Kipster commits to in ovo sexing by end of 2024

The egg company previously planned to raise the male chicks for meat production.

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Dutch egg company, Kipster, plans to eliminate male chick culling by adopting in ovo chick sexing at its U.S. farm by the end of 2024.

“In ovo sexing is a crucial step forward that will allow us to eliminate chick culling right away,” said Ruud Zanders, co-founder of Kipster.

“This technology provides an immediate and effective solution as we continue to explore sustainable meat production that meets our high welfare standards.”

Kipster is unique among its U.S. counterparts in that it raises its male layer chicks for meat production. However, according to a press release, “a lack of critical infrastructure and retail market for rooster meat in the U.S.” has challenged that production model. As a result, the egg company has chosen to adopt in ovo chick sexing as a solution.

The move would make the company one of the first U.S. egg brands to adopt the technology. Earlier this year, Indiana-based producer Egg Innovations pledged to adopt in ovo chick sexing in 2025.

In ovo chick sexing

Currently, a chick’s sex can only be identified after hatching. Male chicks are of little use to the egg industry and are typically considered too lean to eat by consumers.

Approximately 6-7 billion male layer chicks are culled each year, an animal welfare and economic concern. Producers spend more than $70 million in labor and energy to incubate and sex these eggs and the value of wasted eggs in the U.S. is more than $440 million annually.

Technology that could determine a chick’s sex before hatching, and be scaled to a commercial level, could help the egg industry eliminate male chick culling, save money and divert unhatched eggs to alternate uses.

Currently, in ovo sexing technology is only used in Europe, and multiple countries have enacted bans on male chick culling, prohibiting the practice. Germany and France implemented chick culling bans in 2022 and have fully converted to in ovo sexing. Italy plans to implement a ban against culling by the end of 2026.

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