Tag Archives | Chickens

Professor Designs Oculus Rift For Chickens

Free your mind, Chicken Neo.

Photo: Evan-Amos (CC)

Photo: Evan-Amos (CC)

Oculus Rift, the virtual reality headset that lets users look around a game space as if they were really standing inside it, is widely regarded as the future of gaming. However, one Iowa State University assistant professor believes that the technology might also be the key to the future of livestock. Well, sort of.

Austin Stewart presented his idea, which he calls “Second Livestock” (a play on the popular human-simulator game “Second Life”), at an art and design exhibition in Ames, Iowa, which started April 23. The idea behind the project, according to the Ames Tribune, is simply that chickens are too numerous in the U.S. to all live a free-range lifestyle. However, by equipping caged chickens with a modified Oculus Rift, these chickens could be raised under the illusion that they’re living out in the open, even from their small confined spaces.

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Factory-Farmed Chickens Fed Prozac, Caffeine and Banned Antibiotics

Factory-Farmed ChickensSara Novak writes on Treehugger:

It’s no surprise that conventionally factory farmed chickens aren’t fed the best diet. We already knew that they were routinely fed arsenic. In fact, a 2004 study from the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy showed that more than half of store-bought and fast-food chickens contained elevated levels of arsenic. Roughly 2.2 million pounds of it are being used every year to produce 43 billion pounds of poultry. It’s called roxarsone and it’s used to fight parasites and increase growth in chickens.

New research not only confirms use of arsenic, but finds the addition of a frightening elixir of drugs that includes caffeine, banned antibiotics, and even Prozac. Researchers started off testing just for banned antibiotics but went ahead and looked for other substances because it didn’t add to the cost of the test. What they found even surprised them, according to a story in The New York Times.

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Making Chicken Feathers Into Plastic

Chickens

Photo: Paebi (CC)

Could chicken feathers help reduce our waste? The American Chemical Society has announced that a more environment-friendly plastic can be produced using the discarded feathers of chickens. BBC reports:

The millions of tonnes of chicken feathers discarded each year could be used in plastics, researchers say.

A study reported at the American Chemical Society meeting in the US suggests feathers could lead to more environment-friendly, lighter plastics.

The chemical recipe requires significantly less petroleum-derived material.

However, tests on a grander scale will be necessary to establish the idea’s industrial feasibility.

Such “biowaste” materials have been proposed as components of plastic formulations before.

Feathers, like hair and fingernails, are made up principally of the tough and chemically stable protein keratin, and can lend strength while reducing weight in the mixtures of plastics chemicals known as composites.

Researchers at the US agricultural authority have even published research into the possibility of incorporating chicken feathers into plastics, as an additive in composites that are made largely of a chemical polymer.

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