Every year roughly 22 million tons of chicken feathers are being produced as the by-product of white meat used as human food in the whole world. It has been seen that many a time we are not concerned about the feathers after getting the chicken meat. Consequently, it is disposed of as the wastes and as it is chemically resistant, is typically incinerated or ends up in landfill or as low-grade animal feed. The feathers buried or incinerated pollute the environment and reduce soil fertility as well. This is one of the biggest challenges for a safe and sustainable environment.
That is why it drew the research attention and researchers could find a way to use the chicken feathers in the construction industry or composite panels used for various purposes. Chicken feathers contain almost 90% keratin and due to its high keratin content, feathers are likely to produce plastics that are stronger and more tear-resistant compared to those using modified starch or plant proteins for example. Nevertheless, there are no mass scale processing techniques used at present except some limited usages as mentioned above and approximately 4-8 million tons of feathers are still being wasted, polluting the environment drastically.
Chicken feathers can be used as the textile fibres.
As chicken feathers are being continuously produced it is still under research observation to make the right use of it. Structural, mechanical, physical, chemical and other properties of chicken feather fibres were investigated and very recently, it has been found suitable as the raw materials to make delicate textile fibre fabrics. As it is protein fibre like wool, hair, it could be processed to produce fine quality protein fibre from the chicken feathers. Though it is at the infant stage right now it is believed to have a huge application in the textile industry and will reduce the environment pollution as well. Rigorous researches are being carried out to find the best suitable solution with processing the chicken feathers.
If the fibre production technology from chicken feathers can be solved, it would save the environment and cost of burning or other wastes processing will be minimized as well.