tyer and fly fisherman himself. He also dabbles in building cane rods. Lost his shop some time back to a fire.

Let me know how you like tying with his feathers. I really like them, but everybody is different.

I am a lot closer in age to "old Denny" than I am to you. So I guess that gives me a dfferent perspective of him. He is certainly and interesting guy and what I liked most about him is that he did not talk about his past accomplishments. Alot of people in their 70"s have only the past to live in. they have nothing to get excited about for today and nothing to get up for tomorrow. Dennis is passionate about his birds, fishing, tying and his family. (not necessarily in that order) I want to get "old" like that I want to be excited to get up tomorrow to be passionate about something to have friends to be with and share that enthusiasm. I learned alot about feathers while I was there and I will go back to see him again. Not just to buy hackles, I could do that over the phone but to have a relationship with a guy like Dennis.
jesse clark

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