Chicken Feathers!


We eco-fabric lovers are insatiable!

Organic cotton? Been there.

Bamboo? Closet full of it.

Rescued fabrics? Doing it for years.

So what’s new?

Chicken feathers.

Now, before you wrinkle your nose and say no way, let’s think about it this. Let’s pretend we are on a desert island and need some clothes and all around us, chickens are clucking and feathers are flying.
Your clothes are literally unraveling and, well”¦chicken feathers.

According to an Ecotextile News article, millions of tons of feathers end up in landfills yearly but new research in the U.S., Australia and Canada is underway that could result in the tossed feathers becoming sustainable yarns.

Ecotextile News cites CSIRO research scientist Andrew Poole, with saying the regeneration of the keratin in chicken feathers, which is just like wool with the help of nano-particles, may prove successful in transforming the by-product into sustainable fibers. Researchers are particularly interested in the barbs and barbules which have a thin, honeycomb-like structure containing tiny air pockets that make the fabric lightweight and resilient.

Also cited in the same article is Professor Yiqi Yang of the Textiles, Clothing and Design department at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Professor Yang says the idea of creating new textiles from chicken feathers and rice straw occurred to him mostly because of energy and environmental concerns, but also because “55% of all fibers are from petroleum and not degradable.”

Not to mention their use could add value to agriculture.
Other possible textiles he and his students have begun research on are corn byproducts, wheat byproducts, switch grass, cotton stalks, and many other materials most people consider non-useful.

Image: Desmond Kavanagh

Amy DuFault

Amy DuFault is a conscious lifestyle writer, consultant and fashion instigator. She resides in Cape Cod, Massachusetts.