July 14, 2011

Feather Hair Extensions: A Trend Worth Killing For?

Rooster feathers look best on their rightful owners, but the strange trend of feather hair extensions is on the rise. To obtain the feathers (which are traditionally used as fishing lures), roosters are typically confined for 30 weeks—the majority of their short lives—in tiny, stacked cages inside deafeningly loud barns before they are killed and skinned.

The owner of Whiting Farms in Delta, Colorado—one of the largest feather farms in the U.S.—described the cruel conditions in which he keeps roosters:
[We're] sentencing [each rooster] to a solitary cage for the last 6 months, with nothing to look at or listen to other than lots of other confined roosters ... [y]our sentiments can quickly shift from wanting to evaluate their necks to wringing [t]hem. Some of my most sheepish moments in life have been after hurling an especially bad rooster across the barn in utter frustration ....

Would you support the slaughter of thousands of animals each week just so that you could jump on board with the latest fashion trend? That's exactly what you are doing when you purchase feather hair extensions for your locks.

Upon first glance, feather hair extensions might seem innocent enough, but they are in fact the reason that many roosters lose their lives. Roosters used to make these extensions are bred and genetically altered to produce long, luxurious saddle feathers (the ones on their backsides, which can take years to grow) before they are killed and de-feathered for their precious plumage. What costs these animals their lives in turn costs anywhere from $40 to $500 per saddle and can only be worn by the consumer for a scant two or three months.

Fortunately, you don't need blood on your hands in order to strut your stuff like a peacock (if you're into that): check out PETA's DIY ribbon version of these accessories, and be sure to have a look at Sarah's Etsy store for some super pretty feather-inspired vegan hair extensions.

Source: Feather Hair Extensions: A Trend Worth Killing For? and Fashion Fad Is Fatal To Roosters
Pictures are from We Heart It and Google Images


  1. this is a very important and valuable post - but I'd be remiss if I didn't tell you I was a little disappointed to see the first image and no distasteful penis joke ANYWHERE.

  2. I read another article that said the feathers are sometimes plucked before the roosters are killed! So awful.

  3. Wow, I love you for posting this. I'm a vegetarian and even I had never really thought about where feather extensions come from- I just don't wear them because I don't like them, haha.

  4. Wow this was great, in a sad way but good to get the word out! I see those extensions everywhere nowadays and some people clearly aren't aware of this...I honestly didn't know they were killed for their feathers.. I guess it makes sense as they are so cruel to chickens =(
    And I'm sure there are lots of options for ppl who are really wanting their hair extensions.

  5. OH NO!! That is sooo sad. And that second picture of the baby chick looking all sad made me feel so guilty. I don't have the feather extensions, but I wanted them a couple of months ago, but then once I saw everyone else wearing them, I was like "nevermind!" so I'm glad I didn't get them. Poracitos :((

  6. awww the poor birdies, i never really got into this trend, simply because it was too fishy (or birdie) to ever be legit. there had to have been foul play along the lines especially considering the cost of some of them!! o_O

    love this post and the picture of the rooster hehe

    BreezeyBee Blog

  7. Thnaks so much for writing this post. <3

  8. I'm very sorry if I offend someone. I do respect your views and I simply hope you will at least respect mine or perhaps can understand where I'm trying to simply raise a small concern in the matter from my side.

    I am going to say something on this only because I think this subject matter with many is so hard to really pick a side on at least in my eyes.

    My constant argument with this is there should be a proper way to do things such as this without it having to be a matter of cruelty. On the other hand I do have a bit of a concern because we take a lot of things from nature.

    I mean we harvest plants to eat, we take honey from bees, and people hunt for food, clothing, and shelter. It's all about a matter of context. Native American's for example used the buffalo for food, shelter, and clothing, etc. Again it's a context view of how you want to side. Some are not necessarily as cruel or completely wasteful in their methods.

    The same argument to me holds true for advancement in science. Someone or something has to be the guinea pig/test subject to advance science. We can squabble day and night over the matter, but how else do you advance knowledge of medicines to heal the sick without testing them (AIDS, MRSA, etc.) or implants that are made of different things such as a hip implant for the elderly whom broke their hip in a fall. Obviously someone or something has had to be a test subject for all these things and yes that means there are a lot of possible risks for each and everyone person or animal!!

    I'm not saying I condone inhumane testing or treatment. I'm saying the context in how we handle things to study and learn or enjoy the beautiful things in life must be done conscientiously. We use a lot of things from our environment to advance and live - the key is to do it harmoniously and to keep it hopefully as painless as possible.

    You can berate me for that view, but with so many out their siding one way someone from another view also has to state that there are necessities for testing or acknowledging that in beauty and food consumption no matter how you look at it quite honestly we are always robbing/taking something to get what we as humans need. That's the cycle of life and survival of the fittest in my eyes. Again it's a matter of how we do it. The decision to do it inhumanely and cruelly or to do it correctly and wisely that is the ultimate argument I believe.

    In a sense life has much cruelty in it. Animals alone to survive and eat have a cruel undertone and humans after all are part of that mammal family sad to say.

    There will always be someone whom will do things unjustly in life sadly!! You just can't prevent all the ugly and bad in society from ever taking place!!

