How can I reuse or recycle chicken feathers?
On Friday night, we killed, plucked & butchered two chickens. As you do.
To be accurate, the wonderful John B and my John did the killing, then my John’s brother Chris and I joined them in plucking, then John B showed me how to dress the chicken, and then I showed Chris. Chris handreared the chickens from day old chicks but had to give them up a couple of months ago ahead of the arrival of his son, Zachary on Valentine’s Day/Chinese New Year. We weren’t ready to take them on yet so John B, who is wonderful as I’ve said, offered to foster them until we were up and running. Then this week, he discovered the two he thought were boys, were definitely boys, and randy boys at that – and his girls were getting upset/hurt from being constantly jumped on. The boys had to go. (I’ve written up the full story on my personal blog.)
It wasn’t fun, it wasn’t my favourite way to spend a Friday night, but it wasn’t as horrific as I thought it would be. And when we ate our chicken for dinner last night, there was far far less cognitive dissonance than we’d ever had before while eating meat: on Friday evening, the chicken was flapping around in John’s arms, then on Sunday, it was in a wonderfully spicy sauce. (We tried some by itself too and it had a good flavour – they were a laying rather than meat breed so it wasn’t mind-blowing but it was nice.)
Between one thing and another, we used up a lot of the birds – from their livers to their feet – but their feathers didn’t lend themselves so easily kitchen delights. On John B’s recommendation, we just dumped them all in the compost heap but you know me, my mind instantly went to reusing & recycling ideas. Composting is alright as a reuse, but I wonder if there are better things…
Apparently, there are a number of research ideas of things to do with the bajillions of feathers sent to waste by the mass chicken production industry – a diverse selection of things from making circuit boards & biodegradable plant pots to using them to store biofuel and hydrogen fuel – but that’s not exactly stuff we can do at home though.
So any suggestions?