Where are your feathers coming from? A few reasons you might want to consider skipping the extension trend…

Roosters, actually. Thousands of euthanized, uneaten roosters from Colorado. Photo copyright Audrey Hotchkiss of Little Eye.

I’ve had something stuck in my craw for a few months now, and perusing Etsy’s tips from the Merchandising Desk (September edition) I decided it was finally time to resolve some unanswered questions and feelings I have about feather extensions.

About halfway down the page in the “Trending Topics” category they state:  “Feather earrings:  still going strong.”

Yes…so it seems.  Ok, crazy Audrey, why is that a problem?

Well — if you run a search for “feather earrings” on Etsy you get over 30,000 results.

When you run a search for “feather earrings humane you get exactly 72.


Whoa!!  I was expecting there to be a discrepancy but that is just f-ing ridiculous.  The real kicker is that now, about a century and some thirty years after feather fever swept America in hat-form, no one actually seems to be aware that millions (yep.  millions.) of birds are being plucked/bludgeoned/slaughtered in the way of that“Ooh, that would look so pretty attached to my scalp!” mentality.  The Audubon Society took great pains at the end of the 19th century to inspire legislation against the hunting and killing of birds like great blue heron and egrets that were otherwise destined to rest, sometimes in full-on taxidermied form, on the macabre coiffures of the gentle lady-folk.


Let’s back up a little, here.  I am not, by any means, discounting that there are people out there who are responsibly collecting and crafting feathers in to earrings, or whatever.  I’m not saying that those 30,000 feather earrings are created by monsters.  I eat meat.  Sometimes I even eat meat from 7-11.  I wear leather.  Sometimes when I wake up in the morning and my cats are scurrying around my feet I kick them (nicely…?) out of the way in my sleepy stupor.  So I’m not riding around on this high horse saying it should stop – I’m just saying we all need a little awareness that feathers have always and will always come from being attached to the skin of a bird.  What you want to do with that information is up to you.


If you just gotta jump on this trend, though, I suggest perusing the selections (and doing your reading) from the ‘humane’ search and see what you can find.  Here are some lovely ones from LoveLifeWear:

No bird died in the making of these earrings... but strangely, 3 people did. Freak feather-wrapping accident! Joke. Click to View Listing from LoveLifeWear.

And, for a little extra reading on the topic I’ve found these informative articles about feather fever:

-Stylist Kristin Jackson explains why she’ll never offer feather hair extensions in her salon

-Ke$ha and Steven Tyler are totally stealing food out of the mouths of fishermen.  Way to go, crappy ‘musicians’!

3 thoughts on “Where are your feathers coming from? A few reasons you might want to consider skipping the extension trend…

  1. I loved reading this 🙂
    I’m a vegetarian, sometimes eating fish (I’m still calling myself a vegetarian because I don’t eat it by pleasure, only by need), and I try to always think about the consequences of what I do.
    Really there are few people who think about feathers as something attached to a bird, as a part of that creature. But this is only the top of the animal cruelty iceberg.

    • Hi Adina – you’re my favorite new internet friend. 🙂 I’m a meat eater by choice – and actually now that I eat meat I’m much more conscientious about all the foods I put in my body! Sure, there are moments of weakness (*cough*7-11 chicken tenders at 2am*cough*) but for the most part we buy our meat as well as our vegetables with as much thought as possible. I wrote this in hopes that it would at least get the gears turning for some people about where goods come from and how they are collected! There’s so much mistreatment of people, animals, everything that it’s really hard to pick and choose… but better at least if everyone is using their noggin to make informed choices!

  2. weekend pickthrough- vacation is over edition. « broke 207

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