HatchTech Exclusive | SELEGGT

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‘In-egg’ sex determination to be fully operational next year

SELEGGT's technique for determining the sex of an embryo in a hatching egg becomes fully operational in 2019. In Germany, supermarkets are already selling the first eggs produced by hens without brothers.  


SELEGGT GmbH is a joint venture between HatchTech, German supermarket chain REWE and the University of Leipzig. Founded in March 2017, the collaboration creates practice-ready solutions for determining the sex of the embryo in a hatching egg. Through intensive research and technological development, HatchTech has played a key role in bringing this innovative approach to market.

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How does it work?

First, a laser makes a small hole in the eggshell. A microscopic amount of embryo-urine is then removed through the hole in a non-invasive way so that nothing enters the egg. This minimises the risk of contamination and ensures the embryo is left untouched and unharmed. A technique similar to a pregnancy test analyses the sex hormones in the fluid to determine whether the egg will be a female or male. The unhatched male eggs are then removed and processed into feed.

HatchTech is known for its innovation capabilities and for finding new approaches to long-standing food industry problems. Our mission is to use technology and solutions to improve poultry production by driving animal welfare and productivity, and by reducing energy consumption. SELEGGT fits seamlessly within this vision: gender identification in the hatching egg is a major ethical improvement; ensuring male chicks no longer have to be killed just after they have hatched.

A further advantage is that half of the hatching eggs in the setter can be removed after the first nine days of incubation. As well as the resultant energy savings, hatchery work processes are simplified, as male chicks no longer need to be removed from the hatchery at birth. Right now, REWE supermarkets in Germany are selling the first eggs laid by hens without brothers. By end-2019, all free-range hens producing for REWE will be sourced from hatcheries using SELEGGT. Other countries will soon follow suit.

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