The Egg-Tech Prize: $6M offered for solution to end the killing of 6 billion day-old male chicks per year
FFAR and the Open Philanthropy Project are together offering up to $6 million in prizes to the firm, group or individual who successfully develops a technology that can accurately and rapidly determine a chick’s sex as early as possible in the egg production process.
Egg industry workers are currently only able to identify a chick’s sex after it hatches. For the 6 billion laying hens hatched each year worldwide, a similar number of male chicks are produced that never make it to market. The male chicks cannot lay eggs and are unsuitable for consumption due to poor growth performance and meat quality. As there is no need for the male chicks, they are culled, a practice known as male chick culling. This practice not only creates major challenges for animal welfare, but it also results in lost-opportunity costs that hinder farm profitability. Currently, producers devote time and resources to incubating the male eggs, only to cull the male chicks upon hatching.
“Accelerating this technology will allow egg producers to prevent the deaths of billions of chicks per year,” said Lewis Bollard, program officer for farm animal welfare for the Open Philanthropy Project. “Combined with the transition to cage-free housing, this has the potential to greatly improve the welfare of layer hens.”