TUM scientists develop method to prevent day-old chicks from being killed

For economic reasons, around 50 million male chicks die every year in Germany because they do not lay eggs and provide poor meat. Several teams are looking for alternatives to stop the killing of day-old male chicks. Scientists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have developed a method for non-invasive fertility and sex determination that was currently patented - a breakthrough in the search for an alternative to chick killing.

[Translate to english:] Aus wirtschaftlichen Gründen müssen allein in Deutschland jedes Jahr rund 50 Millionen männliche Küken sterben. (Bild: iStockphoto/ Sunnybeach)

[Translate to english:] Aus wirtschaftlichen Gründen müssen allein in Deutschland jedes Jahr rund 50 Millionen männliche Küken sterben. (Bild: iStockphoto/ Sunnybeach)

TUM: What is special about your method in comparison with previously presented procedures that work with a laser or a puncture of the egg, for example?

Professors Benjamin Schusser and Axel Haase: What is special about our method is that, unlike other technologies, it completely dispenses with opening the eggshell. With the help of magnetic resonance imaging, we determine both sex and fertilization status contact-free and non-invasively. Thus, the embryo is not disturbed in development and there is no potential entry point for germs into the egg, as is the case with other methods of sex determination. Furthermore, with magnetic resonance imaging, we're using a technology that has been tested millions of times in human medicine and has no negative effects on the organism.

How early must the sex of the embryos in the egg be determined in order to be able to act in the interests of
animal welfare?

Schusser/ Haase: To date, there exists little reliable data regarding the pain perception of developing chicken embryos. In a statement by the Scientific Services of the German Bundestag (WD) dated 7/31/2017, it is assumed that no sensations are possible before the seventh day of development and that pain perception can safely be assumed to exist from the 15th day of development. For the period between the 7th and 15th day of development, there are opposing opinions, so no conclusive statement is possible. In general, it is desirable to determine the sex as early as possible before the seventh day of development in chicken eggs.

 

Read more:
The complete interview on TUM.de

 

Desk: Sabine Letz