It’s unfortunate that the fate of male chicks in the egg industry has long been controversial. In general, male chicks are labelled as a rejected outcome of egg production and are killed very shortly after birth. Reason? Male chicks cannot lay eggs and are not fit for chicken-meat production.
Notably, these chicks are layer hens, hence it is a different breed of chicken from the one that is bred and raised for meat production. To make it simple, Layer hens are used for producing eggs whereas meat chickens are bred for meat with large breast and legs.
In Ovo – Hope, light, and Saviour for male chicks
Dutch bio startup, In Ovo is striving earnestly to abandon this controversial process of Chicken culling. Around October-end, German-based chemicals company Evonik Industries has invested in ‘In Ovo’ along with Singapore-based venture capital fund VisVires New Protein in a series A investment round. Having said that, the total amount remains undisclosed as of now. The startup will be using this fund to expand its base and hiring fresh talents.
Founded in 2013 by Wouter Bruins and Wil Stutterheim, In Ovo is headquartered at the BioScience Park of the University of Leiden. With that being said, the company want to solve the problem by developing a solution to determine the sex of the chicks even before they hatch. As per the company claims, putting an end to this issue might prove to be a big benefit not only for the environment but also to our health and animals too.
Never say never!
In an interview with Forbes, Wouter Bruins, In Ovo’s founder and managing director, said that they are trying to figure out the differences between male and female eggs through a simple chemical compound, called metabolites. But now, they are trying to figure out the sex of an egg by extracting a sample by causing a microscopic hole in the shell.
Once the process end, they will be able to close the tiny hole on the eggshell. He also added, “Obviously, we’re looking into ways to speed up also this process. Being able to spot the sex of the chick at day zero would be ideal but I don’t think is feasible at the moment. But never say never”.
This move from In Ovo is expected to deliver positive change to the sector through the development of smart solutions to big problems.
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