France to outlaw culling of day-old male chicks

Germany has already done so and France is following suit.

The main obstacle at this point is retrofitting hatcheries with the necessary equipment but I think within a few years, chick culling will be eliminated world wide.

The process is called in ovo sexing, which can be done by the 9th day of in ovo development. At that point, any unwanted male eggs are sent for rendering. And with rapid advancements of technology, that could be reduced down to the 3rd day.

The process is beneficial beyond simple issues of humanness.

Companies will be able to dispense with chick sexers and all the labor cost that entails.

Additionally, companies will not be paying to incubate useless eggs.

An even more exciting technology is on the horizon, the potential to “re-sex” male eggs to female to increase production. That is still quite a few years away, however.

My company is already busy helping to implement this technology in United States hatcheries and worldwide.

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That is one of the more unsavory aspects of industrial chicken farming… and their are quite a few.

I am glad to see regulations and technology provide answers for this.

I’ve seen some videos of what industrial chicken farming looks like in order to keep prices down. It’s not a pretty sight, those birds have awful treatment.

If I had my own land I’d raise my own chickens.

It’s still killing the male chicken, whether in-ovo or after hatching.

I don’t understand the problem with day-old culling though. As long as the chicks are euthanized in a humane manner, it’s no different from killing them when they are still in the egg. (Although yes, I see a utilitarian purpose for the in-ovo culling. If “rendering” puts the content of the egg into some sort of animal feed, for instance, or puts them to some other use, then there is more utility in that, compared to having dead fuzz-and-bone chicks to dispose of.)

Cullng on the 9th day of development in an egg is light years in difference to killing a fully formed chick.

Depends on the definition of humane. In the US we toss them live into a giant grinder, or put them in big bag to suffocate.

I don’t know how quick the grinder is, but suffocation method is pretty cruel.

The NYT actually did a really good video piece on our industrial chicken farms, and how awful they are. They interviewed a farmer, and it explained how farmers are essentially held hostage by big chicken companies due to their contracts.

I’d post the video but it’s pretty gross, so I don’t know if I could.

For the past few years, when I do buy poultry products, I do make the effort to buy the stuff that is ranked as “Humane”

I know that there is still an awful lot of cruelty that goes into raising and processing our food, but I am willing to pay more to reduce that harm.

I also understand that I am fortunate enough to be able to do this and most are not able to pay the extra cost.

When you are shopping, look for that label on the package.

Take poultry for example.

The Federal Government does NOT define or regulate the terms “free range” or “pasture raised”, meaning an unscrupulous company could keep the birds in bad conditions, but claim the above terms.

The organization linked to above is a private organization that promulgates standards of humaneness for animal care and defines standards for “free range” and “pasture raised”, among other things.

If you look for that label, you are assured the products you purchase are actually humanely raised.


Yeah, it’s one of those things were I understand, and would like things to be better. But how many people can afford to pay 3-5x more for humanely raised chicken?

Yeah… I do. And when in Maine I try to purchase directly from the small farms… but all of those farms are getting hit with finding PFAS in everything because the government a couple of decades ago incentivized spreading sludge for fertilizer .

it is becoming a real big problem.

Yep… It is a problem.

I can’t make someone pay more for food when I know that they can’t afford it.

There is no real good answer between cheap industrial agriculture and treating animals humanly it seems.

I think it is possible to see a move from battery cages to “cage free.” While hardly a good life for the birds, at least it is an improvement. And the cost increase is fairly small.

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There would have to be some regulations. “Cage free” can be just as bad in industrial farming.

“Cage free” is actually defined by the government. It means the birds have basic freedom of movement within an enclosed area, but no access to the outside or natural sunlight. The birds have free access to food and water. And still pretty crowded, with 2 square feet per bird.

Cage free IS essentially a slightly more benevolent form of industrial farming. :smile:

Basically, if you can afford it, go for Certified Humane Pasture Raised.

If you can’t afford that, do what you can. If you can pay for at least cage free, that is still an improvement.

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Posted anyway. It’s not that bad, but still a warning for the squeamish, some unhealthy birds.

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Something I meant to get to yesterday.

If you see this or a variant of this on a package of chicken or eggs:

“Vegetarian fed hens” or “vegetarian fed” or something similar.


Anybody who has ever had even the smallest amount of experience with chickens in a pastoral setting knows that they are NOT vegetarians, not by a long shot.


Chickens are naturally omnivores and forage for their food. While they eat vegetation, they will more happily eat any form of animal they can overpower and swallow. Bugs, grubs, worms, slugs, frogs, lizards, snakes and even such small mammals as mice, moles and voles.

Chickens that have eaten a natural diet such as the above are healthier and more flavorful than commercially fed chickens and the eggs are far more flavorful. Pasture raised chickens produce the orange yolks.

My own chickens have access to the outdoors and a large area to forage. I use locally available feed that contains animal components such as fish and I provide appropriate table scraps.

But manufactures put that line on packages and consumers continue to fall for it.

That’s some of the best part of the day for my chickens.

That, and when the garden grubs are plentiful and fat in late May and June. Grubs are chicken crack.