The SELEGGT process

The SELEGGT process is a way to prevent chick culling. The scientific approach of endocrinological (hormone-based) gender identification in the hatching egg has been automated in the SELEGGT process and is already in use today.

During the process, the eight to ten day incubated egg is removed from the incubator and a sensor checks whether the hatching egg is fertilised. In all fertilised hatching eggs, lasers create a fine hole in the eggshell. Then just a minimal amount of allantois fluid is extracted from the fertilised eggs. By utilising a non-invasive procedure to extract the fluid the hatching egg is left unharmed. Hence the interior of the hatching egg is untouched and remains safe and sound.

The allantois fluid of a female hatching egg contains estrone sulphate, a female hormone. The fluid is then placed into a patented marker outside of the hatching egg.

The marker reacts to the estrone sulphate and changes in colour. The hatching eggs can now be sorted according to the colour change. The male hatching eggs are processed into high-quality feed and the female hatching eggs are returned to the incubator. The minuscule hole created by the laser does not need to be sealed as the inner membrane reseals on its own. Consequently, only female chicks hatch on the 21st day of the incubation. Further information for consumers can be found at respeggt.com.

Studies on pain perception

The SELEGGT process makes it possible to distinguish between female and male hatching eggs on the 9th day of incubation. We are aware that scientists debate the exact moment at which a chicken embryo is able to perceive pain. The Research Services of the German Bundestag has stated that the perception of pain is possible from the 15th day of incubation. The incubation days before that are evaluated differently by scientists.

We believe that this debate is important and necessary but should not prevent us from making a sectoral improvement today.

If at all, the probability of perceiving pain or other negative experiences on the 9th day of incubation is very small. In any case, the SELEGGT process should always be considered as an improvement to hatching, sorting, transporting and killing a day-old chick.

Stopping the incubation process of male hatching eggs is very fast and effective. In addition, these eggs can be used as high-quality feed and thus play an important role in the circular approach to nutrient use.

PDF: (in german): About Pain Perception of chicken embryos
(paper from the scientific service of the Bundestag)