The world’s first no-kill eggs have been rolled out to supermarkets after scientists discovered a way to determine a chick’s gender before it hatches.
The new project, named ‘Seleggt’, allows scientists to determine a chick’s gender before it hatches, meaning the male ones can be disposed of before they are born.
The patented ‘Seleggt’ (pictured) can detect the sex of an egg like a pregnancy test just nine days after it has been fertilised, leaving just female chicks to hatch
Seleggt managing director Dr Ludger Breloh, told The Guardian: ‘If you can determine the sex of a hatching egg you can entirely dispense with the culling of live male chicks.’
Chickens are usually bred for eggs or meat, but the males do not lay eggs and do not put on enough weight to justify being kept for meat.
Seleggt said the new technology meant male younglings ‘can be rejected long before they hatch and no longer need to be killed as day-old chicks’.
The eggs can be identified as male nine days into the 21-day incubation period, and turned into animal feed.
A fluid can be extracted from the egg using a laser, without harming the developing embryo inside.
If the fluid contains a female hormone – which is observed in a procedure ‘similar to a pregnancy test’ – the egg continues to develop and hatches on the 21st day.
Up to six million male chicks are slaughtered across the globe per year because they are not used in the food chain.
Chicks have been reported to have been suffocated, fed into grinding machines or processed into reptile food.
The company use a laser which burns a 0.33mm hole into the shell after which air pressure is applied to the outside, pushing a drop of fluid out of the egg to be tested
The company use a laser which burns a 0.33mm hole into the shell after which air pressure is applied to the outside, pushing a drop of fluid out of the egg to be tested.
It takes one second and and is a hygienic, fast and precise way to determine the sex of an egg.
Dr Breloh told The Guardian: ‘It worked absolutely faultlessly. Today, female hens are laying eggs in farms in Germany that have been bred without killing any male chicks.’
The company hope to roll out the eggs across Germany by next year, and Sellegt plan to install the technology into hatcheries from 2020.