New ultrasound technology helps identify male eggs before being put into incubation.
A new technology called EggXYt claims to detect the sex of chick embryos immediately after the eggs are laid and before they enter the 21-day incubation process. The chicken industry grows two different breeds: the broilers which provide as much meat as possible, and the layers which lay as many eggs as possible. In present-day poultry farming, the layer males are less desired. This is because they cannot grow up to lay, and they are not the fast-growing breeds that sell as poultry.
EggXYt works like an ultrasound for eggs by acting as a gene-editing tool for farmers. To use the technology, farmers implant an identifier into the birthing hens. The identifier manifests itself only if it is in the male eggs the chicken has. EggXT’s scanner technology – coined seXYt – identifies what eggs are male and female. This helps farms focus on incubating the female eggs and re-purposing the male.
EggXT’s creators claim the innovation could save over 7 billion chicks a year by preventing unnecessary incubation. The company believes selling non-incubated male eggs will add over 7 billion eggs a year to the global food supply. The process could save the industry hundreds of millions of dollars annually by not wasting half of their hatching capacity. They also lower labour costs by not needing to pay people at the end of the hatchery line to identify and kill male chicks.
This isn’t the first time that technology has interfered with a natural cycle. Innovations play an important role in simplifying and alleviating unwanted natural occurrences. A wearable device has been created to help mature women overcome hot flushes associated with menopause. In Africa, supply drones dropped contraception to towns to help prevent unwanted pregnancies.