Canada solving a chicken-and-egg problem

This article was posted by sbrien@getcrac… on January 12th, 2018

Canada has a great record of punching above its weight in the world of scientific and technological breakthroughs. Perhaps the newest example of this is the launch of Hypereye, a non-invasive egg gender identification technology developed by researchers at McGill University and funded by Egg Farmers of Ontario (EFO).

Egg gender identification is an important breakthrough because chickens, like many species, produce an equal ratio of male and female offspring. Male chicks are currently separated from female chicks at the hatchery.

In the past

Prior to the development of specialized meat chicken breeds, most male chickens would usually be raised for a few months for meat, while females would be kept for egg production.

In the present

Once specialized meat and egg breeds of chickens were developed with very different production growth rates and feed efficiencies, raising male chicks of egg-laying breeds for meat production was not viable since feed costs were not recovered in this process.

A better future has arrived in 2018

A solution is now at hand as a result of research funded by Egg Farmers of Ontario and conducted at the University of McGill. This non-invasive technology using light allows the separation of eggs according to the sex of the embryos on the day the egg is laid and before any development of a chick has happened.  This solution will mean that hatcheries will be able to produce female-only eggs for hatching of egg-laying varieties. This approach solves animal welfare concerns, reduces costs and eliminates any waste in the raising of egg-laying hens.

See more about this technology from the Agriculture Adaptation Council here.

This made-in-Canada innovation was introduced here in 2017 is expected to be adopted worldwide.