hello my name is sean i am a permacutlurist from michigan and i am putting out an idea that i just had to which i think may be extremely helpful in soil building.
I am watching an episode of nova called making stuff cleaner. on this episode of nova part of the show is about a way they are trying to make hydrogen cars require less pressure to store the hydrogen. the method they are finding works well is adding a material to act essentially as a sponge. the material they are using..... chicken feathers... by heating feathers to 750 degrees they break down into a char fluff material with nano pockets through out it creating a super surface increase... my idea obviously why couldn’t we do this and use it as a soil amendment creating massive surface areas for soil life to grow. you have to take the quill off the feather and heat up the feather material.
i do not have chickens so i thought i would post my idea and see if we cant get some trials on this and see how much improvement we get.
Creating lots of small pockets for micro organisms to use is one of the ideas behind biochar. Lots of different organic materials are being used in making biochar, not only wood. Areas around the world are using, sesame stalks, straw, leaves, rice hulls, twigs, coarse weeds, and more. I haven't heard of chicken feathers being used, but it would surely work.
I use predominantly small branches and twigs to make my biochar. Reason? Because I have a lot of that sort of material handy and for free....just costs me my labor. I'd use chicken feathers if I had lots of them, but I don't. But it's a great idea!
It's never too late to start! I retired to homestead on the slopes of Mauna Loa, an active volcano. I relate snippets of my endeavor on my blog : www.kaufarmer.blogspot.com
Location: AR ~ozark mountain range~zone7a
posted 5 years ago
Interesting idea, I guess, the closest thing I have heard for a soil amendment was to char the chicken bones into a powder that is mostly calcium carbonate, which is a valuable soil amendment. There is another step tho beyond simply charring the bones, and that is to put the charred into a bucket of light acid (vinegar) and let it that stand for some time, and the solution is typically used as a liquid soil amendment, or foliage spray.
I guess if your going to char the bones why not the feathers too!
You can make char out of a lot of stuff that ends up being covered over in the landfill. Most biological materials have high surface area and lots of "nanopockets" after they are charred, because of all the water and nitrogen compounds and sulfur compounds that volatilize off. Even a lot of non-biological materials, like plastics, can end up as high surface area charcoal after a good cooking.
<Rant on> Landfills are one of the worst crimes against nature that man perpetrates. Right up there with flaring of gas at oil production facilities. ALL materials can be recycled, and the only things that should be buried are nuclear wastes (and those in especially deep holes). <Rant off>
The city here recently put me on once a week trash pick up, with a city supplied 60 gallon barrel. I'm lucky if I can find 10 gallons of stuff to have them cart off, everything else gets recycled through composting, decaying, dissolving, or turning to char.
I don't collect up enough chicken feathers to make it worthwhile to make char out of them. They are mostly on the grass where the chicken tractor has been, in which case they get sucked up and shredded by the lawn mower and incorporated into mulch.
Water proof donuts! Eat them while reading this tiny ad: