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Laurent Val
French Genetic Hackle

I live in the department of Correze in France.

It is a mountainous region heavily wooded and very rich in rivers. The soils are very acidic. Our region is very wet:-about 1500 mm per year with a harsh climate: the temperature range from + 35 (95F) in the summers and -20 (-4F) in the winter .

The hunting and fishing is deeply rooted with the local people.

The origin of my genetic hackle dates back over 100 years old from Mills located on all the riverside of "Corrèze". My grandfather was a Miller who in the 1920's fly fished using the feathers from these roosters .

The quality of genetic hackle has greatly improved since the days of my grandfather as demonstrated in the photos below.

I started raising my first genetic hackle at the age of 8 years. They were very big and medium quality and as editor of fly fisherman I quickly realized the need to improve their qualities.

In addition, there is a National contest in Corrèze (France championship) for genetic hackle.

It is based on the quality of hackles, saddles and the tailing feathers loacated in the shoulder area; about fifty French breeders and 200 roosters are involved.

Over the last 20 years my progress has improved to becoming one of the best breeders in France. I was voted the best breeder from France in 2011 and 2012.

The genetics of my roosters are selected on qualities of the hackles and saddles.

I also work with Limousin roosters sometimes introducing genes of other genetic hackle chickens while keeping the specific color and mechanical qualities of the Limousin rooster that are very attractive to the trout of our rivers. Limousin roosters have a mottling in the fiber of feathers which gives the impression of living insects when tied on a hook.

I have worked with other French and European livestock and kept only the best.

I elongated the hackles and saddles by integrating the genes of the longtail onagadori without weakening the animals. My genetic hackle birds are very hardy and very resistant to diseases.

I think it would be very interesting to cross our lines, this would increase significantly the standard deviation of our genetic lineage which is the keystone of any selection and any genetic progress.