For some years, I have used Whiting American hen capes exclusively for the throats on my wet flies, particularly Atlantic salmon wets. I've got a lot of them, and I've gone through a lot of them. This pic doesn't include untouched, "in storage" capes:
Sadly, over the last couple years (at least) something has happened to the American hen necks, immediately noticeable just by looking at an unused neck (older neck on right, new neck on left):
I received a black neck yesterday in the mail. For my purposes (throats) it is essentially unuseable...notice how thin, almost transparent the barbs become at the tips (on right) compared to the barbs on an older cape (on left). The feathers are from the same approximate location on the two capes.
Whether or not it matters to an Atlantic salmon, a nice full throat on a wet fly is important to me.
I've noticed the same problem creeping in to the Whiting American rooster saddles I use almost exclusively for my Carrie Stevens-style streamers.
The American hen capes are always in short supply and are getting more expensive all the time. I won't be buying any more of them unless I can check them out personally before purchase. And since there are no fly shops in southern Vermont (exc. Orvis which is no place to buy materials really), I guess I'll be seeking a better choice. Metz aren't too bad.