Solutions for ending male chick culling in Germany

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Every year, around 330 million one-dayold male chicks are culled in the egg industry in Europe after hatching. The reason is their inability to lay eggs and the very low growth rate, making raising them economically infeasible.

The pioneer country to end this practice is Germany, which banned chick culling in its hatcheries on the first of January 2022. The German government already stated in 2015 that they would ban this practice as soon as methods of gender identification in the hatching egg are available in the market.


There are currently three solutions in the German poultry sector to end male chick culling:

Dual-purpose breeds

They are crosses of laying hens with broilers, where the females are used for egg production and the males for meat production. The laying performance of dual-purpose breed hens is lower than that of laying hens; analogically, the meat performance of dual-purpose breed males is lower than that of broilers.

The advantages of the dual-purpose breeds are the following:

  • Laying hens from dual-purpose breeds lay around 20% fewer eggs (≈ 250 eggs) than laying hens from genetic lines (≈ 350 eggs) in the same laying period.
  • Their eggs are significantly smaller; hence, the marketable eggs’ percentage is lower than those of laying hen genetic lines.
  • Consequently, eggs from dual-purpose hens are only profitable in organic market niches.

The disadvantages related to the meat performance are the following:

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Brother layer production

i.e., the grow-out of the male chicks.

The advantages are similar to the dual-purpose breed but with a significant advantage:

The disadvantages are:


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