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When we hear the word poultry, the very first thing which flashes in front of our eyes is the chicken. And the next thing we understand we hear the word poultry is the farming of eggs and chickens on large scale. People are engaged in the poultry business for the purpose of producing eggs and chicken on mass level but there are few people who are engaged in this business for the poultry by products only. You would be amazed to hear this but this is true. Now the question is how these by products could be of use to anyone. Well for this, a special thanks goes to science and hard working scientists who made various researches and came up with useful methods to use these by products such as poultry feathers in an effective manner. The most important and highly consumable or use-able by product is the chicken feathers. After many years of research, scientists came up with various uses of chicken feathers that could help in cutting down the production cost and will help the people in getting some products on much cheaper price within which chicken feathers have been used. As the chicken feathers don’t have much weight, around 2 to 3 billion pounds of chicken feathers are produced in Unites States as a result of production of 8 billion broilers on annual basis. According to the research made, the element found in chicken feathers which is named as keratin can be utilized in various products. Below are some of its uses.

Making planting pots from feathers

Researchers who have been performing their duties in USDA/ARS research project have used the chicken feathers in a unique way. They have been using this waste by product for planting pots formulation that has the ability to degrade over various time periods that ranges from 1 to 5 years. These pots have the same structure like any other plastic pots which you may have encountered within a local nursery near your home. The reason for making these pots from feathers is this that these pots can disintegrate all by their self, naturally. In this how, there will be no harm to the environment. But beside that, these pots which are free from any petroleum components, will slowly release beneficial nitrogen into the soil.

Recycling the feather

As mentioned earlier, feathers are made by an element known as keratin that is a protein from which fingernails, wool, hair and hooves are made. This protein has same characteristics as of cellulose which the starch from which paper and wood is made. The chicken feathers contains keratin which is like wool but the only difference is, the surface area of the feather is longer due to the diameter of the fiber as it is smaller. In this way, the fiber is able to absorb more as compared to the wool or as compared to the cellulose fibers. The structure of the feather fiber that is crystal in nature also helps them making durable and stable naturally. In this how, the structure of keratin assists in balancing the plastic structure that helps make the plastic stronger.

For used in Diapers

Around more than 16 billion diapers are made, from the pulp of wood, that are discarded every year. Around 25% of the wood pulp that is used for diapers yearly could be replaced by feathers of worth a year.

Animal feed and Fertilization

Another important use of this agricultural waste is the formation of feather meal. This meal is produced by a method that involves the processing of high pressure steam that is identical to autoclave that is later put into the drying process. Feathers are hydrolyzed by the help of steam and heat into a high protein and cysteine-rich product that is estimated to be 60% digestible. This chicken feather meal is used for fertilization and animal feed.

Bio-diesel from feathers

Another effective use of poultry feathers was discovered by a group of scientists that was being leaded by Professor Manoranjan ‘Mano’ Misra who was rendering his services at the University of Nevada. He came up with the research of creating biodiesel fuel by the help of feather meal. It was found that this meal contains innards, feathers and blood of chicken that is processed with high steam and temperature and contained protein, nitrogen and around 12% of fat in which the researchers were more interested. Researchers extracted fat from this feather meal via boiling water and were able to get bio-diesel from it.

So these are the top most uses of chicken feathers that have been adopted so as to get more out of this poultry industry.

There are other uses also such as

   • Pillow stuffying
   • Insulation
   • Upholstery padding
   • Paper
   • Plastics