  9. thanks for posting this, i had a post about feather extensions till someone mentioned to me that the roosters are literally plucked to death for them. i would never get feather extensions, thats why i opted for the sparkle standz instead. cruelty free :)


  10. Awwww how sad! :( You can easily make your own feather extension without harming any birds. Especially if you have a pet bird or duck, they shed them naturally anyway. If not then you can always find some and sterilize them.

  11. A very debated subject. Thanks for your thoughts on the issue. I'm grey on this issue. I would like to visit a farm to actually see how the birds are raised before just jumping in to say this is awful. I live on a farm and work in the timber industry. The issues of how we treat nature and animals is highly controversial. Education on the whole rooster raising issue to understand the how and why it's done, and understanding both sides is important before you form an opinion. But the great thing is, that we are all entitled to our own opinions! Thanks for your post!

  12. This is terrible..I am so glad i didn't buy any!

  13. @Suzanne : ...LOL

    @Prettyinthedesert : Yes, I don't know which is the worst ):

    @Anna Elizabeth @TEA aka MonsterGirl: Same for me! I never thought about that before because I really don't like them, but it's really awful x=

    @Cerina : Oh yes, I hate when everybody jumps on the bandwagon at the same time, especially when it's a weird trend like this one...

    @BreezeyBee : Absolutely! When I realized people were strolling around with the feathers of a dead bird on their head... yuck!

    @ VijiiS: I'm glad you liked it hun! x

    @The "E" Girl @The Peach : Thanks you for your comment!

    I believe in respect and in "live and let live". Animal testing is NEVER necessary and it's even useless most of the time because the anatomy of animals is not the same as ours. I believe that as humans, we always have a choice. You have the choice to go vegan/vegetarian, to purchase products that aren't tested on animals, to not wear animals' skin like fur or leather (and feathers!), etc. Animals are not ours to eat or use in any way.

    I respect everyone's opinion, but we have so many options nowadays that we don't need to rely on animals to live.

    @MaviDeniz: Oh yes I've heard about those! Not sure I like the look of the trend anyway, be it ribbons or anything else.

    @Vintage Makeup : Oooooh that's so true, I don't have a bird but I never thought about that! Thanks for sharing!

  14. I didn't realize they killed the birds. I don't know what the hell I was thinking - even just plucking their poor feathers is mean as fuck. Thank you for the non-killing options to feather extensions :)

  15. This is such a great post! Seriously, you have my appreciation.
    I gave you an award on my blog before I even saw this, and now you're justifying it! Thanks girl!
    I linked your blog, and wrote a little comment too.


  16. Fantastic post.

    Things like this remind me why I became a vegetarian and stand by my opinions.


  17. ...did you take the link for the hair extensions out? I may be just flat out stupid, but I can't seem to find it..

  18. This is so timely since I just saw an infomercial on the HSN for removable feather clips.

    They are charging $10.00 per strand of rooster feathers and eventually went down to 2 pcs for $10.00.

    This reminds me of GoVeg.com where I saw how chickens were being given steroids to make them plump. That's a different matter but all these animal cruelty issues are depressing. This is a touchy subject which is why I veer away from such products and opt for the vegan kind. It all depends on the conditions of the manufacturer, really.

  19. @Donna : Oh I know, I didn't realize how the extensions were made either, I just thought they look strange and disgusting anyway x=

    @Y : Awww thank you so much hun!

    @ LaaLaa Monroe : Yey for vegetarians! =D

    @Donna : Hmmm I don't think I took a link out? Which one are you talking about? Do you mean Sarah's Etsy store? http://www.etsy.com/people/leperqueen?ref=ls_profile

    @Toni Tralala: I totally agree, all of those issues are important but I personally believe that some are easier to stay away from than others, if it makes sense. I personally believe it's easier to go vegetarian than to only buy cruelty-free products. It's not that I don't care, it's just that it's harder for me to find cruely-free products around here, versus tofu or other vegetarian options.

  20. I actually had to google "feather hair extensions" because I have not heard of them (I don't frequent many blogs and rarely go on youtube at all). I honestly haven't seen anyone around town wearing feather hair extensions....but that is sad to read about any animals that are bread specifically for hair extensions and die a cruel death/are kept in poor conditions.

  21. I'm glad you wrote about this Gaby since your blog is more popular than mine! From the start, I thought feather extensions were very tacky, and after reading an article on Yahoo about feather extension shortages & how people were swarming fish bait shops to buy the same feather fish baits (which itself is stupid as well), it made me even angrier that people would go to ridiculous lengths all in the name of fashion, esp. when it's a temporary thing. Ugh, I hate feather extensions with a passion! Feathers belong on birds, not people's hair!

  22. Probably will not get approved. As in everything there is a right way to do things and a wrong way. Fact is, these chickens would not be alive if there were not a market for something from them. I do think the trend is pretty lame and really not something that looks all that great in general, but regardless of that, if any animal is raised correctly and in the end slaughtered humanely there should be no qualms. Problem is there are way to many that do not handle things humanely thoughout the process.

  23. Definitely not worth killing for. I think some people look absolutely ridiculous who wear them. PETA is all over this growing trend.

  24. I think people who wear feathers in their hair look stupid and I think the truth about how they get their feathers for their extensions should be brought to the light.