How a sniff test could make ‘sexing’ chicks more humane

Tuesday, May 23, 2023 - 10:42 in Biology & Nature

Demand has grown for technologies that can tell the sex of a chicken before it hatches. Deposit Photos One large part of managing egg-laying hens is a process called sexing, or determining the sex of a baby chick after it hatches. A study published May 22 in the journal PLOS ONE finds that fertilized chicken eggs can be sexed by “sniffing” the volatile chemicals that are emitted through the chicken’s shell. About a day after hatching, chicks are sorted by sex. Male chicks are killed almost  immediately, a process that kills an estimated 6.5 billion male chicks per year. Sexing is largely used due to both economics and biology—male chickens are of little use to the egg and meat industry since they do not lay eggs and do not fatten up quickly...

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