Making Chicken Feathers Useful

Currently, approximately 11 billion pounds of chicken feathers are used around the world and made into feedstock or thrown away into landfills. Feathers are a major byproduct of chicken production.

Andrew Poole along with his team of Australian researchers from the Commonwealth Research Organization (CSIRO) are working turning this prosperous byproduct into fiber that can be used for clothing and textiles.

The basis of this research is to replace massive production of petrochemical-based synthetic fibers. CSIRO would like to emphasize less use of plant-based cellulosic fibers and more protein fibers.

“Currently the feathers are practically seen as waste,” Poole said. “They are rendered down as a low value stock feed or in some places, I believe, they are dumped. But, the feathers have really good chemical and mechanical properties and are systematically produced in a reliable production pipeline, a huge benefit for any industry that wants to use them” (Green Design- May 8, 2009).
Nakita Ragsdale